Early Ed & Care

The Early Education and Care section includes programs and services funded by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). EEC programs and services support child development while helping parents balance work and family responsibilities. Early education services are often designed for the entire family and aim to inform and empower families to support their children as they prepare for success in school.

Early Education and Care programs are divided into three categories: Early Education Administration, Quality and Targeted Programs, and Early Education Access.

Early Education Administration: Administrative funding that supports operations at EEC, the Children's Trust Fund (CTF) and Child Care Resource and Referral agencies.

Quality and Targeted Programs: Programs in this category provide quality early education programming to children as well as targeted services to families. Several programs provide access to and financial support for Head Start, Universal Pre-Kindergarten, and Reach Out and Read, an early literacy program partnering with doctors to give out free books and encourage families to read together. Targeted services support young first-time families and families whose children are facing developmental difficulties. Funds also support professional development opportunities for educators and organizational improvement for providers. Programs include Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services, Healthy Families Home Visiting Program (administered by CTF), and Family Support and Engagement.

Early Education Access: Massachusetts funds child care subsidies to increase access to care for several types of families. Early education access programs provide financial support to families who meet financial (income and asset) and other eligibility requirements so that those kids and families can obtain child care. The two main subsidies available to families are: 1) Supportive and TANF Child Care for families involved with Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent children (TAFDC) or who have open cases with the Department of Children and Families (DCF); and 2) Income Eligible Child Care, which subsidizes child care for low-income families not involved with TAFDC or DCF who are working, disabled, in an education or job training program, or who otherwise meet the activity requirements. There are also three tax breaks to help offset expenses associated with raising young children: Exemption of Dependent Care Expenses, Deduction for Dependent under 12, and Deduction for Business-Related Child Care Expenses.

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