On July 7th, Senator Sal DiDomenico joined with Cecilia Rouse, President Joe Biden’s Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, at a local childcare center in his district to promote the American Families Plan. Senator DiDomenico and Chair Rouse, alongside Massachusetts Congresswomen Katherine Clark, Ayanna Pressley, and Lori Trahan, toured Nurtury Early Education in Cambridge, New England’s first early education and care agency, in an effort to spotlight the nation’s “care infrastructure” and its fragility– a fact which has been brought into sharper focus during the pandemic.
Like many early education providers across the nation, Nurtury was hit hard by the pandemic and has remained under-staffed and unable to meet its licensed capacity despite high demand. This has largely been due to the fact that many childcare workers were unable to find care for their own children during the Covid-19 crisis. Consequently, a lack of available childcare services and providers prevented many parents from being able to get back to work.
“Education, and more specifically early education, has been a top priority of mine since I was first elected back in 2011,” said DiDomenico following the tour. “Therefore, it was sadly no surprise to hear that childcare centers like Nurtury are unable to fill classrooms, since they cannot find staff who either can afford to work in the childcare industry or can find care for their own kids. This pandemic has hit our childcare industry hard but has also revealed how critical this industry is to our economy. I do hope that this crisis has showed all Americans just how important it is that we invest in early education and care at both the state and federal levels.”
Senator DiDomenico’s visit was in support of an infusion of public funds for early childcare and education services through President Biden’s $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. The plan would create universal pre-Kindergarten for all children ages three and four and help to make the childcare industry more affordable for all families. The provision would also establish rules preventing childcare costs for low and middle-income families from exceeding more than seven percent of their income. Additionally, the plan would create a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, as well as extend the Child Tax Credit increases that were included in the national COVID-recovery package signed into law by the president in March.
After the tour, Senator DiDomenico, accompanied by Chair Rouse and all three Congresswomen in attendance, participated in a roundtable with members and staff of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA). The discussion centered on the experiences of Black entrepreneurs and small business owners who shared stories of their struggles and challenges throughout the pandemic. The conversation illustrated the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on people of color and the universal challenges for families to access affordable, high-quality childcare.
“This roundtable was a fantastic learning opportunity, and for everyone at the federal, state and local levels to discuss the work that lies ahead to solve this childcare crisis. I am grateful to everyone who shared their expertise and experiences, and of course to our incredible Congresswomen for their dedication to passing the American Families Plan. Without question, this tour will help to inform the work that I do around early education and childcare in the Massachusetts Legislature, which I hope will serve as a complement to the passage of American Families Plan.”