Dear Chair Lewis, Chair Garlick, and members of the Joint Committee on Education,
We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to support H.456 An Act to expand access to family, friend, and neighbor-provided childcare, introduced by Representative Marjorie Decker and the Care That Works coalition. This legislation is urgently needed for low-income families across Massachusetts that do not have access to formal child care programs or have child care needs that formal programs cannot currently accommodate–parents with nonstandard schedules, with specific language and cultural needs, with children with special needs, and in child care deserts or rural communities. By passing this bill to establish a minimum wage floor for family, friend, and neighbor child care and a more flexible voucher, we can give low-income parents access to more and better options for child care today.
We fully support the important work underway to expand subsidy eligibility for families and to increase the financial sustainability of formal child care programs–the intention of H.456 is to promote family, friend, and neighbor child care as an essential piece of our child care ecosystem that has been unjustly undervalued and under-resourced throughout history and is still today in danger of being left out. Too few people know that family, friend, and neighbor providers can register to accept voucher payments, and even fewer know that those providers that do register are paid only $9 to $23 per child per day. Massachusetts was one of the first states in the nation to reach a $15 state minimum wage–family, friend, and neighbor child care providers deserve the same standard.
For our most-excluded parents, children, and caregivers, and for a more equitable child care future for Massachusetts, please support H.456 An Act to expand access to family, friend, and neighbor-provided childcare.