Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

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!

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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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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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Screenshot 2023-05-22 at 7.27.47 PM

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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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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“Covid provided an opportunity to really highlight this issue in ways that we’ve never seen. To have babies sitting behind Zoom cameras, to have toddlers trying to be busy while people were working from home; suddenly all the things we knew [about families’ early education and care needs] were in the public eye.

Ellis and SFC at BPR

Lauren Cook and Amy O’Leary at WGBH

“We have not changed our priorities even though the the brain science tells us how critical these early years are. So that’s what I’m hopeful for. It’s not just the people who work in this field, who have young children who are fighting for this. There’s been this bigger awareness of why we need high-quality programs starting at birth…”

— Amy O’Leary, “Boston Public Radio Full Show 4/18: Tax Day,” WGBH, April 18, 2023

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Sidney Hamilton

“I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Mass.,” Sidney Hamilton says, “and I’m still here.”

A dozen years ago, Hamilton started working as an intern at the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center. She was a room assistant helping with logistics and making sure children were safe. 

Today, Hamilton works at the Brigham Center as the Empowerment Director & Eureka! Coordinator, and she’s working hard to immerse girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). She’s also a member of the second cohort of our Advocacy Network.

“When I started working with kids, it came easily to me, and I really enjoyed it. A lot of people go to work for the money, and money is great, but I’d rather have a job that I can go to every day that I know I’m going to enjoy. That’s super important to me.”

Over the years, Hamilton worked as the coordinator of one of the Brigham Center’s after school programs and as a substitute teacher in its early education program. She did outreach work, educating teenagers about healthy sexuality, self defense, and financial literacy. And along the way, Hamilton earned an associate degree in human services at Berkshire Community College as well as a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work at Westfield State University.

Today, she continues to be engaged by the challenges and joys of building relationships with kids.

“To be able to get to know the kids, understand them better, help them with what they need is an awesome thing. And I love being in a place where we see kids grow up. We’ve had kids from birth who are still in our programs. I started working with a young girl when she was seven, and now she’s a senior who will be graduating high school. So there are a lot of full circle moments.”


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“ ‘Every place you go in the Framingham area, there are waiting lists for child care  it’s terrible,’ Mayor Charlie Sisitsky said during a forum last month on economic development.

“The lack of early childhood education providers has led to a crunch in openings for slots in preschools and other types of pre-kindergarten day care. Heidi Kaufman, executive director of education at the MetroWest YMCA, which oversees nearly 150 children in its pre-kindergarten program, said the YMCA program is booked to full capacity and has a lengthy waiting list.

“ ‘We are 100% full and we have no wiggle room whatsoever,’ she said. ‘Our wait list is so long, we won’t have any openings in the fall, which is usually when we have openings for the general community.’

“Despite already operating at full capacity, Kaufman said the YMCA would like to add to its staff, rather than relying on existing staff to work longer shifts with fewer breaks. But the child care industry in general has a limited amount of staff available. Some veterans are burned out by demands brought on by the pandemic, which made preschool and child care nearly impossible. And chronic understaffing can lead to those who remain to feel overworked and unable to perform the job to their ideal standards, leading to further burnout.” 

“Where are all the workers? Start with child care, politicians and others say,” by Jesse Collings, MetroWest Daily News, April 11, 2023

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state house

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On April 12, the House Committee on Ways & Means released its fiscal year 2024 state budget proposal, totaling $56.2 billion and proposing major investments in early education and care.

In his letter to members of the House, Chairman Aaron Michlewitz said “No area has had a greater impact on our workforce than early education and care. The lack of adequate and affordable childcare continues to hamper our recovery. The House remains committed to investing more into early education.”

For early education and care, the proposal includes:

• $290 million to continue the state’s C3 operational grants (line items 3000-1045 and 1596-2410). The budget also dedicates iLottery revenues to a newly created Early Education and Care Operational Grant Fund which is intended to augment C3 funding (see outside sections 6 and 8)
• $90 million for rate increases and $10 million for grants to early education and care providers for costs associated with personal child care (line items 3000-1041, 3000-1042)
• $17.5 million for Head Start (3000-5000)
• $20 million for child care resource and referral agencies (3000-2000)
• $15 million for preschool expansion CPPI grants (3000-6025)
• $10 million for professional development opportunities for child care providers (3000-7066)
• $5 million for the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Grant Program (3000-6075)

The House Ways & Means budget is posted here.

The House has until Friday to file amendments to the budget, and members will debate amendments in the weeks ahead. Check this page for future updates and advocacy opportunities.

Go to SFC’s state budget webpage for line item language, and contact Titus DosRemedios if you would like more information.

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Photo: Huong Vu for Strategies for Children

Last week we hosted another convening of The Early Childhood Agenda. Thank you to all those who registered and participated! Here’s a quick recap:

The Early Childhood Agenda Continues

On March 29, 2023, Strategies for Children and lead advocates shared an overview of The Agenda’s launch, its accomplishments, and new developments that have occurred since the launch in October, 2022, and then finalized The Agenda in January of 2023.

Special thanks to our partners for presenting timely updates and opportunities for action. They are:

• Naomi Meyer, Lift Our Kids Coalition

• Charlotte Bruce, Healthy Families Tax Credit Coalition

• Ryan Telingator, Common Start Coalition, and

• Kate Barlow, Massachusetts Act Early

We hosted two sessions (in the morning and evening) in two languages (English and Spanish) to accommodate our growing community of almost 600 partners across the Commonwealth.

Both recordings are available on the YouTube playlist

Click here to view the presentation slides – English

Haga clic aquí para ver las diapositivas de la presentación – Español

The Agenda is available online


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