On Tuesday January 21st, the YWCA kicked off the Southeastern MA regional chapter of the Campaign for Affordable and Accessible High-Quality Early Education and Care! This campaign in support of “H.470/S.288 An Act Relative to Affordable and Accessible High Quality Early Education and Care” is lifting up the voices of families, early educators, and multiple stakeholders to promote a childcare systems reform agenda. The intent is to advance structural reforms to our state’s childcare system that increases investment in the early educator workforce, infuse additional resources into programs that promote excellence in delivery of childcare and early education, and to solve for financial barriers faced by families seeking high-quality early education and childcare.

The YWCA is thrilled to serve as this campaign’s Southeastern MA Regional Coordinator. We are joined by the regional co-conveners, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc., The Women’s Center at Bristol Community College, First Parish Church in Taunton, and Coalition for Social Justice. Together we are working together to develop the details of a plan that would give Massachusetts families access to affordable, high-quality early education and childcare. We are a diverse set of groups including community, faith-based, labor, and business organizations, as well as early educators and parents/caregivers. The lively discussion among the attendees identified the issues of nontraditional hours (nights, weekends, early am); affordability, geographic challenges, also known as childcare deserts; defining high quality; and the issues of compensation, retaining and training early educators as major concerns.

Together with our regional co-conveners, the YWCA is committed to making the issue of early education and care a top priority in our community. One SouthCoast Chamber continues to emphasize early childhood education’s return on investment and economic benefits. This campaign brings together organizations throughout the Southcoast to make early childhood education a major advocacy for families, children, educators, and businesses.

The campaign meets monthly and alternatives at sites in New Bedford, Fall River, and Taunton. We welcome individuals and organizations to join us, or to host a focus group in your own community among family, friends, or colleagues. Please message Jordan at jlatham@ywcasema.org if you’d like to learn more about ways you can participate in this campaign!