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OUR PRIORITIES   |   CHILDCARE AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

CHILDCARE AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

As a father, John knows how essential childcare and paid family leave are to Boston’s working families. With four children under the age of ten, he and his wife Tchintcia have worked hard to find good, affordable options for their family, while both have continued to work.
 

High quality, affordable childcare is critical for the success and well-being of children, families and the entire economy. Unfortunately, our country has not prioritized providing widespread access to high quality, affordable childcare for 0-3 year olds. Parents and caregivers have to juggle multiple jobs and the incredibly high cost of care--or make the decision to stay at home, even if they would prefer to be in the labor market. 
 

Childcare is a gender equity issue. The data is clear: the burden of care, and the sacrifices it requires, disproportionately falls on women. This was true before the pandemic, and even more so now. 
 

It is also a labor issue. We must prioritize adequately compensating early education professionals while improving training. Improving quality, increasing affordability, and expanding access to childcare for all families is essential to building a more equitable city, and it’s an important investment in the future of our children.
 

John’s Record:
 

  • As Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, John led the development of Dudley Children Thrive, an initiative that supported and empowered families with children ages 0 - 5 to prepare for success in school. 

  • John played a pivotal role in creating Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) for 4 year-olds in Boston.

  • As Chief of Economic Development, John supported the City of Boston’s work to better understand the childcare crisis and develop solutions to address it. 

  • John helped launch the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund and other programs that supported access to high quality child care.

  • John created business training classes for family child care providers, which led to improved outcomes for educators.

  • He helped launch a first-in-the-nation Childcare Survey, which led to increased development of childcare initiatives including increased funding for the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund.

  • He helped create a pool of grant money for childcare providers from funds extracted through private development.

  • He helped create an RFP for child care facilities and in-home providers through partnership with the BPDA and the Office of Women's Advancement. 
     

 As Mayor, John will:
 

1. Create a more seamless continuum of supports and services that children need to be healthy, thrive, and grow. Better integrate family services, childcare, and early childhood education to create a more holistic approach to nurturing children’s wellbeing and supporting families, starting at birth and continuing to adulthood.
 

2. Meet families’ basic needs and improve family health, wellbeing, and economic sustainability.
 

  • Join Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and work with business, philanthropy and our institutions to pilot a guaranteed minimum income program for Boston.

  • Establish a stronger Citywide network of food access providers, including City, State, and Federal agencies, nonprofits, and the Boston Public Schools to ensure that families have easier access to free, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food.

  • Improve housing affordability and stability for families, by taking immediate steps to prevent evictions, create and preserve more affordable housing, and increase the overall percentage of housing in Boston that is designated affordable.

  • Create a childcare trust, similar to the one recently announced in Connecticut, to provide workers displaced by the pandemic who are retraining and earning new credentials access to the resources they need to pay for childcare.

3. Use CARES Act, American Rescue Plan and anticipated Federal infrastructure funding to restore early care and learning capacity lost over the course of the pandemic.

  • Provide small business support to childcare and early learning providers, facilitated through the City’s Childcare Entrepreneur Fund and other Office of Economic Development initiatives.  

  • Assist early childhood providers in upgrading their facilities and learning tools to meet state quality and COVID playbook standards.  

  • Provide existing and aspiring early childhood workers the resources that they need to return to work. Increase access to training, professional education, and offer professionals in the field hiring and career incentives.

4. Invest in the development of an affordable, high-quality early care system.

  • Create a “Right Start” program for Boston residents. Ensure that every child has what they need to thrive physically and emotionally, from the very beginning of life. John is proposing a new Citywide effort, wherein when a child receives her birth certificate in Boston, the City also provides them and their family with connections to affordable health care services, coordinated home visits, access to healthy and affordable food (should they need it), enrollment in a child savings account, free library cards, a free subscription to the Basics early development platform, subsidized memberships to the Boston Children’s Museum and enrollment in Universal Pre-K and the City’s proposed early childhood portal. John would like to acknowledge the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, who worked to develop this idea. 

  • Invest COVID Recovery funds to lay the foundation for a Universal Childcare (0-2 year olds) system that increases slot supply and quality and improves affordability through scaled subsidy and other family supports. 

  • Work with private sector employers to include childcare subsidies in their worker compensation packages, offer paid leave for families having children, and provide resources to support parents of young children through human resources programs.

5. Expand Boston’s Universal Pre-K system and encourage full participation.

  • Use a combination of federal COVID recovery funds and City investment to grow the Universal Pre-K system from a $15M system to a roughly $75M per year system that guarantees that all three- and four-year olds will have access to free school- and community-based classrooms that meet the City’s quality standards. 

  • Continue expanding the UPK Connector system so that families can choose the Pre-K provider settings they want as well as the BPS schools that they desire.  

  • Make additional grant funding available to early childhood providers that are not a part of the City’s Universal Pre-K system to invest in efforts to meet the UPK quality standards.  

  • Launch a public education campaign to encourage full participation in Boston’s Universal Pre-K system.

6. Increasing the economic sustainability of the early childhood field and providing livable wages

  • Use Universal Pre-K expansion to equalize compensation in early childhood.  

  • Expand successful programs like the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund that support small, women-owned businesses and help create affordable childcare spots.  

  • Make early childhood workers among the first eligible for the proposed basic income pilot.

7. Reorganize government to better support early childhood development

  • Create a city-based Department of Early Childhood and elevate the role of Boston’s Universal Pre-K Director.  

  • Creating a digital platform to monitor early childhood program supply, demand and quality. This platform will integrate the innovative biannual Child Care Survey to better understand Boston’s childcare assets, challenges and opportunities. 

  • Complementing the proposed early childhood digital platform with a portal to help families access early education programs, school and out-of-school time options and non-academic services.  

  • Continue to convene with the Superintendent and other departments including Housing, Health and Human Services, the Office for Immigrant Advancement, Policy, Workforce Development, and Economic Development) in a Children’s sub-cabinet to encourage cross-collaboration and problem-solving on behalf of the children of Boston. 

  • See Investing in Public Education for more

A MESSAGE FROM JOHN

Just as this campaign is a community effort, this policy plan has been informed by a diverse group of residents, policy makers, and community organizations who reflect Boston's ingenuity, passion, and future. In this policy you will see your voice reflected and your neighborhood priorities front and center. I am incredibly grateful for the hours, data, and guidance leant to support this effort. I welcome continued feedback and suggestions from all corners of the city, because I know that policies are most successful when led by the community.
 
Now, more than ever, I have the opportunity to bring all voices to the table to create a Boston that brings prosperity and justice for everyone.Together we can create a Boston where nobody is left behind.
 
Thank you for reading and helping to shape Boston's future, I look forward to working with you.