Programs for Children Aged 0-5


After-School and Out-of-School Grants provide funding for after-school and out-of-school time (ASOST) programs to provide quality academic and social supports to students both during the school year and the summer months. Serving students with greater needs is prioritized in ASOST grant awards.


The Autism Division funds the Autism Home and Community‐Based Medicaid Waiver. This program provides intensive in-home and community-based services for a small share of MassHealth eligible children under age 9 diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


The Bay State Reading Institute (BSRI) partners literacy coaches and experienced school leaders with elementary schools to improve student literacy through developing effective practices in instruction, curriculum, and school leadership. The program receives general funding from the state to help finance their work.


This account funds the testing of pediatric blood specimens to identify children with elevated lead levels who are in need of specialized medical, environmental, educational and social services.


Caseworker Salaries and Benefits funds salaries for caseworkers at the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Even as SNAP (formerly food-stamps) caseloads have grown in the past decade, funding for caseworkers has been reduced causing severe increases in the number of cases each caseworker administers.


This line item funds the administration and operations of the Division of Housing Stabilization (DHS) in the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Funding pays for DHS personnel including central management, support personnel and the caseworkers who determine whether families are eligible for homeless shelter and housing assistance overseen by the Division.


The Center for District and School Accountability (CDSA) monitors and reviews the efforts of schools and school districts to improve academic achievement. It acts as an auditor within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to review school districts across the state and report these reviews to policymakers and the public.


Chapter 70 aid is the state program that distributes funding to support to the state's 326 local and regional school districts. With over $4.5 billion in funding, Chapter 70 aid is by far the largest K-12 education-related line item in the state budget.


When students and their families choose to enroll in a charter school, state law requires that the public school district in which they reside pay the student’s tuition costs. The Charter School Reimbursement program is designed to ease the transition challenges that come when a district has an increase in charter tuition payments (usually coming from an increase in the number of students leaving for charter schools).


Funding from this line item supports a variety of services for children and adolescents with severe emotional disturbance and serious mental illness. Services are provided in residential facilities and through other community-based programs, and may be coordinated with services provided by other state agencies. This line item also funds the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project.


The Access Management or Child Care Resource and Referral Centers line item funds child care resources and referral agencies (CCR&R) that help families with a subsidy find child care. Resource centers are funded by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).


The mission of the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue (CSE) is to make a difference in the lives of children by enforcing the financial responsibilities of parenthood. CSE’s core functions are to establish paternity, and establish, enforce and modify child support and health insurance orders.


As a joint state-federal effort, the Massachusetts Child Support Division (CSE) within the Department of Revenue, receives federal reimbursements on a share of the state funds it spends each fiscal year.


Child Welfare Training Institute Retained Revenue funds training opportunities for employees of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The program is funded through federal reimbursements received under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.


The Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) supports comprehensive behavioral health screening during a pediatric well-child visit for all children eligible for MassHealth. CBHI also covers comprehensive, community-based behavioral health services for children diagnosed with severe emotional disturbance.


The Children's Medical Security Plan (CMSP) provides primary and preventive services for uninsured children through age 18 who are not eligible for MassHealth.


The Children's Trust Fund (CTF) is partly funded through this line item. The CTF funds and evaluates the work of over 100 family support and parenting education programs throughout Massachusetts working to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting parents and strengthening families. CTF, a quasi government agency, also receives funding from its non-profit arm Friends of Children's Trust Fund.


This initiative provides grants to cities, towns, school districts or collaboratives that are already providing pre-k with funds to help them plan how to increase access primarily for 3-year-olds.


Family Resource Centers provide resources and information to families about state and local services. The centers make it easier for families to access many different public services in one place.


Dental Health Services funds oral health programs for children and adults through the Department of Public Health’s Office of Oral Health – targeting people who have challenges accessing dental care.


The Department of Children and Family (DCF) Administration line item funds operations and clinical support services within the central, regional and area offices. Most job functions, apart from social workers, are funded through this line item, including senior administration, program and project managers, lawyers, policy evaluation, IT, trainers, budget and finance.


This line item funds lead agencies to administer Department of Children and Families (DCF) services at the regional and area level. These lead agencies do not perform direct services, but contract to local organizations.


The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) was created in 2005 to oversee early education and care services, and after-school programming. Massachusetts was the first state to create one agency to oversee early education and care services. Prior to the creation of EEC, administration of early childhood programs was split between two different agencies.


This line item funds the administration of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).


The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) helps low-income individuals and families meet their basic needs. Administration funds operations and support services within both the central office and twenty transitional assistance offices around the state. Most job functions, apart from caseworkers, are funded through this line. Senior administration, program and project managers, lawyers, policy evaluation, IT, trainers, budget and finance, and all other support personnel are funded here.


This line item funds a variety of programs that aim to prevent domestic and sexual violence, provide support to victims, and promote positive relationship models.


Domestic Violence Specialists funds the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) Domestic Violence Unit which provides services to victims of domestic violence who are on public assistance. This unit, established in 1999, consists of a specialist in each DTA area office.


This program, first funded in 2014, establishes a regional multidisciplinary Down syndrome center at the UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center.


Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services provide support to children and families in early education and care programs and for children up to the age of 14. Funding also supports training for providers. Preference is given to services which focus on lowering the number of school suspensions and expulsions.


Early Intervention provides services to infants and toddlers (birth to three years old) who exhibit delays in cognitive, motor, language, behavioral and other areas of development or who are considered at risk for developmental delays. The program provides developmental evaluations and assessments to determine each child and family's needs and coordinates services based on those needs.


The state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax break provided by the Commonwealth to lower-income workers in order to increase the after-tax rewards to work. It is available only to tax filers with earned income and provides benefits primarily to workers with children.


The Executive Office of Education houses the Information Technology Office, which supplies technology assistance to agencies that interact with schools and school aged children from early education and care through Higher Education.


State school aid each year is based on enrollment levels in October of the previous year. However, there are situations where enrollment in particular districts rises dramatically during the course of a year, in ways that are not reflected in state school aid in the Chapter 70 formula. The Education Reform Reserve generally has very small amounts of money relative to the over $4 billion Chapter 70 program, to help districts compensate for significant swings in enrollment and other unforeseen circumstances.


The Education Technology Program provides funding to support the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s data collection and analysis activities. This program helps provide staffing to support data analysis of information from schools and districts across the state for a variety of uses, including reporting data related to federal and other grants.


The English Language Learners in Gateway Cities program primarily funds grants for summer academies that seek to improve the English language skills of middle and high school students in Gateway Cities.


Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) is a cash assistance program administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Individuals eligible for EAEDC are: disabled, caring for someone who is disabled, 65 or older, in a Mass. Rehab program, and children who are not able to get TAFDC benefits.


Massachusetts is one of the few places in the U.S. that provides shelter, through its Emergency Assistance (EA) program, to all low-income homeless families who meet certain eligibility criteria. Low-income homeless families are eligible for EA shelter if they live at or below 115% of the federal poverty level and have lost their homes to fire, natural disaster, loss of income, were living in unhealthy or unsafe conditions or were forced to leave their housing because they were victims of domestic violence.


The Emergency Food Assistance Program funds four regional food banks. The Worcester County Food Bank, Greater Boston Food Bank, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank provide food to almost 900 hunger-relief programs in Massachusetts. Programs which receive food from the four food banks include pantries, soup kitchens, transitional houses, residential programs, youth and elder centers, shelters and meal sites.


The Employment Services Program (ESP) funds employment and training services for recipients of TAFDC. The program provides education, occupational skills and employment support services to clients. Administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), ESP providers contract for services throughout Massachusetts.


English Language Acquisition funds professional development for teachers of English Language Learners (ELL) and school administrators. Professional development under this program is designed to improve academic achievement of ELL students through improved educator practice of Sheltered English Immersion (SEI), the main method of teaching ELL students in Massachusetts. Using SEI means that teachers must adjust their practices to fit the needs of students who are not yet proficient in English. Support for ELL students also includes the teaching of English as a Second Language (ESL) to build language proficiency.


The Extended Learning Time (ELT) grant program supports several Massachusetts schools expanding the traditional school year by at least 300 hours. The addition of ELT allows schools to add instructional time for core academic subjects, while also integrating more enrichment opportunities such as arts, sports, and experiential learning. ELT schools can also provide teachers with more common planning time and professional development opportunities.


Family Access Centers provide resources and information to families about state and local services. The centers make it easier for families to access many different public services in one place.


Family Health Services at the Dept. of Public Health supports more than 90 family planning clinic sites across the Commonwealth, providing counseling, education, and clinical services to low-income adolescents, women, and men. It also supports the birth defects monitoring program and a poison control center at Children's Hospital.


Services for Infants and Parents (Family Support and Engagement) funds two grants administered by the Department of Early Education & Care (EEC). The Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) grant funds approximately 100 CFCE grantees across the state which deliver family support programs, parent education, and information and referrals for other comprehensive services. The Educator and Provider Support (EPS) grant funds professional development for providers including coaching and mentoring, educator planning and competency development/training.


Family Support and Stabilization supports programs and services which help families stay together. Child safety is the Department of Children and Families's (DCF) primary mission, but the department strives to keep families intact if possible.


This program, first funded in FY 2017, supports a campaign to recruit new foster parents.


This line item funds a mandatory biannual review by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of the case plan of each child in foster care.


Grants to Head Start Programs funds a state supplement which supports Head Start and Early Head Start programs promoting school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families. Federal funding, which makes up the vast majority of funding, is allocated to lead agencies who administer the funding to local Head Start organizations. Federal funding does not go through the state budget. Head Start aims to serve the entire family while supporting the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children in the program.


Group Care Services funds the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) contracted congregate care programs, including residential and group care placements. A further provision allocates funds for intensive community-based services for children who would otherwise be placed in congregate settings.


The Healthy Families Home Visiting Program, also called Healthy Families Massachusetts (HFM), provides home visits for first-time parents under the age of 21. Parents are eligible during pregnancy until their child reaches the age of three. This program has no income limit; however, priority for services is given to low-income families and parents with at-risk newborns. The program is administered by the Children's Trust Fund (CTF).


HomeBASE provides short-term assistance to help low-income families eligible for shelter through the Emergency Assistance (EA) program to secure permanent housing. HomeBASE is overseen by the Division of Housing Stabilization (DHS) within the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).


When students become homeless, it is important to provide academic and social stability by allowing them to remain in their original school. To pursue this goal the federal McKinney-Vento Act helps homeless students remain enrolled in the original school they attended before becoming homeless. The state Homeless Student Transportation program helps cover the local costs of transportation of homeless students between cities and towns.


Income Eligible Child Care provides subsidized child care for the children of low-income parents not receiving child care through TAFDC who are working, disabled, in an education or job training program, or who otherwise meet the activity requirement. Child care is provided for children under 13 and for older children with special needs.


The Innovation Schools line item funds competitive grants for school districts planning, implementing, or enhancing Innovation Schools in Massachusetts. Innovation schools are district public schools that have increased flexibility on a number of key areas of school structure and organization. This structure aims to help schools better organize their resources to benefit their students and provide examples of innovative practices that can be adopted more broadly across Massachusetts.


The Literacy Programs line item provides competitive grant funds to support projects for literacy planning, instruction, professional development, and student assessment in districts with student skill gaps. These grants support efforts focused on early literacy (Pre-K through 3rd grade) as well as adolescent literacy (4th-12th grade).


The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) provides both mobile and project-based vouchers to low-income renters in Massachusetts.


MassHealth CommonHealth covers children and adults with disabilities with incomes that are too high to qualify for MassHealth Standard.


The MassHealth Family Assistance program provides health insurance coverage for children with family incomes to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.


MassHealth Fee-for-Service covers payments for coverage provided to children and adults through fee-for-service arrangements with providers. Most children are covered by MassHealth Managed Care.


MassHealth Managed Care pays for health insurance coverage provided to children and adults through several types of managed care health plans: Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), Primary Care Clinician Plans (PCCs), and Accountable Care Organizations beginning in March 2018 (ACOs). Most of the close to 640,000 children enrolled in MassHealth receive coverage through one of these managed health care plans.


The Massachusetts Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program helps ensure that every baby in the Commonwealth receives a hearing screening, early diagnosis, and access to intervention services when diagnosed with hearing loss.


The Office of Child Advocate (OCA) works to ensure that every child involved with state agencies in Massachusetts is protected from harm and receives quality services. It collaborates with legislators, social workers, doctors, administrators, and other professionals to improve services to children and families and issues an annual report with recommendations for improvements.


This line item funds the Executive Office of Education, which oversees the state's educational system from early education through college.


The Pediatric Palliative Care program provides supportive services to Massachusetts children with life-limiting illnesses and their families through a network of ten hospices. Palliative care provides support throughout the course of a child’s illness or disease, and is not limited to the end of life.


The Postpartum Depression Pilot Program, and funding for it, was first included in the FY 2014 budget in order to address postpartum depression through community-based services.


The Probate and Family Court (PFC) oversees a wide range of family-focused legal matters, including divorce, alimony, paternity, child welfare, child custody, visitation and child support determinations. The PFC also handles "probate" matters, i.e., cases involving wills and the transfer of estates at time of death, as well as guardianship and conservatorship arrangements for minors and incapacitated adults.


The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) is a voluntary inter-district school assignment program designed to increase diversity and educational opportunity. METCO allows students in certain cities to attend public schools in other communities that volunteer to participate. Ultimately, METCO is designed both to reduce the racial isolation of suburban school districts and reduce segregation in city schools.


The federal government gives assistance, called Impact Aid, to school districts that have significant federal land (including military bases) within their boundaries, helping offset local revenue lost because this property cannot be taxed.


First created in the FY 2017 budget, the Quality Improvement program brings together an array of early education initiatives previously funded through separate line-items that focus on improving the quality of services provided to preschool-age kids throughout the state.


Reach out and Read funds an early literacy and school readiness program by partnering with doctors to give out free books and encourage families to read together.


Due to concerns that some school districts may be too small to adequately and efficiently meet the needs of their students, Massachusetts provides incentive funding for school districts in rural areas to consolidate into larger school districts. To deal with the budget issues that may come with consolidation, the state has created the Regionalization Bonus program to fund transition costs.


Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) provides low-income families who are at risk of becoming homeless with one-time housing assistance.


The respite and family supports program is for clients of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) who are living at home with their families, in order to help with in-home care or give primary caregivers a break from caregiving.


A high-quality education for all residents of the Commonwealth is a key part of providing opportunity to our young people. There is increasing recognition that non-academic barriers, such as health, mental health, wellness, and family challenges, can impede students successfully completing their education. These barriers are especially concerning for schools that serve large populations of low-income students. Safe and Supportive Schools grants are one means to develop plans to address these challenges.


The state School Breakfast Program line item supplements Federal School Breakfast funding in Massachusetts. Over 80 percent of schools across the Commonwealth offer breakfast for kids. The Federal School Breakfast program provided a total of over $50 million in funding to support free or low-cost meals to over 160,000 kids in Massachusetts in FY 2015.


The School Lunch Program line item is a required state funding match that supplements federal school lunch funding coming into Massachusetts.


The School Modernization and Reconstruction Trust Fund (School Building Assistance) is used to help school districts pay for school construction and renovation projects. When someone pays Massachusetts sales tax, one percent of the retail value of the purchase goes toward this fund.


School-Based Health Programs support health services to students in the school setting, which is particularly important for students who need to manage chronic health conditions over the course of the day, and for students facing barriers to care.


Services for Children and Families funds foster care and adoption services for clients of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Services are delivered by organizations that partner with DCF, with the aim of providing a permanent family for every child.


The Sexual Abuse Intervention Network (SAIN) facilitates interagency cooperation in order to minimize secondary trauma to child victims of sexual abuse. The Department of Children and Families (DCF), law enforcement, child advocates and other organizations jointly assess victim's immediate needs while also facilitating prosecution.


The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program provides medical care and expert forensic evidence collection for victims of all ages. The program connects victims to rape crisis center advocates or children’s advocacy centers to assure that they are provided with social and emotional supports. The evidence collected by SANEs can be critical in the prosecution of sexual offenders. The Massachusetts SANE program is the only statewide program for all ages in the country and the pediatric component has been a model for similar efforts in other states and countries to care for child sexual assault patients.


The state's Chapter 40S program provides incentives for zoning rules that encourage the development of higher density residential and commercial space. This is often referred to as Smart Growth Development.

With greater density of new homes, it is common for more children to enroll in public schools. To help districts accommodate these new students, the Chapter 40S program provides payments to cities and towns to help offset new costs.


Social Workers/Case Management provides salaries for case workers at the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Funding is intended to be sufficient to maintain caseloads for all case workers at a standard level of 18 to 1 statewide.


The Special Education Circuit Breaker program reimburses local school districts for a portion of their costs for educating severely high-needs special education students. The state reimburses a portion of district costs above a certain threshold and the precise reimbursement formula changes year-to-year depending on the total amount allocated in a given year and on the level of claims statewide.


The state budget provides operating support to local housing authorities (LHAs) throughout the state. These subsidies allow LHAs to provide affordable rentals to low-income families, elderly, and people with disabilities.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participation funds programs designed to increase the participation of residents eligible, but not currently signed up, to receive SNAP. The SNAP program, formerly known as Food Stamps, is a federal nutrition program administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) that helps low income residents stretch their food budget and buy healthy food.


The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, funds a nutrition benefit for low-income individuals and families. SNAP is primarily a federal entitlement program, but Massachusetts funds a small supplement through the state budget. The United States Department of Agriculture oversees SNAP at the federal level. In Massachusetts, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) administers the program.


Supportive and TANF Child Care funds child care and early education for children with two different types of needs. The Supportive program funds children in the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The TANF portion funds child care for families involved with or transitioning from transitional aid to families with dependent children (TAFDC). TAFDC benefits are time limited cash assistance benefits for families with children, and pregnant women in the last 90 days of pregnancy.


Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits are time limited cash assistance benefits for families with children and pregnant women in the last 120 days of pregnancy. The goal of TAFDC is to help families achieve self-sufficiency through employment. Besides cash, TAFDC benefits also include job training and assistance, education support and child care for clients who meet education/work eligibility requirements.


Targeted Intervention in Underperforming Schools funds state efforts to help stabilize and improve academic performance in schools and districts identified by the state for improvement. Additional support from the state can be instrumental in helping improve the Commonwealth’s most challenged schools.


The Tax Break for Adoption Fees is a deduction provided by the Commonwealth to taxpayers who have paid fees to licensed adoption agencies while attempting to adopt a minor child.


The Tax Break for Certain Foster Care Payments is an exemption provided by the Commonwealth to officially-approved foster parents. This tax break exempts from taxation the portion of income received from the state to help offset the costs of providing approved foster care.


The Tax Break for Child and Dependent Care Costs (officially known as the "Deduction for Business-Related Child Care Expenses") is a tax break provided by the Commonwealth to taxpayers who must pay for childcare or dependent care in order to work.


The Tax Break for Daycare Expenses (officially known as the "Exemption for Dependent Care Expenses") is a tax break provided by the Commonwealth that allows employers to pay for daycare for the children of their employees using pre-tax dollars. In general, employees and employers qualify for this tax break when a portion of an employee's total compensation package takes the form of child (or dependent adult) daycare that is provided by or is paid for by the employer.


The Tax Break for Dependent Under 12 is a deduction provided by the Commonwealth to taxpayers with dependent household members, including any children under the age of twelve and/or eligible elderly or disabled household members.


The Tax Break for Removal of Lead Paint is a tax credit provided by the Commonwealth to property owners to help offset the cost of covering or removing lead paint from a residential property in Massachusetts.


Prospective teachers must pass the Massachusetts Test for Educational Licensure (MTEL) before becoming full time certified teachers. The tests measure both basic teaching skills and subject-area competence. Prospective teachers must pay a registration fee for these tests and the money is then used to pay for test administration.


The Teen Structured Settings Program helps support teen parents under the age of 20 who are recipients of TAFDC benefits. The program helps locate an approved placement for teens as determined by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) with support from the Department of Children and Families (DCF).


This line item funds the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP), which aims to prevent people from starting to smoke and to help people quit smoking. Prevention programs are especially important for children and adolescents, since about 90 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 18. Smoking cessation programs are also important, since children whose parents smoke are affected by second hand smoke and are more likely to start smoking themselves.


Regional school districts often have higher student transportation costs since they cover larger geographic regions. The state subsidizes transportation costs for these longer journeys in an effort to encourage the formation of regional school districts, which can often run more efficiently than smaller school districts.


The Universal Immunization Program funds the purchase and distribution of vaccines to children and some adults. Thanks to the program, Massachusetts ranks among the top states for pediatric immunization rates.


The Women's, Infants, and Children's (WIC) program is a nutrition program that serves low- and moderate-income pregnant women and small children. The program is particularly aimed at women and children who are at risk for poor nutrition, and children form the largest category of WIC participants.


The Women's, Infants, and Children's (WIC) program provides nutritious food and nutrition education to low- and moderate-income pregnant women and small children. The program is particularly aimed at women and children at risk for poor nutrition, and children are the largest category of WIC participants

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