Posts Tagged ‘#ChildCare’

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

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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.

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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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Screenshot 2023-05-10 at 10.12.51 AM

Parents are sounding the alarm: in Boston, it’s hard to find child care.

A new report – (Re)Building Boston’s Early Education and Care Sector: Supply, Affordability and Quality Needed – offers policy solutions.

“Boston should be the best place in the country to raise a family, with high-quality, supportive child care programs and facilities accessible to all our residents,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu writes in a letter in the report’s opening pages. “But too often parents and caregivers across Boston’s neighborhoods face immense challenges finding quality, affordable care.”

The report, released by the Boston Opportunity Agenda’s Birth to Eight Collaborative, provides the proof. An analysis of Boston data from 2017 and 2020-2022 found in part that:

• in 2022, 76 percent of children age 2 or younger did not have access to formal child care

• In the past five years, the city lost nearly 20 percent of its family child care providers

• in 2022, on average, an estimated 39 percent of children aged birth to 5 years old lacked access to formal early education and care. “The access gap varied across neighborhoods, ranging from 5 percent in Roxbury to 61 percent in Charlestown.”

• “In 2022, the city-level quality gap for 0–5-year-olds in Boston was 69 percent.” The report defines the quality gap as the difference between “the total number of identified ‘high-quality’ education and care seats… and the number of children birth to 5 years of age… in a given geographical location, assuming all of these families would desire formal care near their homes.”


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Marcy Whitebook, director emerita of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, was recently interviewed about the history of child care and about its future. Here’s an excerpt of what she said. 

Barbara Zheutlin: ECHOES [The Early Childhood History Organizing Ethos and Strategy project] demonstrates that child care and education programs initially evolved based on the needs of families. How did “care” and “education” get divided?
Marcy Whitebook:

When kindergartens and nurseries were getting started, parents didn’t have enough money to pay for the care and education of their youngest children. The early advocates saw that they needed public funding, even in those very earliest years, if they were going to be able to pay for care for the youngest children. But the public schools in most states had a narrow definition of education, they only recognized reading, writing, and arithmetic as “education.”

Why was kindergarten such a radical idea when it was started?

People didn’t think that little children could learn. So, the idea that you could teach young children was radical. And kindergarten introduced the idea that children learn through playing. Many didn’t understand that through play, children were learning.

What surprised you about the early years of kindergarten?

I was amazed to discover that kindergarten was originally intended, and then often offered, to 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds.

So, why do we think that kindergarten is only for 5-year-olds?

Unfortunately, to get kindergarten established in the public schools, those advocating for kindergarten had to compromise. They had to accept that kindergartens in public schools would primarily be for 5-year-olds, because including younger kids would have meant more kids, which would have cost more money.

So, advocates made a budget-driven compromise, and we are all living today with the consequences. We are still fighting to get early care and education for children under age 5 in this country.

Another surprise was learning that it took 150 years to get kindergartens into the public schools. For those of us trying to get accessible child care, this is truly sobering.

“Women’s work? We need to make child care a national priority,” by Barbara Zheutlin, Berkeley News, March 30, 2023

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In her inauguration speech, State Senator Robyn Kennedy talked about the importance of investing in early childhood programs. She also appeared earlier this month on Strategies for Children’s 9:30 call as part of our “First Year Tour” meet-and-greet with newly elected legislators. Click on the white arrow below to hear her speech or read her tweet.

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Please join an advocacy effort being led by the national nonprofit Child Care Aware of America by creating a 90-second video about the importance of stabilization grants.

Stabilization grants have had a powerful, positive impact on helping early childhood providers stay open during the pandemic.

But funding for these grants is going to expire later this year!

That’s why Child Care Aware is seeking “perspectives from more child care providers in every state. Can you submit a short video? Sharing your story can help leaders and policymakers hear about the challenges child care continues to face and the difference that additional funding can make for programs and families nationwide.”

Making a video is easy. You can click here to watch a sample video. Then click on the button marked “Start Your Video,” and you’ll see prompts about what to say. You’ll also have to grant the website permission to access your computer’s microphone and camera.

You can also click on the video above to watch highlights of other providers’ videos.

Please join this national effort by sharing your voice and your story.

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Next month, Massachusetts will have new leadership, so it’s time for advocates to learn about and reach out to key players in state public policy.

One good place to start is learning about the transition teams that have been created by Governor-elect Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor-elect Kim Driscoll.

The key committee for early childhood advocates to focus on is called “Thriving Youth and Young Adults.”

Chaired by Amanda Fernandez, the CEO of Latinos for Education, and Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Rachel H. Monárrez, the committee is looking at, “How we address learning loss from the pandemic and give all children and families equitable access to the educational, social, emotional and behavioral supports they need.”

Serving on the committee are well known members of the early education and care community, including:


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We’re continuing to highlight our Advocacy Network participants, and we’re excited about all the work they’re doing in the field and across the state. For past blogs click here and here.

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Kelly Marion first came to the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center when she was 11 years old. Her father had just passed away. He had been the victim of a violent crime. And Marion’s mother wanted Marion and her siblings to stay engaged with the community – and the world.

Today, Marion is the CEO of the community center, where she has worked for over 30 years. The center currently serves 2,500 families in and around the Western Massachusetts city of Pittsfield, in Berkshire County. 

“The majority of our families are socio-economically challenged,” Marion says. “We have a lot of single-parent households and grandparents raising their grandchildren.”

The center has a number of programs that support children, all the way from birth to age 13, including child care programs and an array of programming for middle and high school students. Once they’re old enough, many of these children are hired as center staff.

Thanks to her work, Marion is a seasoned advocate. So for her, joining Strategies for Children’s Advocacy Network was a chance to connect with other early educators from across the state — and share a vital message. 

“I don’t think people see how important early childhood education is, and how important high-quality early education is,” Marion says. 


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