- Department of Transitional Assistance
- Department of Early Education and Care
- Executive Office of Elder Affairs
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Launches New Initiative To Help Grandparents Caring For Grandchildren With Access To Early Education
Brooke Karanovich, Director of Communications, Department of Transitional Assistance
Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a new initiative that will improve access to high-quality early learning opportunities for low-income children being raised by relative caregivers, like a grandparent, during a meeting for the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. The new initiative, launched jointly by the Department of Transitional Assistance and Department of Early Education and Care, will help approximately 3,800 caregivers access subsidized child care if they are working.
“Since 2015, DTA has seen a steady increase in the number of grandparents and other relatives raising young children when their parents are unable to do so, with some of the increase stemming from the opioid epidemic,” said Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Jeff McCue. “The Administration has made numerous investments to date to help individuals get into treatment, and this policy change takes it a step further to support family members who’ve stepped in to provide critical support to their loved ones. This is one small thing we can do that will make large impact on people participating in the workforce and caring for their families.”
Through the partnership, DTA can now authorize child care for relative caregivers so the child can attend a high-quality early learning program through funding from EEC. Until now, DTA was only able to provide economic assistance for this population and interested families may have been placed on a waiting list for child care financial assistance. Early learning programs support young children’s healthy development and also serve as an employment support for families by providing child care when they are working.
“Our research tells us that high-quality early learning opportunities can have a significant positive impact on the participating children as well as their families, especially those who are at-risk or high-need,” said Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber. “The families benefit economically by being able to maintain employment while acting as a kinship caregiver, and the children benefit from a stable environment that supports their healthy social-emotional and educational development over the long term.”
The Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Children was created in July 2008 to serve as a resource to the Commonwealth on issues affecting grandparents raising grandchildren, and relatives, other than parents, raising kin. It is estimated that over 10,400 children in Massachusetts living without their biological parent are being raised by their grandparents.
“For the past ten years, the Commission has worked tirelessly to assist kinship caregivers by informing government of their concerns and issues. One of the most pressing needs of kinship caregivers, the majority of whom are in the workforce, is increased access to affordable child care,” said John Lepper, former State Representative and founder of the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. “The Commission is exceedingly grateful that DTA and EEC have made this policy change to help meet this need."
“This is a perfect example of this Administration taking concrete steps to improve the lives and economic security of older adults,” said Executive Office of Elder Affairs Acting-Secretary Robin Lipson. “By working across state agencies, we are better able to provide assistance to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. This action will help support the continued contributions older adults make to their families, their employers, their communities and the Commonwealth, exemplifying what being an age-friendly state looks like. We applaud our sister state agencies for their commitment to ensuring that Massachusetts remains a great place to grow up and grow old together.”