All registered family childcare providers will receive $3,260 in flexible spending.
Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the City of Boston Child Care Stabilization Grant, which provides all family-based child care providers with a one-time flexible spending grant of $3,260 to be used for their businesses. This funding will provide additional support to educators and early childhood care providers in an effort to stabilize child care providers in Boston as they continue to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. All 459 licensed family child care providers in Boston registered with the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care will receive the grant, which is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and approved by the City Council in 2021.
“Empowering early childhood and child care providers is critical to ensuring a fair recovery for Boston’s young children and working families,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we work to improve access to accessible, high-quality child care, these investments will immediately support our early child care providers in their critical work of setting all our children and families up for success.”
Boston had 489 family care providers in March 2020, of which 400 are still open today. Today, 459 family child care programs have an active EEG license. Boston has lost 89 family child care providers and gained 59 new ones since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants will help family child care providers sustain or expand their business to give more Boston families access to high-quality early education. The grant can be used to offset a variety of costs, including hiring or retention bonuses for childcare staff or to support new and existing learning activities.
Massachusetts is the second most expensive state for child care in the US, with center-based infant care costing an average of $20,913 per year. Family child care providers tend to be more affordable than center-based child care, making them a critical service for low- and moderate-income families. Family childcare providers can also offer families more flexible hours, as well as multilingual or mixed-age settings.
The childcare industry is predominantly made up of women. In Boston, 92% of the child care workforce is women, 62% are people of color, and 39% are immigrants across centers and family-based settings. The Child Care Stabilization Grant will help close economic gaps for providers and ensure they can continue to provide access to working families who need child care options.
“Supporting family care providers in the city of Boston is essential to our economic recovery,” said Alexandra Valdez, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for the Advancement of Women. “This funding is an important investment in giving childcare and early education providers the resources they need to create successful, sustainable businesses in our city. These funds will empower a profession that is largely represented by women, specifically women of color, and our immigrant community. As a first-time mother, I know that it is essential to ensure that childcare providers continue to have the resources needed to succeed.”
“High-quality, accessible early childhood education and care is a public good, and we must treat it as such — especially as we recover from the pandemic,” said Kristin McSwain, Director of the Office of Early Childhood. “I am excited that the City of Boston is able to use our federal recovery funding to support these providers who are a lifeline to so many families in Boston.”
In March, Mayor Wu announced that Kristin McSwain will lead the newly created Office of Early Childhood as Director and serve as Senior Advisor to the Mayor. The Office of Early Childhood was created to advance the administration’s commitment to universal, affordable, high-quality early education and care for infants, toddlers and all children under five. The office seeks to expand access to early education and child care programs, invest in Boston’s early education and care workforce, and build a central access point for residents seeking information about early education and child care programming and wraparound services for young children and their children. families.
The Mayor’s Office for the Advancement of Women (MOWA) has prioritized child care as a critical issue for Boston’s families, leading several landmark initiatives. Boston launched a first-in-the-nation citywide child care survey in 2019. MOWA, in collaboration with the Electoral Department, is collecting submissions for this year’s survey online which are included in this year’s annual census. In 2021, MOWA and the City of Boston’s Economic Mobility Lab developed the Child Care Entrepreneur Fund, a grant program to empower family-based child care providers through business training and technical assistance. During the pandemic, the program expanded significantly to provide additional assistance, with programming in English, Spanish and Cantonese. In 2020, MOWA released a report on the state of childcare during COVID-19. The city of Boston will continue to improve high-quality and accessible child care through the new Office of Early Childhood.
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