YWCA SEMA supports improving access to quality, affordable, and accessible early childhood programs as a means of reducing barriers to successful workplace participation by women, particularly women of color, and providing children with culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate activities that enable them to succeed in school and beyond. To this end, YWCA supports legislation, budget proposals, and public policies at the federal, state, and local levels which improve the quality, accessibility, and affordability of childcare and early education programs.
- Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Coordinator of Common Start. Common Start is a statewide coalition committed to the Campaign for Affordable and Accessible High-Quality Early Education and Care. We are a diverse set of groups including community, faith-based, labor, and business organizations, as well as early educators and parents/caregivers. 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 financial barriers faced by families seeking high-quality early education and childcare.
- Member, Southcoast Coalition for Early Childhood Education
At Common Start, we are joined by regional co-conveners, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc., The Women’s Center at Bristol Community College, First Parish Church in Taunton, and the statewide coordinator, Coalition for Social Justice. Other partners include Strategies for Children and the Women’s Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts. 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.
Childcare & COVID-19
“Here’s the stark truth: when the time comes, we will not be able to rebuild our economy if this country’s child care system has collapsed beneath the economic burden of this pandemic.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), “Our Plan for a $50 Billion Child Care Bailout,” 15 April 2020 (link)
As lawmakers debate the best path forward for keeping our economy going during this crisis, the actions we’re taking right now will determine the future of childcare in the Commonwealth and across our country. Together with organizations across the state and the country, we are advocating for $50 billion in funding for the childcare sector to address the immediate needs of this industry, including but not limited to: Emergency funding to keep child care available to frontline and essential workers; Aid to keep providers in business and all workers on payroll; Long-term investments to prepare the child care market for when Americans can get back to work.
Now is the time to recognize that high-quality, affordable childcare is a public good, critical to the success of our children, families, and economy. Legislation can address the structural changes needed in our system.
Action Steps: how you can help
COVID-19 Family Perspective Survey by Strategies for Children. Your participation will help inform the COVID-19 response and advocacy in MA. You can view the results (PDF) of the survey as of mid-April 2020 here.
Submit comments to the MA Reopening Advisory Board. Your comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration as the Advisory Board develops a reopening report. Mention child care as essential to the re-opening process.
- Write a Letter to the Editor! Letters to the editor are an incredibly powerful way to make sure our elected leaders get the message. Lawmakers are reading their local papers to get a sense of what matters to people in their community. Our friends at MomsRising have created an easy to use system for submitting your first LTE. Use their online tool to copy, paste, and edit one of their pre-drafted letters – or draft your own! Local papers are included in their tool (to submit your LTE to the Standard Times click here). Click here to get started.
Share Your Childcare/ Early Education Story. The Common Start Coalition is working to develop the details of a plan that would give Massachusetts families access to affordable, high-quality early education and child care. As we develop this plan, we are interested in identifying and collecting the stories of people affected by the lack of affordability and accessibility of childcare and early education in Massachusetts. We want to hear all sorts of stories: about your own struggles with childcare, about how it affects businesses, or about what obstacles you deal with as an educator or center administrator. Stories may be posted on websites or social media, shared with lawmakers and policymakers, or used in other public ways to demonstrate the need for affordable, high-quality early education and child care.
Join the SEMA Chapter of Common Start. Email Jordan Latham at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (508) 999-3255 to learn more.
Southeastern Massachusetts Chapter of Common Start Resources
- YWCA USA, Removing Childcare Barriers to Women’s Workplace Participation Briefing Paper (PDF)
- National Women’s Law Center, “Improving and Expanding Child Care Assistance to Stabilize Our Economy” (PDF)
- Rep. Katherine Clark, “Congress Must Act on Childcare Crisis,” Commonwealth Magazine, May 13, 2020 (link)