Kids Count Data Center

MassBudget is home to KIDS COUNT in Massachusetts, a national and state-by-state effort funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track and improve the well-being of children across the United States. With these data, state organizations provide policy analysis based on evidence and shine a spotlight on pressing issues in order improve programs and policies for children and families.


SUMMARY – The Cost of Universal, Affordable, High-Quality Early Care & Education Across Massachusetts

Massachusetts families depend on early care & education (ECE) to promote healthy child development and so parents can go to work knowing their children are safe. However, our ECE sector faces many systemic challenges. Care is often unaffordable and teachers are chronically underpaid. These concerns have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. High-quality ECE—including strong curriculum and supportive teaching in classrooms, professional development, small class sizes, well-compensated teachers, and full-time schedules—has been widely linked to positive benefits for kids that can carry forward into elementary school and beyond. This includes exemplary programs in Massachusetts. Existing public programs, such as Head ...
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Relief Is on the Way: Part II—On and Off

A lot of money has already come to Massachusetts from federal COVID relief legislation, and more is on the way. Will policymakers decide to spend this money where it is most needed? Will this be an opportunity to invest in the Black, brown, and low-income communities hardest hit and still affected by the pandemic? Who will have a say in that? Will those same people in the communities hardest hit have a voice? The state has already received more than $70 billion from five federal COVID relief bills. Over $20 billion more is now coming thanks to a sixth bill, ...
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Care for Our Commonwealth: The Cost of Universal, Affordable, High-Quality Early Care & Education Across Massachusetts

Early Care and Education is Critical for Families Across the Commonwealth, while adults work to provide for their families, they depend on reliable and nurturing learning environments for their children. For those parents with young children under 5, being able to work often depends on the early care and education (ECE) system and the thousands of ECE providers across our state. To meet their vital need for ECE services, many families today have to navigate an often unreliable, disconnected, and costly system of care. For high-level details on the ECE system in Massachusetts, see the box below and Appendix I.1 Despite ...
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Relief Is on the Way: Part I—State and Local Funding from the American Rescue Plan

May 24th, 2021 Update: Since the initial publication of this brief, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has provided updated funding totals. The passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the availability of significant new federal revenue gives Massachusetts a once-in-a-generation opportunity. With thoughtful choices, these dollars can be the sturdy building blocks for an antiracist state budget committed to equity for every resident in every community in Massachusetts. Using this federal revenue as a foundation, Massachusetts policymakers can build supports so our communities emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and recession healthier, stronger, and thriving. The $1.9 trillion ARP ...
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Bringing in the Relief: The Census Counts for Equity (updated)

As far as most of us are concerned, the 2020 Census has been over for months. There have been far more important concerns over this past year to occupy our thoughts: a devastating pandemic that has hit our communities of color particularly hard1; a recession2 and widespread unemployment upending the lives of hundres of thousand of households in the the Commonwealth;3 a reckoning on racial injustice;4 and the storming of our nation’s Capitol by a violent mob.5 Yet there is a connection between these events and the 2020 Census. Because the Census is ultimately about equity, power, and money. Five ...
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Where’s the Relief? The Distribution of Federal Funding in Massachusetts

As difficult as this past year has been, it would have been worse without the more than $70 billion in federal relief to Massachusetts so far from just the first five of the COVID-19 federal relief bills. About $39 billion in federal dollars goes directly to individuals and businesses, through stimulus checks and programs like the Paycheck Protection Program. About $3 billion goes to regional transportation authorities and Head Start providers. And about $29 billion is expected for programs operated through the state’s executive agencies. But how does this money get distributed? Since March 2020, Congress has passed six major ...
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How will the state government pave our way to an equitable recovery? What to watch this FY 2022 budget season.

1. How will the state generate enough revenue to meet everyone’s needs? Before state lawmakers even begin creating a budget, they need to determine how much money the state will likely collect for that fiscal year. For FY 2022, state leaders now estimate Massachusetts will bring in $30.12 billion in tax revenue, which is a 3.5 percent increase from the amount the Governor now projects will be collected in FY 2021 — a far more optimistic outlook than many experts had adopted only a few months ago. Nevertheless, both the recently revised FY 2021 estimate of $29.09 billion and the ...
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The Pandemic Persists: Pain Points for the Children of Massachusetts

Policymakers have the responsibility and an opportunity to make smart and fair policy choices that will support children and families. This is particularly true now amid the twin health and economic emergencies that expose and make worse long-standing racial and economic inequities. COVID-19 and the economic downturn have hit hard, particularly in households with children and in communities already disadvantaged by lack of access to stable employment, housing, and economic security: The economic downturn has had a particularly deep impact on women, on families with children. and on Black and Latinx households.[1] More than half of Massachusetts households with children ...
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Making sense of the Governor’s revised FY 2021 budget proposal

This was a presentation to a coalition of policy advocates, social service providers, and academics, to give members an overview of the Baker Administration’s revised FY 2021 budget and what it means for the programs they care about. View the full presentation here.
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Bruised Budgets: A Higher Education Funding History Lesson For An Antiracist Future

A well-funded public higher education system has the power to open up countless opportunities for low-income students and families of all races and backgrounds. For many students and families of color, higher education is a necessary element in a journey toward upward economic mobility and stability. Those with completed post-secondary education are more likely to be healthier [1], earn twice as much as those with a high school diploma[2], and people with even some college education are less likely to be fired and more likely to be hired back during and after economic downturns.[3] Because of this, families place priority on their ...
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Bringing in the Relief Part II: The Census Counts for Equity

More than $3.3 billion in CARES Act funding comes to our Massachusetts communities based on population estimates from the census. Learn how the Commonwealth can get its fair share of power and money through a complete, accurate 2020 Census count in our latest report.
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Road to Recovery: How to Safely Reopen Early Education in Massachusetts

As the Commonwealth's early education and care sector reopens, many providers are at risk of closing permanently unless there is a significant new source of funding. Learn more about COVID-19's impact on early education in our latest report, and what it will take to safely reopen.
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Mass. Raised Revenue in Last Three Recessions, Reducing Cuts

Cutting budgets and failing to invest in communities hardest hit by the pandemic perpetuates the deep racial inequities built into the current system. Learn more about how the Commonwealth has solved the challenges of past economic recessions in our latest report.
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Tens of thousands of undocumented, essential workers at risk of lost jobs, lost pay, exposure to COVID-19

Immigrants without status form the backbone of Massachusetts — producing our food, tending to our loved ones, and stocking our supermarkets. But the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread business closures mean many of these undocumented workers have found themselves at risk of losing their jobs, losing income, or being exposed to the virus.
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Unemployment Assistance in a Time of COVID-19

The Commonwealth has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences by implementing several bold new federal unemployment policies that are also supported with federal funds. These have provided crucial protection to many workers and the economy, though undocumented workers have been excluded. Since late April, the greatest volume of unemployment claims have been for a new program for workers traditionally ineligible for unemployment insurance. Without new federal legislation, this program will expire at the end of the year. The federally-funded $600 enhancement to weekly benefits will expire at the end of July. The loss of these benefits would ...
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