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Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $46 million in funding awards to multiple initiatives that support the quality and availability of early education and care programs serving young children across the Commonwealth.
"As part of our commitment to early education, we are proud to announce more than $46 million to help strengthen early education services and programs for young children and their families in cities and towns across Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. "Today's grants, coupled with an already announced 6% rate increase for early education providers, ensure programs will continue to improve for their students and retain quality staff.”
"Our administration is pleased to issue these awards that equip early education and care programs and teachers with the resources they need to provide high-quality care and enrichment for their students,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said. "The $46 million in funding will go a long way in providing quality early education and care for families in every corner of the Commonwealth."
"The services and supports that these initiatives provide to the early education and care field are critical to helping them positively impact the lives of Massachusetts' youngest learners,” said Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber. "Increasing the capacity of our early childhood workforce to foster children's learning and healthy development strengthens families and our communities.
"Our underlying theme in early education is focused on quality, and in particular, on the workforce as the lever by which we are going to improve outcomes for children,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. "That's why earlier this year, the Baker-Polito Administration made an unprecedented investment, providing a 6 percent rate increase for all early education programs that provide care for low-income families. These additional grants to programs announced today will further the mission of increasing quality for early education and care.”
In April, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a 6 percent rate increase, worth more than $28 million, for all early education and care programs that provide care for low-income families. It represents the largest rate hike for subsidized early education and care programs in 10 years.
The ten initiatives announced today are funded through a state budget appropriation to the Department of Early Education and Care for fiscal year 2018. The total funding and number of awards for each initiative, are as follows:
Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Networks ($13.3M): A total of 89 grants were awarded to local Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) networks to provide beneficial early learning opportunities for young children accompanied by their parents or family in informal community-based settings, and programming for parents and families that increases their capacity to support their children's learning and development. In 2016, the CFCE networks served more than 100,000 families across the Commonwealth.
Head Start State Supplement ($9.1M): A total of 31 grants were awarded to Head Start lead agencies to provide additional funding for enrollment of children in local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, staff salaries, and educator professional development.
Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies ($6.3M): A total of seven contracts were awarded to regional Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) to provide information and resources to families seeking referrals to high-quality early education and care programs and services, to assist families with applying for and receiving state-funded child care financial assistance, and to manage subsidized enrollment reimbursement payments to programs.
Inclusive Preschool Learning Environments ($6.27M): A total of 79 grants were awarded to EEC-licensed early education programs and public schools to support the development and early learning of children with and without disabilities in high-quality, inclusive preschool classroom settings. The grants will support an estimated 5,000 children during the 2017-2018 school year.
Universal PreKindergarten Classroom Quality ($5.7M): A total of 107 grants were awarded to support Pre-Kindergarten classroom enhancements such as new curriculum and materials, hiring additional staff to reduce class size, and increased compensation for educators. The grant awards and funds will support 138 preschool programs: 91 in center-based programs, 38 in family child care homes, and nine in public schools.
Educator and Provider Supports ($3.3M): A total of five grants were awarded to provide regionally-based professional development opportunities for early educators, technical assistance to aide in attainment of degrees and/or qualifications, program accreditation, and upward movement on the state's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).
Early Childhood Mental Health ($1.25M): A total of six grants were awarded to provide regional consultation service networks that support the healthy social and emotional development of young children in early education and care programs. The grantees will reach an estimated 1,000 licensed early education and care programs for young children, and coordinate services including classroom observations of children; assessments of children's physical environments; and training to help educators identify behavior risks and prevent or reduce social-emotional issues.
Screening and Assessment ($400,000): This grant will provide professional development to early educators across the state on implementing child screening and formative assessment and using assessment results to inform and improve teaching practices.
Program Quality Measurement Tools ($250,000): One grant was awarded to support early educators and programs across the state in using research-based tools to measure classroom quality in early education and care settings and to help improve the quality of early education programs.
Parent Child Home Program - Family Child Care Quality Enhancement ($250,000): One grant was awarded to implement the national Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) in licensed Family Child Care homes, in order to support children's early literacy and school readiness, and to help enhance the quality of Family Child Care programs through the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).
The directory of Coordinated Family and Community Engagement networks, Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, Head Start programs, and Early Childhood Mental Health agencies are available online at: http://www.mass.gov/edu/birth-grade-12/early-education-and-care/find-early-education-and-care-programs/
The directory of Educator and Provider Support networks is online at: http://www.mass.gov/edu/birth-grade-12/early-education-and-care/workforce-and-professional-development/educator-and-provider-support-eps-grant.html
More information about the Program Quality Measurement Tools grant program is available at: http://www.cdedu.us/QRIS/.
More information about the Assessment grant program is available at: http://www.collaborative.org/programs/early-childhood/assessment-responsive-teaching