BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Members of the Boston City Council heard testimony Wednesday on the current child care crisis in the city.
Massachusetts has the second most expensive child care system in the country, and the number of centers and family-based operations has been shrinking for years. And with the coronavirus pandemic, that number has shrunk even further.
Tania Del Rio, the executive director for the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, said that only about 70% of child care centers have reopened, and the city fears that is permanent.
“Pre-COVID, the reality was that we really only had seats for half of Boston’s children who were under 5. We don’t have enough seats, and then when they are there, they are not even affordable,” Del Rio said.
Laura Perille, former interim superintendent of Boston Public Schools and current CEO of childcare organization Nurtury, said early childhood education can’t be sidelined.
“All of the concerns that are currently dominating the newspaper and conversation about how to reopen K-12 safely, childcare has been open and all of us are navigating extraordinary complexity. So, we need rapid turnaround on testing,” Perille said. “Getting it right in childcare will help figuring out how to get it right in K-12, but it needs urgent attention.”
Several testifiers called for a bailout of the childcare industry. It was argued that Delta Air Lines received more funding than the entire child care system.
Mila Montero, BPS employee and mom of four, said she has no idea how she is going to make it work in the fall.
“The daycare system does not work for people like me because it is very expensive. I’ve had to resort to unlicensed care from relatives. My kids are not getting the school readiness skills that they need," Montero said.
WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers (@madisonwbz) reports