Governor Patrick's Administration Education Action Agenda (June 2008) called for the creation of the Massachusetts Birth to School Age Task Force to establish a statewide birth-to-school-age strategy to ensure the healthy development of children, particularly those from low-income families and indicated that this strategy should include various service agencies, link multiple funding streams, and align preschool and school-age care.

In March 2009, this Task Force began the first phase of this work focused on developing a plan to support all children pre-birth to age three, and their families/caregivers, with a focus on ensuring:

  • good health
  • strong families and communities
  • positive learning experiences
  • effective systems

The Task Force is comprised of over 50 individuals from across the state with a range of pertinent expertise that aimed to articulate the rationale and urgency for deliberate attention to the critical early years of a child's development.

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the United Ways partnered to host seven community forums across the state as a critical step to engage stakeholders in this work in order to gather feedback on the Task Force's work to date.

Before moving into the second phase of this work, which will focus on aligning systems for children/families pre-birth through school age and beyond, a report will be submitted in early 2010 which will include the work of the Task Force, including outcomes and achievable, actionable strategies and next action steps for short-term and long-term implementation.

Some of the action steps that are included in these initial recommendations have already been moving forward, such as:

  • the development of the Standards and Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers
  • joint cross-agency planning around early literacy within a birth to eight frame
  • preschool special education

Information provided by the Department of Early Education and Care.