While demand for spots in high-quality centers is on the rise, the number of operating child care businesses has declined. Many centers cannot afford to pay their staff a living wage, and their staff are the foundation to quality. 37% of educators are on some form of public assistance, and the result is a turnover rate near 30%. It is the most vulnerable of our children who are impacted. We see an opportunity to expand and enhance quality as Massachusetts submits its upcoming Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State plan.
From the National Center for Children in Poverty: “CCDF subsidies assist low-income families with the cost of child care so that they may work or prepare for employment. Assistance is provided in the form of either a contracted child care slot or a voucher that may be used to access care by any provider that meets state requirements.”
The federal government recommends that states reimburse providers at the 75th percentile, but rates in Massachusetts have remained substantially lower than that.
On January 15, the Put MA Kids First Coalition submitted a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care with comments on the state plan. In it, we urged the Department to:
Raise base reimbursement rates,
Guarantee continuity of care for all children receiving subsidies for a minimum of 12 months,
Provide lingustically competent information to individuals with limited English proficiency.
We believe that implementing these changes would have a powerful impact on outcomes for children across the Commonwealth.