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MA family child care providers ease shortage, seek greater state backing Featured Image
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MA family child care providers ease shortage, seek greater state backing

Advocates in Massachusetts say increasing the pay of smaller, family child care providers could help ease the shortage and provide economic benefits statewide.

The majority of providers work overtime at less than the state's $15 minimum wage, providing licensed care for up to 10 children in their homes.

Adam Jones, policy analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said providers offer a smaller portion of child care slots statewide but serve some of its most vulnerable children.

"Clearly, they're not the majority of slots," Jones acknowledged. "But a fifth is a lot and I think, as the pandemic showed us, every slot matters."

Jones pointed out pending legislation would codify child care grants into state budgets to stabilize funding and increase reimbursement rates to help provide a living wage for providers and quality care for children.

Research shows the child care crisis in Massachusetts is hurting both families and the overall economy. More than 10% of children younger than age six lived in families in which someone quit, changed, or refused a job because of problems finding care in the past few years.

Jones noted family child care centers give parents more options and offer economic mobility to the many female -- often minority -- business owners who run them.

"By providing more support, these can become businesses that thrive," Jones contended. "They definitely have the potential to be that, even if they aren't quite that right now."

Massachusetts gets high marks in health care and education but the benefits are not experienced equally.

Jones added providing greater state support to family child care providers centers racial and economic equity in early education expansion.

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