Child Care

Boston Gives Some Child Care Providers $3,260 Grants

"Empowering early childhood and childcare providers is critical to ensuring an equitable recovery for Boston's young children and working families," Mayor Michelle Wu said

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Child care providers have experienced major financial struggles during the pandemic, but ones in Boston will be getting thousands of dollars in grant money from the city to help.

The more than 450 registered family child care providers in Boston will each get $3,260 to spend on things like hiring or learning programs, the city announced Tuesday.

The funding, Wu said in a statement, will "immediately support our early childcare providers in their critical work to set up all of our children and families for success."

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Boston has lost 89 family child care providers, while gaining just 59 new ones, the city said. The grants are meant to help providers recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic and grow their businesses, which would then give more local families access to high-quality early education.

The funding, which comes from federal aid, can go toward costs like supporting new learning activities and hiring or retention bonuses.

During the pandemic, many child care centers across Massachusetts suffered from the labor shortage, as faculty members left to take care of their health and children.

Nicole Plummer, director of Nurtury in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, said last year that the center had nine open positions in 2021, and that she was forced to ask teachers to work longer days and have administrators cover their breaks.

"We are here to support the families, but right now, it is very hard," Plummer said.

A shortage of child care workers is forcing some facilities to close.

Massachusetts has among the highest child care costs in the country, the city noted, with center-based infant care averaging $20,913 each year. Family child care centers often cost less, but are usually much smaller organizations.

"Supporting family child care providers in the City of Boston is essential to our economic recovery," said Alexandra Valdez, executive director of the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement, in a statement. "These funds will empower a profession that is largely represented by women, specifically women of color, and our immigrant community."

Find information on licensed child care throughout Massachusetts here.

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