Senate passes bill to help Mass. child care centers hire more workers

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill Thursday that could help child care centers hire more workers.

The bill would create grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness programs for people who want to become child care providers, and it would establish a level for pay.

Lawmakers recommend that pay for early education workers “must be commensurate with public school teachers who have similar credentials.” Subsidized providers may also offer free or discounted seats for their staff’s children.

The bill would also expand programs that help parents pay for child care. An April report found that some Massachusetts families spend almost half of their income on childcare.

Families earning just over $65,000 a year can currently get help paying for child care — that income eligibility level will increase to $164,000 over time.

“Unfortunately, high-quality early education remains out of reach for most Massachusetts families, and our providers are struggling to keep their doors open,” said Senate President Karen Spilka. “This bill will address those issues and make our Commonwealth stronger by making early education more affordable, investing in our early educators and ensuring the sustainability of our providers.”

The proposal now goes to the House.

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