In Case You Missed It

Look here for mentions of CELFE in the news, Op Eds, partner and client announcements, and features about our Funding Equity work.

Feature | April 2023

Boston Globe

Child care costs about the same in Western Mass., but the subsidies are much smaller

CELFE’s cost estimation work supporting the Massachusetts Department Early Education and Care was featured in an April 2022 Boston Globe article.

The article cites, “In order to better understand the true cost of care, the state partnered with an Illinois-based group, Center for Early Learning Funding Equity, to consider not just market rate data, but other pieces of information including feedback from parents and providers, housing costs, health insurance data, and provider data collected by the state through the pandemic-era C3 grant program, which includes program size, staffing information, and salary numbers.

The group’s findings were presented at the state Board of Early Education and Care meeting earlier this month.

For each toddler, a child care center in Western Massachusetts receives a subsidy of $61.16 per day. In Boston, that rate is $85.90, according to state figures. But CELFE’s data show that the costs for providing care does not vary substantially across the different regions.”

Op Ed | February 2023

Early Learning Nation

Let’s Not Throw Out Market Rate Surveys Just Yet: Funding Child Care in Today’s World

In February 2023, CELFE wrote an op-ed detailing our position on child care funding and ways in which we reach adequacy.

Our Executive Director argues, “Cost studies reveal that a child care program operating according to best practices, with appropriate teacher-to-child ratios and paying competitive wages, costs far more to operate than most parents are currently paying. Further, focusing solely on market rates may lead to important inequities in rates over time, as prices rise more slowly in economically depressed regions than they do in higher-income parts of the state. For these reasons, many advocates have called for states to begin setting reimbursement rates based on cost modeling, and some have even called for doing away with Market Rate Surveys altogether.

But the truth is that states don’t set rates too low because of the Market Rate Survey. States set rates too low because they are trying to balance access to subsidy with adequacy of funding in the context of far, far too little investment in child care. Setting rates high enough to cover the true cost of high quality care with adequate compensation means fewer children receiving subsidies. This may be the right trade-off for a state to make, but it is a trade-off. There is no magic wand to fix the troubled child care market absent a major increase in funding.”

Feature | January 2023

NIU Today

NIU Center for Early Learning Funding Equity (CELFE) leads the charge for quality early education for every child

CELFE was featured in Northern Illinois University’s website. Check out what our Executive Director and Deputy Director have to say:

CELFE is bringing to life the long-held dream of Executive Director Dr. Theresa Hawley: that of a center focused specifically on addressing our current  inequitable financing structures for early childhood education. “Early learning experiences are critical, and every child deserves high quality early education,” Hawley says. “But too often, families can’t access these services because they’re unaffordable or simply not available in their communities. We’re eager to shine a light on the complex ways in which early childhood resources are now distributed and to work alongside states and communities to design more equitable, efficient and effective funding systems.”

As Hawley and CELFE Deputy Director Sessy Nyman have worked to hire staff and establish the center, their relationship with NIU is already proving fruitful. “NIU – and the Division of OERD in particular – is an incredible home in terms of supporting the kind of data analysis and policy work we’re doing, and the kind of change we’re trying to make in the systems that have created these funding inequities. Nyman says. “NIU’s EdSystems Center, NIU Research and Data Collaborative  and Illinois Interactive Report Cards Office are already doing similar data-driven, transformational work on a state and national level. They’re wonderful models and partners for this work.”

Client Announcement | January 2023

Early Childhood Colorado

Colorado Department of Early Childhood's Compensation & Benefits Task Force

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood is convening an EC Compensation and Benefits Task Force. House Bill 22-1295, which created the Department of Early Childhood, also called for the Department in partnership with the Early Childhood Leadership Commission to develop a plan for recruiting, training, and retaining a well-compensated, well-prepared, high-quality statewide early childhood workforce.

Building on the EC Workforce 2020 Plan and additional review of comparative national, state, and local research related to Early Childhood Compensation and Benefits, CDEC has partnered with Afton Partners, Pillars Research, and the Center for Early Learning Funding Equity to stand up this Task Force who is charged with recommending the most promising strategies for increasing compensation and access to comprehensive benefits for Colorado’s ECE workforce.

Client Announcement | November 2022

Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care

Early Education and Care Programs Statewide to Receive $80 Million in Rate Increases for Fiscal Year 2023 

Every three years, EEC is required to conduct a comprehensive market rate survey of the Commonwealth’s child care market to analyze access to care for families receiving financial assistance from the state. The assessment evaluates the prices charged by Massachusetts providers and includes a preliminary study of the costs to operate child care programs. The most recent survey was used to inform the subsidy rates and overall funding policy for child care.

“This package of investments builds on the continued effort to increase the purchasing power of low-income families, while also serving as an important stabilizer for the programs participating in our subsidy system as they continue to grapple with economic challenges,” said Early Education and Care Acting Commissioner Kershaw. “EEC will be working diligently in the months ahead to ensure the rate increase are implemented to further support the families and programs we serve.”