Housing Bond Bill a Big Win for Children, Families

United Way-supported legislation aimed at improving the state’s child care facilities.

Last November, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a five-year housing and community development bond bill, which authorized $45 million to create a new Early Education and Out of School Capital Fund to improve the quality of center-based facilities, which the Department of Early Education and Care will administer.

Earlier this month Children’s Investment Fund and their parent agency CEDAC held an event at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to laud the passage of the facilities legislation and United Way was there to share in the celebration.

A core tenet of United Way’s vision for a thriving community is quality early childhood education. Agencies need the infrastructure to provide that quality to the children they serve. While it may be easy to overlook the needs of a brick and mortar building when compared against curriculum or nutrition or staffing, having peace of mind when it comes to property management is paramount for Executive Directors, statewide.

Our friends at the Children’s Investment Fund put it this way:

The successful bond legislation affirms the positive impact that high quality education makes in children’s lives. It also acknowledges that all children, regardless of family income or circumstances, should be educated in physical environments that support healthy development and learning.

This bond bill, which United Way supported, helps take another important step to ensure our kids are growing and developing in high-end venues. And that means they’re given a great path towards long-term future success. Currently, United Way is working with the Department of Early Education and Care and its partners to determine funding criteria and timing.

“All children need learning environments where they can explore materials and interact with their peers and teachers,” said Mav Pardee, Program Manager for the Children’s Investment Fund.  “But they also need to be in space that has daylight, comfortable temperatures, suitable acoustics, and good indoor air quality. Research confirms that those elements support concentration, positive behavior and better overall performance.”

At the celebration, lawmakers honored were Housing Committee Chairs Sen. James Eldridge and Rep. Kevin Honan, and the original bill sponsors, Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez.   Also honored was Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, a United Way partner agency. Mike Durkin, President and CEO of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley received an award on behalf of our efforts in passing the legislation.

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