Working-class families like ours need consideration if our Commonwealth intends to retain the talent that drives our economy. The committed child care workers that dedicate their time to caring for our children deserve equal consideration. Ensuring affordable child care is an issue that a majority of MA residents can agree on because it benefits so many directly, bolsters our economy by allowing more parents to re-enter the workforce, and makes the Commonwealth more attractive to those who might otherwise leave to raise a family. – Amanda Huggon-Mauretti, Fall River
While Massachusetts is a nationwide leader on early education and care, the current system is still unaffordable and/or inaccessible for many families. Massachusetts maintains one of the highest annual costs for child care ($20,125 for infants, $18,586 for toddlers, $14,256 for 4-year-olds); as a result, child care is financially out of reach for many families across the state. The business sector in Massachusetts has limited on-site programs and the state does not provide meaningful options for families with non-standard work hours that need child care.
In the Commonwealth, early educators are severely undercompensated; on average they are paid minimum wage ($30,000 annually for child care workers, $38,000 for preschool teachers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics) and have limited access to fringe benefits. While early educators are actively pursuing associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in early education, compensation does not reflect their education and training levels. As a result, recruitment and retention of talent is difficult for child care centers, and providers are struggling to keep classrooms open due to high turnover rates.
Massachusetts has the momentum to reform early education and care. A poll by CSC Solutions in December 2018 showed overwhelming bipartisan support in making child care more affordable. There is consensus that a comprehensive overhaul of early education and care is the next logical step after passing paid family and medical leave. A successful early education and care campaign, that follows our comprehensive paid family and medical leave law, will create additional employment and social support opportunities for parents. Access to affordable, high quality child care dramatically impacts families’ work/life balance decisions and supports household economic stability and growth. Moreover, comprehensive policies that address accessibility to child care offer particular benefits to women, especially racially diverse and lower income women. Finally, ensuring access to quality child care and early education will give all children in the Commonwealth the chance to build social, emotional and learning skills that, in turn, will help shape their success in school, employment, health and wellbeing.
Based on the challenges and need, CSJ have come together with other stakeholders from around the state to listen, inspire and motivate each other and deliver a victory through uplifting families, caregivers and early educators, especially historically marginalized populations.
That is why we started The Massachusetts campaign for Affordable and Accessible High-Quality Early Education and Care to promote a childcare systems reform agenda. The intent is to advance legislation that introduces structural reforms to our state’s child care system. These reforms are designed to increase investment in the early educator workforce, infuse additional resources into programs that promote excellence in delivery of child care and early education, and to solve for financial barriers faced by families seeking affordable, high-quality childcare and early learning programming. The reform agenda we envision is intended to reflect the needs of the 21st century workforce and to build the foundation for a strong economy in a way that also reduces racial, gender, and income inequality in Massachusetts.
In the News
Western MA Coordinator
Jynai McDonald – firstname.lastname@example.org
Southeastern MA Coordinator
Jordan Pouliot Latham – email@example.com