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Childcare is essential to our workforce and economy

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By Charles Clifford, President & CEO, Old Colony YMCA


It is no secret the early education and out of school time system has taken much longer to recover from the pandemic than other sectors.  In truth, this field was in crisis before the pandemic. Labor shortages, high costs, and a lack of resources are nothing new to the early education and out of school time system.

That is why the Commonwealth Cares for Children (or C3) stabilization funding from the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) continues to be essential by providing the entire field with more than $781 million to sustain and improve programming for families across the state.

This funding has helped keep YMCA early education and after school programs open during the last few years. The 28 YMCAs across Massachusetts, and the children and families they serve every day, have benefited from $44.5 million dollars in collective C3 funding. Without this funding, YMCAs would not be able to open classrooms, pay competitive salaries, or serve thousands of income-eligible children. Ultimately, thousands of youth would go without YMCA licensed care.

Old Colony YMCA in Brockton received more than $6 million in C3 funding last year. The funds allowed the organization to retain our incredible workforce, and give them access to training and professional development opportunities that improved program quality immensely.

Without this funding, 712 early education providers would close according to data collected by EEC. This means that 15,000 children would be without care, and there would be thousands of parents scrambling for care or exiting the workforce. During this time of labor shortage, the Commonwealth can ill afford such a crisis.

That is why we thank Governor Healey and EEC Commissioner Kershaw for fully funding C3 stabilization in the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget. We urge the legislature to follow Governor Healey’s lead and fully support C3 stabilization funding for the next year.

Because of this funding, Old Colony YMCA was able to open up spaces for children to learn, develop, and heal from the pandemic. The overall benefit to the community cannot be understated.

We also urge the legislature and administration to continue conversations with the field about how to make this funding a permanent operational fund. This funding has proven to be essential in a field that educates and cares for our youngest citizens and allows their parents to return to the workforce.