City Councilors Liz Breadon (District 9), Michelle Wu (At-Large), and Andrea Campbell (District 4) are urging the City to consider ways to support the childcare industry during and after COVID-19 to ensure affordable access to care remains available when workers begin to reenter the workforce as the state reopens.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to shutter businesses for good, the loss of Massachusetts’s childcare facilities would be a devastating blow to an industry that was already in crisis pre-pandemic. The Commonwealth is the second most expensive state in the country for infant care, costing on average $20,913 annually, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
“So we have a crisis on our hands in which families’ access to affordable daycare is under threat,” said Councilor Breadon, pointing to a Brighton childcare center that recently closed permanently.
The restrictive cost of childcare prevents many women from entering or re-entering the workforce. Childcare workers also struggle financially and many would not be able to afford infant care for their own child. Boston’s childcare workforce is 92% women and 40% women of color.
With childcare facilities grappling with reduced capacity restrictions and a lack of government guidance on moving forward with reopening, many fear they’ll be unable to survive. This poses a serious threat to a state already experiencing a childcare crisis.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commonwealth was experiencing a steady decline in childcare programs, seeing a nearly 25% decrease over a period of four years. In the last ten years, family childcare facilities in Boston have seen a 40% reduction.
Affordable access to childcare in Boston has already proved an obstacle for many Bostonians. Now that childcare centers must reduce their capacity in order to properly socially distance and reduce the risk of spreading the virus, many wonder where people returning to work will send their children.