Stories of Care: community-engaged action research to address caregiver burn-out in socially vulnerable communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused high and prolonged levels of stress among families. The families who experience racism, poverty, and instability in their housing experienced the highest levels of stress over the last three years. Many of these families continue to experience high levels of stress, even though the immediate challenges of the pandemic are over, because of continued disruptions to childcare and a lack of support for under-resourced families. One of the challenges to supporting young families in their recovery from the pandemic is that there is a gap in knowledge about the ways in which young families experiencing racism, poverty, and instability were and continue to be most impacted by the pandemic and, from their perspective, how schools, childcare, and supports for young families could better support them.

This research project has the goal of filling this knowledge gap by engaging low-income parents of young children, childcare providers, and agencies working to improve childcare policies to answer these questions. We are hosting a series of workshops with these stakeholders asking them to share their stories of how the effects of the pandemic caused stress and caregiver burnout in their (or their clients') lives. This conversation will be facilitated by results from a survey of parents and caregivers from the same community about their experiences of stress and burnout. We will also invite participants to help craft a vision for the types of supports for young families that would have been most helpful during the pandemic and develop a plan to help make this vision closer to reality.

Through the participation of childcare providers and political advocates, these ideas will be translated into practice to help improve support for young families in recovering from the pandemic, as well as in preparation for any future pandemics. 


  • San Diego for Every Child
  • YMCA of San Diego County