Governor Healey Applauds Increased Funding for Early Education at Westfield Childcare Center

Governor Healey Applauds Increased Funding for Early Education at Westfield Childcare Center | Future Education Magazine



WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Governor Healey visited western Massachusetts on Thursday to highlight the impact of enhanced funding on childcare affordability. One of her key stops was the Roots Learning Center in Westfield, where she discussed the implementation of a $65 million investment aimed at making childcare more accessible for families.

Joined by Massachusetts Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler and Early Education and Care Commissioner Amy Kershaw, Governor Healey met with childcare providers to celebrate the positive outcomes of the new initiative, which supports higher wages for childcare workers and reduces costs for families.

“We’re supporting significant grants for childcare providers, enabling the opening of more childcare facilities with expanded staff. This translates to increased availability for children, ensuring access to high-quality Pre-K education,” stated Governor Healey.

Several prominent childcare providers, including Square One, The Kid’s Place, and Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield, were present at the event. Kellie Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield, expressed gratitude for the positive impact of the new funding.

Enhanced Funding Transforms Childcare Landscape: Higher Salaries, Affordable Rates, and Free Meals

“The increased funding has allowed us to raise salaries, support staff education, and make childcare more affordable for families. Additionally, it enables us to provide free meals for children, including breakfast, lunch, and supper,” Brown remarked.

The significant benefits of the funding are already apparent. Staff salaries have seen an increase of $1 to $2 per hour, while parent fees have been reduced from $12 to $15 per week to just $2 to $3 per week. In some cases, families are now paying only cents for childcare services.

Furthermore, the new rates for center-based programs ensure that providers receive at least 81 percent of the cost of care. Daily rates for center-based providers in western Massachusetts are set to increase by 34 percent for infants, 14 percent for toddlers, and 13 percent for preschoolers compared to the fiscal year 2023.

Leaders Stress Post-Pandemic Importance of Enhanced Childcare Affordability

Kellie Brown emphasized the importance of these improvements, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted early childhood education.

“Children’s socialization skills and education suffered during the pandemic. With kids now entering kindergarten universally, all children must receive consistent learning experiences, regardless of their childcare provider,” Brown explained.

Governor Healey reiterated the government’s commitment to enhancing affordability for families across the state.

“Our priority is to ensure the successful implementation of these changes, especially with expanded eligibility criteria. More families will now qualify for assistance, and our focus is on efficiently processing applications and accommodating children in childcare facilities,” Governor Healey affirmed.

While some providers have already experienced the benefits of the increased funding, all revised rates are expected to be in effect by the end of the month, furthering the state’s efforts to support early childhood education and family welfare.

Also Read: Governor Healey Defends Former Harvard President Claudine Gay, Condemns GOP Rep. Stefanik’s Actions

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