ELECTION YEAR 2020
Without new public funding, many child care programs will close permanently and families will be unable to return to work. Children will face long-term setbacks by missing out on high-quality early education.
Governor Baker closed all child care programs by executive order, between March 23rd and June 8th, due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 500 providers received provisional licenses to operate emergency care for the children of essential workers. The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) estimates that the industry lost $250 million dollars in revenue each month that programs were closed. Federal aid has been minimal, and insufficient to recuperate the losses.
A recent national survey of more than 5,000 child care providers conducted by NAEYC found that approximately 82% of providers have reopened as of July. Of those who are open, they report that on average enrollment is down by 67%. Programs are faced with decreased revenues from the shut down and new health rules that limit enrollment. Providers’ long-term financial challenges are exacerbated by the increased costs associated with new health and safety protocols to address COVID-19.
Three challenges require advocacy and policy support
1. Health and safety: testing for educators, PPE for programs, communicating new guidance to families.
2. Recovery funding: programs lost funding during closures, and are depleting savings accounts to prevent permanent closure. The federal Cares Act provided only $45 million in child care aid to Massachusetts. Most programs did not receive PPP loans. New funding will be needed to help programs stay open under lower preschool and school-age ratios. Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimates that the child care industry in Massachusetts needs $690 million to recover and open safely.
3. Alignment with public schools: while there is collaboration at the state level and shared public health expertise, reopening is guided by different sets of rules for early education and care programs compared to public schools.
At its core, child care is about equity. All children, regardless of their families’ resources, deserve access to high-quality child care. As advocates, we strive for racial justice in child care, and we work to raise and center the voices of families, educators, and communities of color.
Be a Champion for Young Children
As a Voter
- Make sure you vote! See where.
- Learn about the candidates and their education platforms. Click here for state election candidates, as well as ballot questions, early voting information,
and instructions on how to vote by mail.
- Stay current on early education news. Join our e-mail list, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and read our Eye on Early Education blog. Review and share research on the benefits of high-quality early education for children, families, and the economy.
- Engage Candidates. Speak up! Ask questions and engage candidates in conversation about prioritizing young children:
• What is your plan to help the child care industry recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic?
• What is your plan to ensure that all young children have access to high-quality early education?
• How will you support the professional development and compensation of the early education and care workforce?
• What will you do to make sure we invest the public dollars needed into programs for children?
- Engage Your Community. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper urging candidates to prioritize young children in the election. Contact Titus DosRemedios, SFC's director of research and policy, for assistance.
As a Candidate
- Make sure your education platform supports young children and families by including and supporting high-quality early education and care. Children are born learning, and the first five years lay the foundation for success in school and life. Let’s level the playing field and give all children a strong start with high-quality, affordable child care and preschool programs,
- Learn more about the research and data about children and families in your communities. For more information contact Titus DosRemedios, SFC's director of research and policy.
- Understand the progress made in early education and care in Massachusetts,
and the challenges that have arisen as a result of the pandemic.
- Learn about child care funding in federal and state budgets, and the new opportunity to invest in child care in the FY21 state budget (expected to be passed this fall).
- Stay current on early education news. Join our e-mail list, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and read our Eye on Early Education blog.