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Posts Tagged ‘#SolveChildCare’

“Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood announced Thursday it has established a parent cabinet, a parent-led advisory group intended to infuse the voice of caregivers into policy and decision-making.

“State leaders say the cabinet will create a ‘feedback loop’ of communication between the office — which oversees child care, Care 4 Kids and other early childhood services — and parents, whose needs are not always heard.”

“Christina Augliera, of Torrington, is the mother of two sons, with the youngest on the autism spectrum. Augliera founded the nonprofit Torrington Area Families for Autism, and wants to use her seat on the parent cabinet to advocate for special programming in rural Connecticut.

“The cabinet framers made a concerted effort to reach out to fathers, whose role in communities and in early childhood is sometimes overlooked.

“Joshua Vaughn, a father of four from Naugatuck, said he wants to be a voice for fathers and all caregivers who make daily sacrifices for the well-being of their children.

“ ‘The importance of male figures within the community is dynamic,’ Vaughn said. ‘The goal is to equip, educate and coach men from all walks of life for the preparations of leadership. Committing to this cause will provoke change and awareness.’ ”

“State officials heralded the cabinet’s creation. Listening to parents ‘is not the afterthought anymore, it’s central,’ Commissioner Beth Bye said Thursday at a press conference in Hartford. ‘This is a great day, this is historic.’ ”

“Connecticut adds Parent Cabinet to center parent voices in child care decision-making,” by Seamus McAvoy, Hartford Courant, April 7, 2022

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future of work

Photo: Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels.

There’s a new report in town produced by the Massachusetts Legislature’s Future of Work Commission that says “Massachusetts will need to adapt its workforce training, public transit and child care systems to better support workers in a post COVID-19 economy,” a State House News story reports, adding:

“The report also warned that regional and racial disparities in income will also widen without intervention as white collar professions shift more easily to hybrid and remote work models, while service and manufacturing jobs offer less flexibility.”

As the report itself explains, “The Commission was formed in the spring of 2021 to investigate and evaluate the impacts of technological change and automation on work by 2030.”

The report takes into account old factors and new factors, including the impact of the pandemic.

Among the challenges the report points to, “Demand for greater access and flexibility in childcare is far outpacing supply.”

(more…)

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Rendering of the new child care facility at 585 Andover St. in Lawrence, courtesy of Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. and Davis Square Architects.

“MassDevelopment has issued a $7.1 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. (GLCAC), which will use proceeds to demolish its outdated existing child care center at 585 Andover St. in Lawrence and build a new two-story, 28,790-square-foot child care center in its place. The organization will construct the new child care center in the existing parking lot of the current facility, and repurpose the land where the current building lies, once it is demolished, for a playground and parking.”

“ ‘Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. is a community leader in providing individuals and families with the resources they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives,’ said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. ‘MassDevelopment is proud to help the organization further invest in Lawrence through the creation of a brand-new child care center that will serve nearly 60 additional children, create jobs, and support working families.’ ”

”$7.1M Builds Child Care Center in Lawrence: Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. Uses Tax-Exempt Bond from MassDevelopment & Eastern Bank to Build New Child Care Facility, Expand Enrollment & Create Jobs,” by Matthew Mogavero, MassDevelopment, March 2, 2022

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Ever feel like you would enjoy having inspiring, high-powered friends who believe fiercely in high-quality early education and care?

Look no further than U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) and the advocates and leaders from the field who testified last week at a special hearing on child care held by the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP).

The video and testimony transcripts are posted here.

Murray opened the proceedings with a smart, sweeping, we-have-got-to-do-better speech.

The economy, she said, “isn’t just about numbers on a page and whether they go up or down. It’s about people across the country and whether they can get what they need, whether they can take care of their loved ones, and whether things are working for them and their families.”

And one thing families – and the economy – need is child care.

“So in short,” Murray added, “we’ve got an affordability problem, child care shouldn’t be an extra mortgage; a wages problem, child care workers are leaving the field for higher paying work; and an options problem, there just aren’t enough providers… This is not just terrible for parents and kids, but for our economy as a whole.”

(more…)

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Last night, Amy O’Leary, executive director of Strategies for Children, spoke at the graduation ceremony for the City of Boston Childcare Entrepreneur Fund.

“The Fund offers support to current and aspiring owners of family childcare businesses in Boston. Fund recipients attend business training and receive grant funding for their business.”

Here’s part of what O’Leary said:

“We continue to be inspired by this dedicated and resilient workforce and their commitment to the problem solving, building partnerships and providing high-quality learning experiences under incredible circumstances.

“And YOU – tonight we celebrate you, the graduates of the City of Boston Childcare Entrepreneur Fund.

“You can change the world. All of the skills, gifts and talents you use to support young children can be used where you are sitting right now to lead. 

“The most important piece is that YOU have to BELIEVE.

“WE are the ones we have been waiting for.

“YOU ARE SMART, POWERFUL LEADERS FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES!

“We need to believe in ourselves and be willing to think differently about the future.

“It is critical that we find new, innovative, and meaningful ways to support educators and expand access to childcare for Boston families.”

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

It’s that time of year.

Time for Boston parents and guardians with children ages 0 to 5 to respond to the city’s Child Care Census, a survey about child care needs.

The survey is available online and can be taken in seven different languages. Boston residents can also fill out a paper copy of the survey that was mailed to all Boston residents.

Please ask the Boston parents and guardians that you know to respond!

The survey will help the City of Boston learn more about child care needs and do a better job of meeting them.

Now is a great time to speak up, because Boston Mayor Michelle Wu recently announced “the creation of the Office of Early Childhood to advance the administration’s commitment to universal, affordable, high-quality early education and care for all children under five.”

The office will be led by Kristin McSwain who “brings more than ten years of experience as the Executive Director of the Boston Opportunity Agenda.”

The goal is to “address needs highlighted in Boston’s 2021 Childcare Census Survey report.” Among the report’s key findings:

• families are relying on “parent/guardian care” more often than the would like to

• 81% of respondents who rely on a parent/guardian care arrangement for their children are women, and caring for children interfering with their career desires

• respondents with 3-5 year old children “strongly prefer public/charter school care arrangements, but are not able to access them,” and

• “the average cost of center-based care is greater than the Massachusetts state average, which is already the 2nd highest in the nation behind only Washington, D.C.”

To get an even clearer picture of the current need, Boston needs to hear from families!

So, please reach out to young children’s parents and guardians and ask them to take the survey.

It would be great if all of Boston’s families participated, so that all families’ needs could be heard.

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Photo: Yan Krukov from Pexels

A long awaited and welcome report from the Massachusetts Legislature has been released this week, and it charts a policy course for early education and care.

“Building a sustainable and well-functioning system for early education and care is critical and urgent, especially for Massachusetts’s most vulnerable families,” the report from the Special Legislative Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission says.

The commission was chaired by Representative Alice H. Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester), and was composed of “a variety of stakeholders… including legislators, providers, professional organizations, business leaders and employers, advocates, and state agency leaders.”

As Chair Peisch says in a press release, “Long a leader in K-12 public education, Massachusetts now has an opportunity to build on that success in the early education and child care sectors by acting on the recommendations contained in this report.” 

“This work is critical to our goals of advancing racial justice and an equitable economy that works for all,” Chair Lewis adds.

Maria Gonzalez Moeller, CEO of The Community Group in Lawrence, Mass., adds: 

(more…)

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This is a guest blog by Strategies for Children intern Jenna Nguyen. Jenna is a master’s student in the Human Development and Education program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and a Zaentz Fellow

Jenna_Nguyen

Jenna Nguyen

It has been an absolute pleasure and honor to be a Strategies for Children intern. Strategies has not only reinvigorated my passion for expanding equitable early education and care, but also opened my eyes to the urgency of this work at both the national and local levels. In order to create a coordinated, early childhood system that ensures access to quality programs for all children and families, we must be willing to address the huge disparities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, the fragility of the child care ecosystem, the provider shortages, the need for pay parity, and the need to provide more supports to educators and families.

The common threads that connect my current internship with my academic and professional work are that I have an enduring investment in advancing equity in early childhood systems, thinking about ways to build and sustain relationships across the early childhood community (which the 9:30 Call does so well!), empowering and elevating family and educator voices, and in making information more accessible and engaging. (more…)

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“Let’s provide investments and tax credits to… cut the cost of child care. Many families pay up to $14,000 a year for child care per child.

“Middle-class and working families shouldn’t have to pay more than 7% of their income for care of young children.

“My plan will cut the cost in half for most families and help parents, including millions of women, who left the workforce during the pandemic because they couldn’t afford child care, to be able to get back to work. 

“My plan doesn’t stop there. It also includes home and long-term care. More affordable housing. And Pre-K for every 3- and 4-year-old.”

“Remarks of President Joe Biden – State of the Union Address As Prepared for Delivery,” The White House, March 1, 2022

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Photo: report screenshot

Both before the pandemic and now, child care providers of color have faced troubling and persistent racial inequities.

A new report – “Equity in Child Care is Everyone’s Business” — explores this challenge and proposes solutions. An accompanying policy brief is posted here.

Released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and The Education Trust, a national nonprofit, the report is a chronicle of unfair economic realities.

“Amid the COVID-19 crisis, child care providers, many of whom are women of color, face funding challenges, safety and health concerns, and talent acquisition/professional development barriers,” the report says. “Several providers reported that racial and gender bias has posed challenges within their local business community, including feeling less supported than other businesses due to their race.”

Specific findings include:

• “In 2015, more than 1 in 6 female child care workers lived below the poverty line (that’s twice the poverty rate of female workers overall), and Black and Latina child care workers with children of their own were more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line”

• “59% of all home-based child care workers have household incomes below the national median, and this number is 75% for Black home-based child care workers,” and

• “Black early educators earn an average of 78 cents less per hour than their White counterparts, even when controlling for education level” (more…)

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