EEA  
Early Education for All

             
   
 

 

Over the last two weeks early education and care programs have been working to reopen across Massachusetts

In June, the Department of Early Education and Care released the Massachusetts Child and Youth Serving Programs Reopen Approach: Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety and authorized that child care programs could start the steps to reopen the week of June 15. The Department has created guidance and templates to help programs through the reopening process.

We are working alongside advocates and child care providers to get a clear picture of the financial impact of Coronavirus on the early education and care field.  We have been inspired by the resiliency and creativity of our field. We know that providers will find a way to deliver high-quality care to families in this context.

At the same time, we fear that in spite of their hard work programs will be forced to close their doors permanently in the coming months without significant financial investment.

Over the last two weeks, we have heard heartbreaking stories from directors and family child care of providers who are borrowing from their reserves in the hope of a child care bailout that may never come.

Providers are considering staff reductions and salary cuts for a workforce that already makes poverty-level wages. Other potential solutions, increasing tuition rates and changing program hours, will place a heavy burden on working families.

This is part of the message we delivered this week to the Massachusetts Legislature.

The Joint Committee on Education held the first part of a virtual Oversight Hearing on the Status of Early Education and Care in the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 emergency on Wednesday, July 1 and will hold part two on Tuesday, July 7

The Committee Chairs Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Alice Peisch provided opening remarks and heard testimony from:

  • Education Secretary Jim Peyser
  • Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Department of Early Education and Care
  • Commissioner Linda Spears, Department of Children & Families
  • Amy O’Leary, Early Education for All Campaign Director, Strategies for Children
  • Bill Eddy, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Early Education & Care
  • Maria Moeller, CEO of The Community Group in Lawrence
  • Turahn Dorsey, Foundation Fellow, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
  • Kim Dion, Program Director, Child Care Resources at Seven Hills Foundation

You can watch the testimony from July 1 here and read Amy’s testimony here.

The Committee is accepting written testimony through Tuesday, July 7th at 5pm to both Chairs Peisch and Lewis (Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov and Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov) with the subject heading: “EEC Oversight Hearing Testimony.” 

This is a fantastic opportunity to share your thoughts with the Legislature. We are hosting a workshop to help you develop written testimony to share with the Committee.

Please pick one workshop and register below. Both are on Monday, July 6 – one in the morning and one in the evening:

The health crisis has highlighted so many inequities in so many of our systems, and has also raised broad, concrete awareness of how critical and integral the early education and care sector is to our economy and to the future of this Commonwealth.

We know that parent demand, employer decisions, and what happens with K-12 education will all impact the reopening and short- and long-term future of child care.

No one part of the system will be able to do this alone.  We will need an unprecedented level of intentional and thoughtful collaboration, alignment and sharing of resources.  We can no longer just monitor what each part of the system is doing, we will be dependent on each other and the decisions made will have implications for all parts.

We are in this together.

Together

 

 
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