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Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

The opioid crisis has hit people across Massachusetts – including families in early education and care settings.

To help the early education and care field address this crisis, Carol Nolan has convened small meetings of staff from different state agencies to share information about opioids and about helping families. Nolan is the associate commissioner for Strategic Partnerships for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

“We have to change the conversation so that those who are suffering feel freer to talk about their circumstances and receive treatment,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said last year at the first event. Continue Reading »

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Springfield’s Educare Center. Photo: Magnus Monroe

 

Last year, civic partners broke ground on Springfield’s Educare Center.

Now, as construction is winding down, the Educare Center is growing into a state-of-the art facility that will serve 141 children, as a BusinessWest.com article reports.

Nikki Burnett, the executive director of Educare Springfield, tells BusinessWest.com that the neighborhood deserves the $14 million, 27,000-square-foot facility, which is part of a national network of high-quality early education and care programs. There are 24 Educare centers around the country, but this is the first one in Massachusetts. Continue Reading »

 

The East Boston Social Centers recently interviewed Representative Adrian Madaro (D-Boston). Here’s an excerpt.

“As an undergraduate, you majored in child development. What would ideal system of early childhood supports look like and how can organizations like the Social Centers help get there?”

“We know that everything starts young. Children’s brains are developing, they’re formulating thoughts and learning from day one so it’s important that we invest as early as possible in the development of children and that’s exactly what the Social Centers does. The earlier you invest in a young person, the positive outcomes that can come from that increase dramatically. The sooner we can intervene and the sooner we can start to get at those children, the better for the long term.”

And here’s a relevant personal note from Madaro’s bio:

“Adrian and his wife Ariel met as undergraduate students at Tufts University in a child development class taught by the same professor who would officiate their wedding seven years later.”

 

The Ounce has released its 2019 State Policy Update Report.

It’s a “snapshot of states’ early childhood education policy priorities and budgetary changes during the 2019 legislative sessions.”

“We are excited to share highlights from each state that illustrate the persistent work of early childhood advocates, program providers, public officials ,and many other stakeholders who continue to move the field forward in creating environments in which young children and families can thrive,” a report overview says.

This year’s survey digs deep, asking survey respondents to:

• categorize 2019’s legislative, administrative and budgetary changes

• describe any work they did to advance federal policy, and

• identify and share stories about elected officials who are “early childhood champions”

The report also looks at early intervention programs; families’ mental health; workforce and professional development efforts; as well as revenue, governance, and data. Continue Reading »

Last month the event “Action for Boston Children: A Plan for BPS’ Future,” was held at The Boston Foundation. The panelists in this photograph are: Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell (at podium); Brenda Cassellius, Superintendent, Boston Public Schools; Latoya Gayle, Executive Director, Boston School Finder; Amy O’Leary, Director of Strategies for Children’s Education for All Campaign; and Paul Reville, Former Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor.

 

“Today, until a child turns four or five, it can feel to families as though there is no place to go. The birth to four landscape is dominated by private providers that can be hard to find, and to afford. A patchwork of funding sources and cumbersome state and federal requirements that families cannot meet or do not understand contribute to locking out many children and families from access to quality childcare. We should start by asking what parents and families need to ensure that their children are on the strongest path to a life of learning and outcomes. And if we ask that question, it’s hard not to arrive at the conclusion that a comprehensive view of birth to five is the way forward.”

“Action for Boston Children,” a report released by Andrea Campbell, president of the Boston City Council, June 2019

Parents already know that it’s tough to find high-quality, affordable child care in Boston.

Now, a new report — State of Early Education and Care in Boston: Supply, Demand, Affordability and Quality — has used data to better define the child care landscape for policymakers.

“During the process of creating a citywide plan for young children to achieve this goal, we discovered that there were many questions that could not be answered and supported with the data available,” the report, which was released by the Boston Opportunity Agenda, explains.

Among the questions: Continue Reading »

 

Local communities are ready for preschool expansion, but often lack the funds to get started. Absent a clear federal or state path for preschool expansion, innovative local leaders are forging ahead using a variety of collaborative approaches.

Last week, Strategies for Children hosted a webinar on this topic: “Local Preschool Financing Strategies in Massachusetts.” Three communities presented their work, and 15 other communities participated in the webinar.

Here’s a recap of the event and the topics we discussed.

We heard from Holyoke, Springfield, and Boston, all communities that are leading the way on financing more preschool spots for children through a mixed-delivery system.

Presentations were made by: Continue Reading »

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