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Archive for the ‘Child care’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

COVID-19 has exposed long-term weaknesses in Massachusetts’ early education and care system – and made them worse, Joan Wasser Gish explains in a new CommonWealth Magazine article, “An early education system for a post-pandemic world.”

“If we are going to restore our economy, now and in the future,” the article says, “it will require a functioning system of affordable, accessible, high quality early education and care.”

Wasser Gish is a member of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care – and a former director of research and policy at Strategies for Children.

Long before COVID-19, she notes, families and early childhood programs have struggled with costs.

“Massachusetts has the second highest cost of child care in the nation, swallowing 39 percent of earnings in a typical Massachusetts family. For parents who work odd or unpredictable hours, or plan around the agrarian school calendar, child care is a decades-long, fraught, expensive patchwork.” (more…)

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How should Massachusetts reopen its early education and care programs?

By being responsive to the new needs that parents and employers have in a COVID-19 world.

That’s why Strategies for Children and 38 other organizations have submitted a letter to Governor Charlie Baker’s Reopening Advisory Board, which is actively seeking public feedback as it develops a plan “to reopen the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics.”

As our letter explains, taking careful next steps is essential.

“As you develop recommendations for how best to re-boot economic recovery in Massachusetts,” the letter says, “we ask that you include an intentional focus on reopening and strengthening the child care sector. No recovery will be successful if employees and working families do not have access to safe, affordable, high-quality child care for their children.”

The letter also points to the business sector’s support for child care, explaining: (more…)

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Source: Strategies for Children

 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Strategies for Children has set up a family survey so we can learn about parents’ and caregivers’ experiences with child care.

So far, there have been more than 1,550 responses. We’ve posted a summary of them, and we are sharing this information with policymakers to help guide their work.

Among the written responses is this troubling observation from Natick:

“It is proving difficult, draining, and detrimental to the mental well-being for working parents to juggle full time workloads and round-the-clock childcare. While many parents are non-essential, they are still working remotely but without the option of childcare. Needless to say, one person cannot perform two full-time jobs simultaneously. Parents need support in the form of teaching resources but also mental health and emotional support.”

Crunching the survey numbers produced these results: (more…)

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“Day care providers in Massachusetts, already ordered closed since March 23, could struggle to ever reopen unless they can get more aid, according to early childhood advocates.

“Gov. Charlie Baker announced that schools and non-emergency day care programs would remain closed through June 29. Even as it’s the necessary decision for public health, advocates say lengthening the closure puts a strain on an already fragile system of care with thin operating margins.

“Advocates estimate about half of the child care market in Massachusetts is funded directly by individuals and families, many of whom are facing loss of income and other uncertainties.

“ ‘We know that programs need those dollars to survive,’ said Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All campaign with the group Strategies for Children. ‘I’m worried that we’re going to come to a point where programs just cannot continue to stay open without some serious investment.’ ”

“Extended Closures Could Mean Some Mass. Daycares Never Reopen,” by Kathleen McNerney, Edify, WBUR, April 23, 2020

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“Our child care providers are essential workers on the front-lines of this crisis. By taking care of them, we’re also ensuring that other essential personnel can go to work without having to worry about who is taking care of their children.

“Congress must prioritize child care funding in all recovery and stimulus efforts. Investing in child care is an investment in public health, and in our economic recovery from this crisis.

“The debate over the next coronavirus relief package is raging in Washington, and we need you to make your voice heard.

Click [here]… and we’ll help you deliver a message to your legislator: Congress must invest at least $50 billion in child care through their coronavirus relief packages.”

 

“Speak up for Child Care,” Child Care Aware of America

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As a presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) was famous for “having a plan for that.”

And while her presidential bid has ended, she still has another vital plan: A $50 billion plan to bailout child care.

Based in part on her personal experience, Warren is a powerful advocate who understands the personal and economic importance of child care.

Last month, Warren shared the need for this wise investment in a Boston Globe op-ed she coauthored.

This week, a Medium article that Warren co-wrote with Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) plainly says, “Here’s the stark truth: when the time comes, we will not be able to rebuild our economy if this country’s child care system has collapsed beneath the economic burden of this pandemic.”

“Meanwhile,” a Vox article about the senators’ position says, “parents are left wondering whether their children’s care providers will even be in business when the pandemic is over, making child care possibly harder to find and more expensive than before.”

This risk is real. As the senators say in their Medium article: (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we have been inspired by the early education and care community’s collaborative spirt.

We are in this together.

People at the local, state and national level are all fighting for children, families, educators, providers and the early education and care system.

To contribute to this effort we have created a new page on our website that we will update frequently with information and resources.

We also want to update you on what has been happening so far:

On Friday, March 27th, 2020, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act was signed into law. This legislation will provide critical help for the early childhood education sector, including these highlights reported by NAEYC: (more…)

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