BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today, in collaboration with the Legislature, announced a Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 rate increase for early education programs and systems that provide care for low-income families, worth a total of $20 million. With this increase, state-subsidized early education and care providers have received rate increases worth nearly $100 million during the past four years.
The Board of Early Education and Care voted this afternoon to approve a 4.58 percent increase that will support teacher salaries, benefits, and professional development at center-based early education and care programs and family child care systems that enroll children funded by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), in order to improve educator hiring and retention.
The new rate increase is on top of the 8 percent increase for state-subsidized early education and care providers in FY 2018, which was the largest rate hike in more than a decade. The funding for the 4.58 percent increase to the daily reimbursement rate was made possible through an appropriation in the fiscal year 2019 state budget. The daily reimbursement rate for state-subsidized center-based child care programs and family child care system administrators will increase for all age groups and regions of the state, and will be retroactive to July 1, 2018.
“We are extremely proud of our work with the Legislatures over the past few years to provide historic rate increases to early education providers that will benefit thousands of young children,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The investments we’ve worked together to provide will enhance learning environments and help early education and care programs improve their quality through professional development and retention efforts.”
“We are pleased to have worked with our colleagues in the Legislature to provide this significant rate increase, so that our early education and care providers will be able to ensure they can retain highly-qualified teachers that help our youngest learners grow and be ready for school,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
“Early education and care is a priority for the House, and this year we spearheaded another $20 million increase to support our dedicated early education workforce, as well as initiatives to increase quality programs and expand support for early childhood mental health efforts,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “This investment will help to build stronger families, support safe and nurturing environments for young children and prepare them for success in the classroom and beyond.”
“One of the most important investments we can make as a Commonwealth is in our youngest children and their caregivers. Early educators and child care providers do the important work of setting our youngest children up for resiliency and success, and we must support them in doing so,” Senate President Karen Spilka said. “The Senate has long prioritized investing in quality education for everyone, from birth through adulthood, and so I am pleased to see these increases come through.”
“This additional increase builds on the historic investment in our early educators, which will help stabilize the workforce, ensure programs can pay good teachers more, and build on other quality initiatives,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.
“This rate increase will enhance the capacity of programs that care for some of the highest needs children in the Commonwealth by providing quality environments and settings that foster children’s learning and healthy development,” said Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber.
The rate increase passed today supports progress toward EEC’s goal to have the subsidized rate in all regions of the state be comparable to at least 75 percent of the local private market rate for the same type of care. EEC is also committed to ensuring continued access to child care subsidies during FY 2019. Currently, EEC subsidizes the enrollment of approximately 55,000 children each day in high-quality early education and care programs across the state. EEC’s subsidies allow families who are low-income or in-need of assistance to access high-quality care at minimal or no-cost to them.