The work of The Early Childhood Agenda continues! We are building a stronger early childhood system.

So please join us on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, when Strategies for Children will host the next quarterly convening of the Agenda on Zoom.

You can register for the 10 a.m. session that will be in English and Spanish — or for the 6 p.m. session that will be in English.

También puede leer esta información en español.

If you can’t make either session, you will be able to watch them on the Agenda’s YouTube channel.

If you need to catch up on the Early Childhood Agenda, please check out this update from Strategies for Children’s Director of Policy Marisa Fear:

For general questions or assistance, please contact:

And thank you for your continued participation and support!

For Cari Moore, being an early educator is, in part, a second chance to make up for time she lost when she was a child struggling with meningitis and severe allergies to foods, including peanut butter and chocolate. It was a tough time, but it led to a fulfilling career.

Moore’s family moved to the United States from Panama, and Moore grew up in Chelsea. Her mother spoke Spanish, but wanted Moore to speak English, so Moore decided to teach herself Spanish.

As Moore began thinking about careers, she drew on her own experience.

“I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician,” she says. “I wanted to do what doctors had done for me because I really appreciated that. But once I realized that child care and schools were an option, I realized I wanted to become a teacher. Even though doctors were important to me, so were teachers. When I missed school, it was my teachers who would come and see me. They would have packets for me.”

Moore also spent years being the youngest cousin in her family. And when a new cousin was born, when Moore was a teenager, she stepped up to babysit for that child. And, as a high school student, Moore traveled to Mexico where she worked in a camp, coming up with activities to help children learn more about their communities.

By the time Moore applied to college, she knew that she wanted to work with children, and she choose to attend Wheelock College. 

“Wheelock felt like home. It felt cozy,” she recalls. “I majored in psychology with a specialty in early education.” 

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Members of Together For Kids Coalition in Worcester, Mass., have a vision of achieving “Equity from the Start,” a system of early education and care that works for all families.

To achieve this vision the Coalition had families who live in the Main South, Bell Hill, and Vernon Hill neighborhoods meet with a team of Clark University graduate students. 

“This project highlighted important issues such as the lack of trust within the child care system and the fact that providers are underpaid and under-resourced,” Ella Henry explains. Henry is one of the graduate students who worked as a research assistant on the project.

“The families looked at Worcester data with the students and discussed the ways they felt the data did and did not represent their life experiences,” the nonprofit organization Edward Street Child Services explains on its Facebook page.

Parents answered four guiding questions:

• “What factors drive the persistence of EEC deserts in the Vernon Hill, Bell Hill, and Main South neighborhoods?”

• “What resources do families in these neighborhoods rely on to take care of their young children?”

• “What barriers do they face when attempting to access formal EEC?” and

• “What are the systemic barriers to providing EEC in these three neighborhoods?”

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“As the first mother to serve as Governor of New York, I know first-hand the impact that the lack of affordable child care can have on a family.”

“Child care is truly at the foundation of New York’s success, which is why it is central to our work to make the state more affordable and more livable. I’m proud of the investments in child care we have made in this Budget to make care more accessible for families, grow our workforce, and make a down payment on the future of our state.”

— Governor Kathy Hochul, “Governor Hochul Announces $500 Million Investment in FY 2024 Budget to Bolster New York’s Child Care Workforce,” New York State news release, May 31, 2023


Misael Carrasquillo

Leadership is about people who want to change the world – and it’s about the institutions that train these leaders. That’s why it’s an honor to recognize Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and Misael Carrasquillo, one of its graduates and employees.

Fifty years ago, Bunker Hill opened its doors to students. Since then it has become one of the most affordable, most diverse colleges in the state with two main campuses in Charlestown and Chelsea. 

Strategies for Children has hosted four interns from Bunker Hill in recent years, and while none of them have had early education experience, they have brought the invaluable gift of their life experiences, knowledge from their fields of study (business, political science, and communications), as well as their passion for social change.

Earlier this spring, Amy O’Leary, the executive director of Strategies for Children, attended a Bunker Hill’s Strategic Planning Community Convening event where she met Misael Carrasquillo, who has devoted himself to learning everything he can so he can share his knowledge — and his institutional affiliations — with other people. 

“I went to the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester,” Carrasquillo explains, “and I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school. Like a lot of students, I was living in the present, enjoying what life had to offer in that moment.”

Carrasquillo had participated in the U.S. Marines Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC). During his senior year, he was approached by a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps. So while his peers were worried about applying to college, Carrasquillo, who had his father’s support to enlist, was convincing his mother to sign the necessary paperwork.

“There was a $10,000 bonus that got me to say, yes. I had never seen that much money before, and my parents had never seen that much before.”

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Cambridge, Mass., is moving one big step closer to launching its universal preschool program, the Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP).

The city has just announced that starting this winter, parents can apply to enroll in the preschool program for the 2024-2025 school year.

As The Boston Globe reports, “The move is aimed at increasing access to high-quality early education in one of Massachusetts’ most expensive cities, home to Harvard and MIT, where private prekindergarten costs $20,000 to more than $30,000 per year.”

The Globe adds, “Cambridge joins other cities, such as Boston and Springfield, in making free prekindergarten accessible for all children.”

Cambridge expects to spend “about $20 million per year on preschool, money it found in its budget without having to make cuts to other services, officials said. The city has been planning for the new costs by setting aside $10 million in next year’s budget to help start the preschool program the following year.”

City leaders are strong supporters of CPP.

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Silvia Moron and State Senator Jason Lewis

Silvia Moron grew up in Haiti, and when she arrived in the United States in 2009, she wanted to be a diplomat.

“My dream was to work for the United Nations and be an ambassador,” Moron says.

To start her career, however, she decided to become a nurse. She loves helping people, and this career would, she decided, give her the stability she needed to pursue her dreams. 

Today, Moron is an intern at Strategies for Children. She’s studying political science at Bunker Hill Community College, and she plans to transfer to a four-year college to study foreign relations.

Moron also runs the Sephora Moron Foundation, which she launched in 2020 to raise money for poor children who don’t have access to education. Put all this work together, and it adds up to Moron’s vision of helping the world by becoming an ambassador who represents poor people, advocates for excellent health care, and promotes education.

What drew Moron to Strategies was the chance to learn about advocacy and policy.

Back in January, on the first day of her internship, Moron joined Strategies’ staff at the Massachusetts State House for the release of the Early Childhood Agenda.

“It was super-exciting. It was my first time at the State House, and I got to pose with Senator Lewis, and he posted the picture on Facebook,” Moron says of State Senator Jason Lewis (D-5th Middlesex). “And I talked to him about Strategies.”

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“Every child has the right to be cared for. Why aren’t we providing that as a society?”

— A trailer from the documentary Labor of Love: Stories from the front line of the childcare crisis, from Kids Count on Us, a statewide coalition of providers, parents, and teachers united to create quality, affordable child care across Minnesota. April 27, 2023. The featured child care providers have also shared their ideas about their state’s needs.

Copy of Adrienne_Armstrong1

Back when Barack Obama was president, Adrienne Armstrong worked in corporate marketing. Today, she’s a family child care provider and a member of the second cohort of Strategies for Children’s Advocacy Network.

“My last job was at John Hancock. I was there for 15 years,” Armstrong says of the insurance company. Then she left. “It was the result of a layoff. You think the whole world is coming to an end, but I realized that was one chapter of my corporate career ending, and it was the beginning of my second career as an educator.

Armstrong used the time off to travel, work on her house, and figure out her next steps.

She had always loved children. She hadn’t had her own, but she had raised her niece and nephews. And when her colleagues brought their children to work, Armstrong would sit down on the floor, in her business suit, to play with the kids. 

 She decided to enroll at Endicott College and earn a degree in early education.

Then she decided to open her own child care business — Adrienne’s Day Academy — in Boston’s Roxbury community, where she had grown up.

“Now I joke that I’ll never put on another suit in my life. Who knew this transition would be so rewarding?” Armstrong says. She has now been an early education provider for 12 years. 

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State House

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee released its $55.8 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2024.

This proposal includes significant investments in early education and care, including $475 million for C3 operational grants, $15 million for grants to early education and care providers for personal child care, $25 million in new funding for early education and care capital improvements, and $30 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative. You can see more details about funding for early education and care on our State Budget Tracker.

Senators had until last Friday to file amendments to the $55.8 billion proposal. The Senate will start the debate on the budget next Tuesday, May 23. After the Senate passes its budget, a legislative conference committee will meet to negotiate differences between the House and Senate budgets.

You can continue to follow the process on the Legislature’s website and stay tuned for updates and opportunities for action!

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