Commits to Common Start legislation and creating a system of universal, high-quality & affordable early education for all MA families. Plan highlights economic equity for diverse & largely female childcare workforce.
For Immediate Release:
August 4, 2021
East Boston – Former state senator, clean energy business leader, and current gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing today released the third part of his campaign’s policy agenda, focused on childcare. Downing released the plan on BEN TV, his campaign’s digital and communications organizing platform.
Anchored to the transformative Common Start legislation, the Downing Childcare Plan will establish a system of universal affordable, high-quality, early education and childcare for every infant through pre-kindergartener in Massachusetts. Specifically, it will:
- Reform MA’s childcare funding model to adequately cover provider costs.
- Enact a 7% household income cap on childcare costs, saving a typical Massachusetts family with an infant $14,000 on childcare costs.
- Establish and prioritize free access to childcare services for low-income and working-class families.
- Overhaul compensation structure so childcare workers receive just and fair wages.
- Create a MA Childcare Coordinating Council to serve as a key access point for core resources and coordinate non-childcare services for all children and their families.
“Access to childcare is one of the defining economic justice issues of our time,” said Downing. “Like every parent in this state, Micaelah and I live this every day. And with all of the support and resources we have, we still barely make it work. Massachusetts has the highest childcare costs in the country—making it unaffordable for a staggering 95% of Massachusetts families. And if the average $21,000 annual cost wasn’t enough, half of Massachusetts residents before the COVID pandemic lived in communities where there were three kids for every one childcare seat.”
He continued: “The current system also fails to support the early education and childcare workforce. Childcare workers’ families are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as other workers’ families. When 98% of the Massachusetts childcare workforce is women and more diverse than the Massachusetts population, you simply cannot talk about remedying gender pay and racial wealth gaps without tackling this issue head on.”
Today’s plan follows the successful launch of the Downing Climate Plan and the Downing Anti-Poverty Plan, which committed to similarly aggressive benchmarks to move Massachusetts towards a fairer, stronger future. In the months ahead, Downing will continue to offer the most ambitious and urgent policy agenda of any candidate in this race.