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Massachusetts bill would establish universal child care , provide free early education and care

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Some Massachusetts legislators are looking to provide more funding for education and child care.

According to a statement, the Common Start legislation, HD.1960 (filed by Representatives Gordon & Madaro) & SD.1307 (filed by Senators Lewis & Moran), would establish a universal system of early education and child care for all Massachusetts families, over a 5-year timeline. This universal system would provide free early education and care for children from birth through age 5, as well as after- and out-of-school time for children ages 5-12, and for children with special needs through age 15.

Programs would be available in early education and child care centers, private homes, and schools.

“The bill provides a framework to increase the scope of public investment in early education and child care with an incremental roll-out over 5 years that prioritizes the lowest-income, highest-need families.”

“The Common Start legislation would dramatically increase the affordability and quality of early education and child care for all Massachusetts families. The bill’s framework uses a combination of direct-to-provider funding and ongoing family financial assistance to reduce costs to families while compensating providers for the true cost of providing quality care.”

According to the group, the legislation would create a new direct-to-provider funding allocation based on provider capacity (not attendance) that directly offsets provider’s operating costs, including higher educator pay.

Once fully implemented, families below 50% of statewide median income (50% of SMI today is $62,668 for a family of four, or $42,614 for a single parent with one child) would be able to access early education and child care options for free. Families with incomes above that threshold would pay no more than 7 percent of their total household income.

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