Massachusetts Gov. Healey pushes childcare spending under new proposal

Parents across Massachusetts, and particularly in the state’s former industrial “Gateway Cities,” would have better access to child care and early education under a plan unveiled Tuesday by Democratic Gov. Maura Healey.

The plan would guarantee that every 4-year-old in the 26 cities — which include Worcester, Springfield, New Bedford, Taunton and Chelsea — has the chance, at low or no cost, to enroll their child in a high-quality preschool program, Healey said. The program currently exists in 12 Gateway Cities. Healey hopes to expand the program to the remaining 14.

Healey’s proposal would also help an additional 4,000 low-and moderate-income families afford child care by increasing eligibility for Child Fare Financial Assistance — the state’s child care financial assistance programs to help families pay for child care and out-of-school time programs.


Healey’s plan also would boost eligibility from families currently making 50% of the state median income — or less than $49,467 annually for a family of two and $61,106 for a family of three — to add in those making up to 85% of the state median income, or $84,094 for a family of two and $103,880 for a family of three.

“Far too many parents are being held back from returning to the workforce because of the daunting cost of child care, and providers are facing the difficult decision between continuing in the profession they love or leaving for a higher-paid career,” said Healey.

She plans to outline the initiative during her 2024 State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday.

Healey also plans to announce she will continue the state’s Commonwealth Cares for Children grants, which also help pay for programs aimed at improving quality and hiring more staff to create more classrooms where families can enroll their children in child care.

Healey will also use her address to announce she also plans to sign an executive order recognizing what she said is the “essential role child care plays in driving the state’s economy and competitiveness forward.”

The governor said the executive order will bring together teams with experience in housing, child care, education, economic development, health care and human services with members of the business community to develop ways to expand access, build new child care facilities and reduce costs for families.

Healey made the announcement Tuesday during a stop in Malden, one of the state’s Gateway Cities.

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