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Federal Policies and Practices to Support STEM Researchers with Caregiving Responsibilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2024
23 pages

This publication discusses the federal government’s policies and practices to support STEM researchers who have caregiving responsibilities.


This report aims to capture and highlight existing federal policies and practices that support the needs of caregivers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and identify potential approaches for agencies and institutions to consider in order to meet caregiver needs. The implementation of the recommendations has the potential to benefit federally funded STEM professionals as well as other trainees in research settings that could benefit from overall organizational and instructional change. This report focuses on overlooked aspects of the supportive structures needed to be successful in STEM and highlights the opportunities that exist to ensure STEM researchers with caregiving responsibilities can fully contribute to the STEM workforce and to society. A lack of effective policies, practices, and guidance that support the broad spectrum of caregivers in STEM will only further contribute to an exodus from the STEM workforce, already stressed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing policies and practices across agencies would promote consistency across federal agencies, providing widespread benefits to caregivers. This report should be used as a springboard to increase coordination and collaboration across agencies, to support greater uniformity across government, and to support cross-agency data needs as they assess the impacts of the practices and policies that support caregivers in STEM. 

Date Published: May 1, 2024