This issue brief series identifies key information and opportunities for consideration by policymakers, researchers, practitioners, philanthropists, and others interested in supporting the progress of Black families and children—and, by extension, the country as a whole. The series examines the role of structural racism in various U.S. systems, considering the historical and contextual factors that facilitate or impede access to these systems for Black families. The issue briefs also provide recommendations for developing, implementing, and sustaining effective policies, research, and programming that address structural racism to better support the stability and prosperity of Black families and children.

The first brief presents data on the family structure, employment status, and geographic location of Black families with young children in the United States. We also explore contextual factors, such as structural barriers or inequities that have shaped the experiences of these families over time. In the second brief, we shed light on the role of federal policies in creating, maintaining, and addressing these structural inequities, with a specific focus on access to early care and education for Black families. The third brief uses national, state, and local data to examine housing access and other available supports for Black families, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The information presented across all three briefs is important to the development of federal, state, and local policies and infrastructure to buffer and protect Black families and children, particularly the most economically disadvantaged, from the effects of structural racism. Importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the deleterious impact of structural racism and its disproportionate impact on Black people, providing an opportunity to reimagine U.S. support systems to promote the health and stability of Black people and the country’s economic recovery.