Brief | May 13, 2021

Massachusetts’ Working Families Need Early Care and Education

Policymakers must support early learning to benefit children and families, public safety, and national security

Nearly three-fourths of the parents of children under age 6 in Massachusetts work outside the home. These parents need early care and education (ECE) so they can go to work, remain productive, and build successful careers to support their families. Their children depend on nurturing, stimulating environments, at home and in ECE, during these critical years of brain development.

Beyond these benefits for individual children and families, however, quality ECE has implications for public safety and national security. Research has shown that quality ECE can reduce the risk of child behavior problems and later criminal behavior. ECE programs that emphasize healthy eating and physical activity can help reduce children’s risk of obesity, one of the major medical disqualifiers for military service.

If we want today’s youth to be successful, we need to invest where it matters: in quality programs during their earliest years.

Massachusetts policymakers must sustain the historic investments made in early care and education in the FY21 state budget with at least level funding in FY22. This includes $5 million for local preschool collaborations, as well as subsidy funding and rate increases benefitting children statewide, birth through school-age. To build back stronger, and bring about the systemic change that is needed in early education and care, policymakers must pass the Common Start bill for affordable, accessible, high-quality early education and care. Support for high-quality early care and education is an investment in the future strength of our state and our nation.