Clark joined the YMCA of Metro North, local business leaders, and child care providers to discuss recovery from the pandemic and a reimagining of the child care sector to support the success of families, workers, and our economy
[PEABODY, Mass. January 27, 2022]- Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House Katherine Clark (MA-5) joined Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO of YMCA of Metro North, and local business leaders for a virtual CEO Roundtable, “Families at Work,” a discussion on the new realities of child care in America.
During the meeting, Clark reflected on the success of the American Rescue Plan and its $40 billion of relief funding for child care as well as provided an update on her on-going work in Washington to expand federal funding for the child care sector. The group of business leaders, child care providers, and policy makers then discussed on-going challenges facing businesses, families, and providers and the need to reimagine the child care system overall.
Today, approximately 30% of families are unable to find child care, and 40% of child care centers across the U.S. were forced to close during the pandemic. The lack of affordable, quality child care is not just an issue for families; it hurts our economic recovery: lost earnings, productivity, and revenue cost the nation’s economy a staggering $57 billion per year.
“America has long undervalued and underinvested in child care. The pandemic forced a national reckoning and we are finally acknowledging what’s long been true: child care is not a private issue but a public good. It’s essential to the success of kids, families, and our economy. In 2021, Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan that included $40 billion in child care relief funding, helping providers to stay afloat, parents to get back to work, and businesses to thrive. And as a result, Massachusetts has received $510 million in child care stabilization funding to date. Next, we must enact the President’s Build Back Better agenda to finally build a system that allows families and our economy to thrive. And I’m thrilled to be partnered with the YMCA Metro North and Massachusetts business leaders in this effort to build a stronger tomorrow,” said Congresswoman Katherine Clark.
Over 6,000 child care programs in Massachusetts – 81% of all eligible child care programs in the state – have submitted applications for this funding and are already benefiting from it.
The 28 YMCA Associations in Massachusetts are the largest provider of licensed-based child care in the Commonwealth, with 14,000 staff and 52,000 youth in licensed programs. Since the pandemic, staffing requirements and competitive pay have been some of the biggest challenges in making the child care business model work post-pandemic. The YMCA currently has 1,300 job openings for child care and early education teachers.
“The YMCA convened this roundtable to bridge gaps in information and experience between child care providers, business, families, and policy makers so we all understand the challenges each group is facing and we can adopt solutions to advance the critical work of repairing our early education and child care systems in the Commonwealth,” said Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metro North. “We are very grateful to Congresswoman Clark for joining us and for her tireless work on behalf of children and families. We will keep these discussions moving forward at future convenings with working families to explore the child care challenges they face as they return to work.”
The Alliance of YMCA’s in Massachusetts also worked with the Massachusetts Legislature and the Baker Administration to secure $10 million ARPA funds for staffing and capital improvements. The YMCA of Metro North will continue the roundtable format by next convening a conversation with working families to discuss their issues with business leaders and policy makers.
View the Virtual Event: https://youtu.be/oYNoDIhyaU8
About the YMCA of Metro North
The YMCA of Metro North is a leading Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization providing health, fitness, and youth development programs to the nearly 69,000 community members it serves annually in the areas of Lynn, Lynnfield, Melrose, Nahant, Peabody, Revere, Saugus, Stoneham, and Wakefiled. The association awards more than $1,200,000 in financial assistance to members to attend Y Academy early learning and after school programs, summer camps, sports, gymnastics, enrichment, and life-saving swim lessons in addition to their evidence-based health programs such as LiveSTRONG at the Y, Enhance Fitness for Seniors, Cardiac Rehab Maintenance, and more. Learn more: www.ymcametronorth.org