Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) From Paid Family Leave to Child Care Tax Credit: Lessons Learned on Policy Advocacy (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

392P (see Poster Gallery) From Paid Family Leave to Child Care Tax Credit: Lessons Learned on Policy Advocacy

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Jing Guo, PhD, Associate Professor, PhD Program Chair, Department Chair, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Background and Purpose: Hawaii is among the most expensive states in terms of early childhood education and care services. More than 65 percent of parents with young children in Hawaii are employed; childcare arrangement is a common challenge for working parents. Family policy legislative bills are considered at federal and state levels. It is critical for social workers to learn about policy advocacy. This study examined family policy related bills, including paid family leave and child care tax credit bills introduced by the Hawaii State Legislature between 2012 and 2020. We aimed to answer: a) who are the key stakeholders for and against the proposed family policy bills? b) what are the critical issues and advocacy frameworks in the policy debate? and 3) what are similarity and differences of testimonies for different family policy bills in the state legislative process? Lessons on policy advocacy can be learned from

Methods: We drew study data from the Hawaii State Legislature website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov, which is the key portal for obtaining information to participate in the lawmaking process. It also hosts the Legislative Archives, which includes bills and resolutions as well as testimonies and committee reports of each legislative session from 1999 to present. We searched all bills from the 2012 to 2020 Archives using the keywords “family leave” and “child care”. We screened the results of the initial search by applying two criteria: a) the bill was related to paid family leave and child care tax credits, and b) the bill had multiple public hearings and committee decision making in the respective legislative session. Our final analysis focused on SB2961 in 2016 and HB1718 in 2018 legislative session. Our study sample consisted of drafts of bills, committee reports and written testimonies submitted to the standing committees. We reviewed all the documents as data and conducted a content analysis of committee reports and public testimonies.

Results: Each bill has gone through the complex process of lawmaking, including multiple referrals, public hearings, and committee actions within deadlines. Findings from examining public testimonies revealed key stakeholders, from government agencies, women and family advocacy groups, to concerned individuals. There is generous agreement on the needs of paid family leave, support for child care, particularly for low-income workers in Hawaii. However, opposition from business sectors, concerns for taxation consequences, and fiscal implementation uncertainty are noted. Furthermore, there are more individual testimonies on paid family leave bills; and there are fewer public testimonies when it is related to an unfamiliar topic to the public such as taxation.

Conclusions and Implications: The analysis sleds light on differences in public testimony as policy advocacy for different types of family policies in the state. For unfamiliar aspects of policy bills, advocacy groups need to educate the public or have advocates with expertise to engage in policy advocacy. Social workers need to consider its strengths in different aspects and stages of advocacy and policy development.