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At ‘financial risk,’ child care system needs $690M, says report

Boston Business Journal
by Gintautas Dumcius

In its new report, the nonprofit MassBudget estimated early education providers lost up to $250 million in private tuition each month of the shutdown. Now, providers may also face a 20% increase in the cost of operations due to new safety protocols and disruptions of enrollment.

“Families with options, such as keeping kids home with family or private caregivers, may choose to move away from group child care entirely, further financially destabilizing the system,” the report said.

The report noted low-income families and families of color are “more likely” to be hurt by child care center closures during the pandemic. “Accessible early education and care for young kids and their families is vital to the recovery of our economy from the Covid-19 crisis,” the report said.

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The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center decided not to prepare a revenue estimate number for this hearing, said its president, Marie-Frances Rivera, citing “all the uncertainty and variables.” In April, MassBudget said that if patterns from prior recessions hold and there is some limited growth, fiscal 2021 collections could land between $5 billion and $5.7 billion shy of the estimates budget writers agreed to in January.

“We think that there’s a budgetary crisis that’s happening and we all have to be just fully aware and eyes-open about that,” Rivera said Wednesday. “There’s danger because all of the public goods that we’re relying on to guide us through this public health economic crisis, whether it’s health care, whether it’s housing people, whether it’s educating our young people, a lot of these are in jeopardy and the needs are growing.”

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