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Massachusetts Makes Getting Childcare Help Easier, Probably For Scary Reasons
It's like they want us to be Denmark or something!
As federal COVID aid for daycare ran out at the end of September, Massachusetts is taking steps to make it easier for parents to pay for daycare services, especially for low-income families, folks facing homelessness, and people with disabilities. The administration of Gov. Maura Healy (D) announced Monday that the Department of Early Education and Care will streamline the application process to get parents the aid they need, the Boston Globe reports.
In a statement, Healey said the changes will “will help break down barriers for our low-income families and early education programs, making government services more user friendly and equitable.”
The state offers financial assistance for childcare to families making 50 percent or less of the state median income (SMI), or 85 percent of the SMI for children with disabilities or special needs.
The Globe notes that Eastern Massachusetts has among the highest childcare costs in the US,
with families in Middlesex and Norfolk counties paying more than $26,000 a year for infant center-based child care, or about 20 percent of median family budgets, according to data released by the US Department of Labor this year. They trailed only Arlington County in Virginia and San Francisco County in California, where the costs are even higher.
With the funding from the American Rescue Plan gone, the Globe notes that an “analysis by the Century Foundation predicted that the end of these funds could result in more than 56,000 Massachusetts children losing access to care.”
You know, kids, this is one of those basic civilized nation things that we could have if we elected a lot more Democrats to Congress.
Still, the new measures should help families more easily get aid they qualify for, with less red tape:
Under the new regulations, communication with families will be simplified through email and texting campaigns that reach parents directly and help them through the application process, officials said, while duplicative paperwork and reporting requirements are being eliminated.
Healey’s office also said the state will waive fees for homeless families and ease reporting requirements for folks with disabilities or those being treated for substance use.
Early Education and Care Commissioner Amy Kershaw told public station WBUR that the redesign of the application and renewal process had taken about a year and a half, and was aimed at reducing the paperwork burden on families. In the past, WBUR explains, families
used to have to coordinate in-person meetings during the work day, bring physical paperwork with them and then watch the mail for communication that they've been approved for the program. […]
"We used to hear [from parents] continually, 'How many more times do I have to list my child's name, their birth date, their social security number,' " said Amy O'Leary, the executive director of Strategies for Children, an early education advocacy group.
It may not sound like a lot at first, but when you consider how red states use bureaucratic confusion and hurdles to make it harder for people to access services they qualify for, just making the process simpler is going to mean more people accessing childcare help, more parents who’ll be able to hold jobs, and more kids getting quality early education that’ll help them do better in school.
Oh, yes, and as some lunatic on Xitter said, channeling a Moral Majority newsletter from 1982, that all translates to “here’s a government day care to stash your kids so we can propagandize them early,” no doubt turning them into mindless proponents of UN one-world government and Agenda 21. But that’s really just a side benefit.
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