The Baker-Polito Administration, in collaboration with the Legislature, today announced a two percent rate increase for center-based early education programs and family child care system administrators that provide care for low-income families, worth a total of $8 million.\n\nThe new 2 percent rate increase is in addition to the 6 percent rate hike that all state-subsidized early education and care programs received earlier this year \u2013 worth $28.6 million \u2013 which was the largest rate hike in more than a decade.\n\nThe Board of Early Education and Care voted yesterday afternoon to approve the additional 2 percent rate increase, retroactive to July 1, 2017, to the daily reimbursement amount for center-based child care programs and for family child care systems administration. The funding for the additional 2 percent rate increase was made possible through an increase in the fiscal year 2018 state budget. \n\n\u201cOur early educators are responsible for teaching our youngest learners to create a pathway to success for children across the state, and our administration is proud to have worked with the Legislature to secure this historic rate increase,\u201d Governor Baker said. \u201cThis is a significant investment in rate increases that will help improve the quality of early education and care programs for thousands of families in every zip code.\u201d \n\nThe rate increase will support early educator salaries and benefits at early education and care programs accepting children funded by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), in order to improve hiring and retention issues faced by programs that serve families receiving state subsidies, and also will support professional development of educators.\n\n\u201cIt is essential that we support those who educate our youngest and most vulnerable residents,\u201d said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. \u201cThe work of these educators touches the lives of thousands of children, impacts economic realities for families across the Commonwealth, and helps spur young individuals towards brighter futures. I have been fortunate to meet with EEC providers across the state and have found them to be insightful, passionate and dedicated professionals who deserve a fair wage. This additional rate increase builds on the House\u2019s commitment to EEC, including the work of our Business Advisory Group, and will ensure widespread access to high quality programming for children and families.\u201d\n\n\u201cEarly education is incredibly important,\u201d Acting Senate President Harriette L. Chandler said. \u201cInvesting in education at the earliest stages is critical for developing intelligent and curious young learners. With this extra funding, we are supporting children and families who need early education the most. I am very happy that the Legislature and the Administration were able to partner on this initiative.\u201d\n\n\u201cWe\u2019re happy to build on the historic investment in our early education workforce, which will help provide meaningful quality improvements, ensure programs can pay good teachers more, and build on other initiatives and policy reforms,\u201d Education Secretary James Peyser said. \n\nThe increase also supports progress toward EEC\u2019s goal to have the subsidized rate in all regions of the state meet at least 75 percent of the local private market rate for the same type of care. In fiscal year 2017, the state invested $9.3 million to provide further rate hikes to some infant and toddler care providers to ensure they are paid the median private reimbursement rate in the region. In total, including today\u2019s increase, early education and care providers serving children subsidized by EEC will be paid over $45 million more than last year.\n\n\u201cThere are few, if any, public trusts as important and beneficial to society as the early education and care of our children,\u201d Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber said. \u201cThis year\u2019s historic rate increases recognize the invaluable contribution that early educators make to our communities and reflect the Commonwealth\u2019s commitment to making early education and care professionals the centerpiece of a strong system that supports all families.\u201d\n\n\u201cThis additional rate increase will allow our programs continue to strengthen their capacity to build and retain a highly qualified workforce that will help children learn, grow and thrive,\u201d said Board of Early Education and Care Chair Nonie Lesaux. \u201cSupporting the work of our early educators and their valuable contribution to children\u2019s healthy development is vital to the future prosperity of our Commonwealth.\u201d\n\nEEC is also committed to ensuring continued access to the same number of child care vouchers during fiscal year 2018. Currently, EEC subsidizes the enrollment of approximately 55,000 children each day in high-quality early education and care programs across the state. EEC\u2019s subsidies allow families who are low-income or in-need of assistance to access high-quality care at minimal or no-cost to them.