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Full text of "Report of the Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council"

/nflSS. ED 6j.2:r. 2A 



UMASS/AMHERST 




312066 0308 1196 



COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS 



Report of the Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 

March 2003 

Introduction 

The Massachusetts Legislature and the Governor created a Council on Early Education 
and Care (Council) to coordinate resources and public funding streams for early 
education and care. On the Council are David Driscoll, Commissioner of Education, 
Christine Ferguson, Commissioner of Public Health, and Ardith Wieworka, 
Commissioner of the Office of Child Care Services. The goals for the Council, as 
defined by the legislation, are to: 

1 . Improve state and local coordination and oversight of early education and care 
programs and services. Evaluate the advisability of creating a board of early 
education and care with oversight of some part or all of publicly-funded early 
education and care in the Commonwealth. 

2. Increase alignment of policies and operations. 

3. Strengthen parent education and involvement. 

4. Create an effective data collection system. 

5. Establish the appropriate balance between funding for direct service, quality 
enhancement, and administration. 

6. Ensure the creation of a workforce system to support the education, training, and 
compensation of teachers. 

The Council met regularly between August 2003 and February 2004. Five public forums 
were held throughout the Commonwealth to solicit input from the field. 397 individuals 
attended the forums. Oral testimony was given by 130 people representing child care 
providers, public schools, family child care providers (independent and system), Head 
Start, parents, higher education, Massachusetts Family Networks, Early Intervention, 
professional associations, advisory groups, labor unions, Child Care Resource and 
Referral agencies, Community Partnerships for Children councils, the Legislature, health 
educators, special education staff, businesses, and others. Written comments were 
received from an additional 50 individuals and groups. The Council members have also 
consulted with other groups and individuals. A summary of the comments submitted to 
the Council may be found in Appendix B. 

Council Vision Statement 

The Council is committed to developing a comprehensive, high quality, accessible 
system of programs and services for young children through the age of five and their 
families in collaboration with other involved agencies and groups. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council \ 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

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Recommendations 

Based upon discussions among the Commissioners and review of the testimony and 
written comments received, the Council developed the major recommendations across six 
broad areas outlined in this report. While the focus of this report is primarily on services 
for three- and four-year olds, the Council heard about the need to address services for 
infants and toddlers as well. Therefore, the Council has made some recommendations 
related to the birth to three age group and will continue working in the future on other 
aspects of the entire early education and care delivery system. 

A number of the recommendations can be implemented through changes in procedures 
and practices at the agency and local level. Others may need approval, statutory 
language, and/or funding support by the Governor and the Legislature. Appendix A lists 
the projected timelines and makes note of those recommendations that many need action 
by the Governor and the Legislature. 

In implementing the recommendations, the Council will involve key constituent groups, 
individuals, and agency staff. Many of the implementation details will benefit from 
further discussion, input, and work from parents, professionals in the field, and local 
leaders. 

1. Improve state and local coordination and oversight of early 
education and care programs and services. 

The Council was charged with making recommendations to coordinate resources and 
public funding streams for early education and care, including but not limited to 
programs administered by the Office of Child Care Services (OCCS), the Department of 
Education (DOE), and the Department of Public Health (DPH). A related charge was to 
evaluate the advisability of creating a board of early education and care with oversight of 
some part or all of publicly-funded early education and care in the Commonwealth. The 
purpose is to improve educational quality of services, to assure input at the local level on 
decision-making, to avoid duplication of effort, and to provide flexible services that meet 
the diverse needs of children and families. 

a. Create an Oversight Board. 

Massachusetts has a number of active and effective early education and care advisory 
bodies at the state and local level on which a variety of professionals and consumer 
representatives serve. The Council believes that the establishment of an additional 
multi-member advisory group is not necessary to improve the coordination and 
quality of the early education and care system among state agencies. The current 
Council process is demonstrating how ongoing communication and commitment 
among senior state officials can reduce bureaucratic barriers, increase efficiencies, 
and help strengthen the system of early education and care. 



Massachusetts Eariy Education and Care Council 2 



The Council recommends that: 

• the Early Education and Care Council (Council) continue as an oversight 
board, comprised of the Commissioners of Education, Child Care Services, 
and Public Health. 

• the Council conduct quarterly meetings to coordinate policies, program 
administration, and program funding in the early education and care system. 

• the Council prepare and issue an annual update to the field, the Governor 
and Legislature, and other interested parties. 

b. Better Coordinate Resources and Public Funding Streams. 

Public comments during the Council forum process discussed the respective roles of 
state government and local community leadership. One strong theme of the public 
comments received was that there should be a consistent method for public 
purchasing and financing of child care in the Commonwealth. Having fair, consistent 
rates paid for the same service makes good sense fiscally and administratively. 
Opportunities exist to improve child care financing and procedures by having a 
single, state-level purchaser. This could also result in streamlining the intake and 
enrollment processes for families, as well as aligning the current contracting and 
grant cycles. 

The Council heard both the strengths and weaknesses of having local management 
and decision-making by the Community Partnerships for Children (CPC) councils 
funded by DOE. Cited benefits include CPC councils' local knowledge base of 
resources and needs, the ability to provide onsite technical assistance, and the focus 
on communication and coordination among various service providers. Concerns 
included potential conflicts of interest, administrative burden of managing funds, and 
lack of accountability. Others expressed concern about the lack of consistency across 
the state in procedures, practices, and funding decisions by CPC councils. Most of 
these concerns were related to the direct role of the CPC councils in purchasing child 
care services. 

In light of these comments, the Council recommends that the agencies work together 
to consolidate the administration of intake, enrollment, and direct funding for early 
education and care services for three- and four-year olds at the state level. The goal is 
to have funding follow children, giving parents choices in program placements. A 
plan may need to be developed to ensure continuity of services for children currently 
receiving services through CPC funding support. 

Specifically, the Council recommends that: 

• a portion of the existing grant funding build upon the role of local CPC 
councils in conducting local needs assessments and outreach to 
parents/families and the broader community, determining family service 
needs throughout the community, providing onsite technical assistance and 
professional development, and providing other related services. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 3 



• OCCS and DOE subsidies for direct services for three-and four-year old 
children and their families be managed through a state administered system, 
led by OCCS, with funding following eligible children. 

• existing funding build upon the role of the Child Care Resource and Referral 
(CCR& R) agencies and other entities to implement early education and care 
services. 

• CPC councils, EI programs, and CCR & R agencies work together to deliver 
coordinated training throughout the Commonwealth. 

2. Increase alignment of policies and operations. 

The Council was charged with increasing regulatory, funding, and administrative 
alignment, including but not limited to streamlining administrative paperwork, building 
consistency in policies among publicly-funded agencies, and developing appropriate 
subsidy eligibility criteria, sliding-fee scales, reimbursement rates, services, regulations, 
and standards of quality. The Council examined an array of options and considered both 
short-term and long-term strategies to increase alignment of policies and operational 
mechanisms. 

Based on the Council's review, no major program reassignments are recommended in 
the three agencies. DOE will continue to administer the CPC program, along with other 
school- and family-centered programs for young children. OCCS will continue with 
responsibility for its array of child care programs and subsidies. DPH will continue its 
administration of the Early Intervention (EI) program. However, the Council does 
recommend strategies to improve collaboration and coordination among related DOE, 
OCCS, and DPH programs for young children and their families. 

The greatest potential for positive impact through improved alignment of state policies 
and operations is at the local level. When entering Massachusetts child care centers, 
family child care homes, or public school preschool and Head Start classrooms, one 
cannot tell which children are subsidized from which state, federal, local, or private 
funding source. However, because these programs receive funding from the different 
state and federal agencies, they must address each agency's requirements. From the 
public comment received, it is evident that this results in too much staff time being spent 
on completing different financial, program quality, and performance measure reports, 
taking time away from children and families. 

a. Adopt uniform program standards and guidelines. 

Currently, the DOE has its program standards and guidelines and the OCCS has its 
licensing and contracting regulations. While the agencies' standards and regulations 
are aligned with one another, there is a perception in the field that programs are being 
required to meet different sets of standards. In addition, programs that receive federal 
Head Start funds through the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) 
are required to meet the Head Start Performance Standards. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 



To address this concern, the Council recommends that: 

• a single set of "Commonwealth" standards and guidelines for early 
education and care programs for three- and four-year olds, based on the 
recently issued and well-received DOE standards and guidelines for 
preschool learning experiences, be adopted by OCCS and DOE and 
promulgated in regulation as necessary. Work on these Commonwealth 
standards and guidelines will be coordinated with the efforts of the 
Massachusetts School Readiness Project, which is developing performance 
outcomes to measure school readiness indicators. 

• DOE and OCCS work with Head Start and ACF staff to review how such a 
set of Commonwealth standards, which incorporate Head Start Performance 
Standards, can be used best by Massachusetts Head Start programs. 

• DOE, OCCS, DPH, Early Head Start, and ACF work together to develop 
uniform Commonwealth standards for programs for infants and toddlers 
and for family child care programs. 

Streamline the self-evaluation process for early education and care programs, 
based on the Commonwealth standards. 

Massachusetts early education and care programs participating in quality initiatives 
funded by the OCCS and/or the DOE are required to conduct annual and long-term 
self-evaluations to ensure ongoing program quality. The instruments currently in use 
include: 

ECERS (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale) — OCCS required 

for center-based child care 

FDCERS (Family Day Care Environment Rating Scale) - OCCS required 

for family child care 

ITERS (Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale) — OCCS required for 

center-based child care 

SACERS (School-age Care Environment Rating Scale) — OCCS required 

for school-age child care 

NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) 

Accreditation— DOE required (by statute, Ch.15, s. 54) 

DOE Early Childhood Program Standards - DOE required 

In addition, programs supported by federal Head Start funding are required to comply 
with and complete the: 

Head Start Performance Standards: Annual Program Self- Assessment — 

ACF required 

Thus, many early education and care providers must now complete multiple 
evaluations, resulting in duplicative and burdensome workloads for local programs. 
During the public comment period, program providers urged that the evaluation 
process be streamlined so local staff efforts could be focused on completing a single 
self-evaluation process. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 



The Council recommends that: 

• DOE and OCCS develop a Massachusetts evaluation system to measure 
program quality throughout the variety of programs for three- and four-year 
olds in the Commonwealth receiving state funding. 

• the self-evaluation system be based upon the Commonwealth standards and 
incorporate the best processes contained in the current self-evaluation 
instruments and systems, such as self-study, documentation, and onsite visits. 

• the agencies work with regional ACF staff to determine if Massachusetts 
Head Start programs can meet the federal annual program self -assessment 
requirement through completion of the single Massachusetts program 
evaluation system. 

• a coordinated self-evaluation system for programs serving children ages 
birth to three be developed through the Council, including the Early 
Intervention program. 

Coordinate state program and licensure! certification monitoring activities across 
the agencies. 

The state agencies are charged with assuring that programs receiving state funding 
meet licensure, fiscal, and other program requirements. The state monitoring process 
should complement the ongoing self-evaluation system that local programs are 
required to conduct in order to assess and maintain quality. 

Currently, community early education and care providers are required to participate in 
monitoring visits from DOE (every 5 years to each CPC council and randomly 
selected programs receiving CPC funds) and OCCS (every 2 years for licensing to 
each child care center, every 3 years for each family child care provider, and every 3 
years for contract monitoring). In addition, a federal review team monitors those 
programs receiving federal Head Start funds every 3 years. The EI program monitors 
and recertifies every two years. These different monitoring visits result in an 
administrative burden for programs, especially for small programs with limited 
administrative resources. 

The Council recommends that: 

• DOE, OCCS, and DPH establish a joint program monitoring plan, 
coordinated instruments and protocol, and schedules to reduce duplication of 
effort at the state and local level. Implementation of the components of the 
joint plan should draw upon the skill set of each agency's staff. 

• information gathered by an agency during a monitoring visit be shared, as 
appropriate, with the other agencies involved with the program. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 6 



d. Establish standard state rates for services and evaluate what the appropriate state 
payment level should be in comparison to market rate. 

Currently, different rates are used to purchase the same service. The OCCS 
establishes a regional rate for the child care services it procures. Local CPC councils, 
funded by the DOE, may pay the state rate, set their own Uniform Community Rate, 
or pay the market or published rate for each program. This has resulted in a single 
early education and care classroom receiving different rates of reimbursement for the 
same services for children whose care is subsidized by different state agencies. 
Families receiving the higher CPC funding support would often have more choices of 
program placement than those receiving OCCS subsidies. It was clear from public 
comment that this was perceived as an inequity for both providers and families. 

Public comments emphasized that the current OCCS rates are too low. The federal 
government recommends that states pay child care subsidy rates at the 75 l percentile 
of the market, according to a regional market rate survey of provider rates charged to 
private paying parents who are not receiving subsidies. OCCS rates are below the 
75 th percentile of the market in most regions of the state. The Council will evaluate 
the appropriate level of state rates in comparison to private rates. 

The Council recommends that: 

• the agencies develop options and cost projections for establishing standard 
state rates at an appropriate percentage of private market rates. 

• the OCCS competitive bid process for FY05 take a revised state standard 
rate into account. 

e. Phase in incremental changes in eligibility criteria for child care subsidies to make 
them more consistent across funding streams. 

Public comments supported increasing the eligibility criteria for child care subsidies, 
while continuing to give priority to the families with the greatest financial need. 
Support was expressed for bringing DOE and OCCS eligibility criteria together, and 
for extending financial eligibility to low-income families earning up to 125% of SMI 
(state median income). In addition, DPH, DOE, and OCCS have criteria for 
identifying and serving children at risk, which should be aligned and factored into the 
eligibility criteria. A phased-in and incremental plan needs to be developed to align 
the eligibility criteria and bring consistency to the system. The Commonwealth's 
available financial resources and the waitlist that exists now for services at the OCCS 
under existing eligibility standards need to be considered as part of this plan. 

The Council recommends that: 

• the agencies work toward a goal of phasing in a uniform financial eligibility 
criteria for child care subsidies. 

• the agencies develop a joint definition of children at-risk for eligibility 
purposes. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 7 



3. Strengthen parent education and involvement 

Research indicates that effective parent involvement can serve multiple purposes. First, 
parents involved in early education and care programs are better informed consumers and 
are better able to monitor the quality of services their children receive. Second, for 
families at social or economic risk, parent involvement can build skills essential to 
success in the workplace and self-sufficiency. Third, and of equal importance, is the 
contribution of parent ideas, talent, and effort to the early education and care program 
that occurs through effective parent involvement. Based on the testimony received and a 
review of current efforts, the Council recommends a greater emphasis on parent 
education and involvement. 

a. Establish a Commonwealth policy regarding family involvement that describes 
meaningful roles and participation of parents in early education and care 
programs. 

Such a policy should build on the experiences of Head Start, Massachusetts Family 
Networks, Early Intervention, child care, family child care, and public school 
programs in working with families. As a resource, the DOE's Parent, Family, and 
Community Involvement Guide, which was developed by its Parent and Community 
Education and Involvement Advisory Council, will be used as well as other resources 
developed by the Early Intervention system's Parent Leadership Project, especially for 
Infant - Toddler programs. Programs receiving state funding will be required to 
demonstrate how they are implementing the policy once it is established. 

b. Develop a guidebook and expand training opportunities for parents on how they 
can nurture their children's development and education. 

A guidebook will be developed and made available in English and in the other 
languages most commonly spoken by families in the Commonwealth. In practice, the 
guidebook will be reviewed with families receiving state subsidies during an 
individual thirty-minute parent orientation session held as an integral part of the 
intake process between parents and intake counselors in child care programs. 
Counselors trained in child development will provide parents with information on 
what to expect at various stages of their child's development, how they can 
participate in their child's education, and what they can do to encourage their children 
to learn and grow. Documents such as the Department of Public Health's Growing up 
Healthy, the child health diary available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, may be 
used as a model and as a resource for health-related information and education. 

At the forums, the Council heard that families found the training opportunities offered 
through CPC councils, the CCR & R agencies, Massachusetts Family Network, 
Parent-Child Home, Early Intervention, and Healthy Families programs to be very 
valuable. Comments were also provided about the value of the parent involvement 
component in Head Start programs. The Council members will work to coordinate 
these and other related programs for families offered by their agencies and by Head 
Start. 



Massachusetts Eady Education and Care Council 8 



4. Create an effective data collection system to inform policy and 
program planning and development. 

Comments from the Council forums stated that more efficient collection of data was 
important to creating a better informed and more effective early education and care 
system. Data are essential to making sound research-based program decisions at the state 
and local levels. Opportunities exist to improve the sharing of data among the agencies 
on demographics, capacity, children in need of care, etc. The data can also be used for 
accountability purposes, evaluating program quality and outcomes, and tracking 
expenditures for state and federal reporting purposes. The Council's recommendations 
focus on better linkages among existing efforts and enhanced interagency coordination. 

a. Establish a single early education and care data collection system and increase 
shared responsibility for data collection across agencies. 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is developing an electronic child care 
information management system (eCCIMS) to track public spending on early 
education and care services. Goals for this system are to improve the management 
and the allocation of expenditures across agencies in order to maximize the use of 
state and federal revenues. The data will be sent to a database maintained by OCCS, 
via the eCCIMS system. OCCS will make the data available to the DPH, DOE, and 
local CPC councils, as appropriate and within privacy guidelines, in order to guide 
policy and program planning and development. 

Such a system also has the potential to evaluate the effectiveness of program services 
as children move from early education and care programs to the public schools. 
Currently, school-age children entering the Commonwealth's public school system 
are given a personal state assigned student identifier (SASID) that is used to track 
their progress throughout their public school career. This or a similar approach might 
be extended to the early education and care system. 

The Council recommends that: 

• the eCCIMS data system be piloted jointly by OCCS and DOE in late Spring 
2004 and phased in during FY05 and FY06. 

• mechanisms to extend student identifiers for children in early education and 
care programs be explored. 

b. Seek legislative language that will allow the DOE and OCCS to share data 
regarding the parents and children who receive services provided under programs 
funded by the Commonwealth for reporting, program implementation and 
evaluation, and policy development purposes. 

Currently, the CPC councils collect data on children and families to determine 
families' eligibility to receive subsidies and the level of assistance they are eligible to 
receive. The data are kept at each local CPC program, and monthly reports are sent to 
the DOE summarizing the number of children served by each program each month. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 9 



Pursuant to the state Fair Information Practices Act, G.L. c. 66A (FIPA), personal 
data regarding the recipients of government services may not be shared between 
agencies unless such access is "authorized by statute," or "approved by the data 
subject." Due to FIPA's requirements, annual parental consent and sign off has been 
needed in order for the CPC council to submit these data directly to the OCCS. 
Having state statutory language allowing the sharing of data across agency lines 
would reduce paperwork at the local level and insure more accurate data on the 
provision of services funded by the Commonwealth. 

5. Establish the appropriate balance between funding for direct service, 
quality enhancement, and administration. 

At the forums and through written comments, it was stated that direct service to children 
and training and education for staff were critical components of an effective early 
education and care system. The Council was asked to address the need for 
comprehensive services for children most likely to face barriers, including those with the 
most financial need, homeless children, those with disabilities, and those with other at- 
risk factors. Recognizing that some funds for administrative purposes were necessary, it 
was suggested that if the state could reduce duplicative requirements across agencies, 
more focus and funding could be placed on direct services for children and families, 
workforce development, and other quality related initiatives. The Council members kept 
these observations in mind in the development of their overall recommendations. 

6. Ensure the creation of a workforce system to support the education, 
training, and compensation of teachers. 

A qualified and experienced early education and care workforce is key to a quality early 
education and care system. The DOE's Early Childhood Program Standards, approved by 
the Board of Education in April 2003, call for newly hired early education and care 
professionals in private and Head Start programs receiving DOE funding to hold an 
Associate's degree, that includes 12 credits in early childhood education and a practicum 
or equivalent work experience in early childhood education, by 2010 and a Bachelor's 
degree, that includes 18 credits in early childhood education and a practicum or 
equivalent work experience in early childhood education, by 2017. Staff currently 
holding teaching positions would need to meet the higher requirements only if they move 
to a new program receiving DOE funding. Currently, approximately 25% of early 
education and care professionals in non-public school programs have an Associate's 
degree and 35% have a Bachelor's degree. 

There was public support for these higher education degree requirements. However, 
before further expanding these requirements, it was recommended that the Council also 
give consideration to alternative pathways for qualified professionals and to completion 
of a shorter-term certification program in early childhood development. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 10 



The Council makes the following recommendations: 

a. Develop core competencies that are integrated into coordinated professional 
credentialing and training processes for early education and care staff (public 
school and child care center-based staff). 

Training, whether preservice or inservice, should be based on core competencies. 
Core competencies are a set of essential knowledge and observable skills that 
individuals should know and be able to demonstrate in order to provide quality 
services to young children and their families. Early education and care core 
competencies are key to ensuring that coursework and/or professional credentials are 
linked to a specific body of knowledge. 

b. Establish opportunities for advancement along a career ladder. 

The Council supports the advancement of early education and care professionals 
along a career ladder. The Council will set guidelines for aligning credits offered by 
various professional development systems: Professional Development Points (PDP's - 
DOE), Continuing Education Units (CEU's - OCCS), Competency Education Credits 
(CEC's - DPH ). This alignment will be tied to the core competencies described 
above. 

Materials will be developed and disseminated to early education and care providers 
regarding the options for the early education and care workforce to improve their 
qualifications. The Council will collaborate with institutions of higher education and 
other partners to support scholarships, loans, and federal loan forgiveness programs. 

Strategies will be identified for providing coursework and training for staff in 
locations not convenient to institutions of higher education, staff whose work 
schedules do not allow attendance at institutions during the workday, or staff whose 
first language is not English. Such strategies could include the use of online courses, 
offering college courses onsite at child care and other local community facilities at 
reduced rates, and offering evening and weekend courses. 

c. Work with the Board of Higher Education to implement the newly established 
Early Childhood Education Transfer Compact between two- and four-year public 
higher education institutions. 

Professionals in early education and care frequently begin their education in two-year 
degree programs; however, credits earned at two-year institutions have not been 
accepted at many four-year institutions. The Board of Higher Education, through its 
Joint Admissions Steering Committee and the Presidents' Task Force on Teacher 
Education in Public Higher Education, has developed two statewide transfer 
compacts — one in elementary education and one in early childhood education. The 
purpose of these compacts is to facilitate transfer of credits by community college 
students into teacher education programs at four-year colleges. The working group 
that developed the Early Childhood Education Compact comprised education faculty, 
arts and sciences faculty, transfer administrators from all three segments of public 
higher education, representatives from OCCS, and child care providers. In addition 
to facilitating articulation into teacher licensure programs, the Compact enables 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 1 1 



candidates to qualify for OCCS lead teacher certification while in the process of 
completing the Associate's Degree. The agreements will be in force for students 
entering public institutions beginning in September 2004. 

The Council strongly supports this Board of Higher Education initiative and will 
work with the BHE to inform the field of this major accomplishment in support of 
furthering academic advancement in early childhood education. 

d. Ensure that any increases in the standard state rates for services are used to 
improve compensation across early education and care settings, including family 
child care. . 

The Council heard from many about the importance of improving compensation 
across early education and care settings. The average annual salary of a center-based 
early education and care teacher is $22,640. Currently, there is a 30% annual 
turnover rate in center-based child care programs. Having an improved compensation 
system would enhance workforce recruitment and retention in child care and Head 
Start settings and increase the quality of services provided. The Council will examine 
how future rate increases could be targeted to increased compensation. 

Closing 

In closing, the Council members reaffirm their commitment to working together to 
develop a comprehensive, high quality, accessible system of programs and services for 
young children and their families. Assuring high quality early education and care 
programs makes good sense for the Commonwealth because these programs help 
children enter school ready to succeed and are essential for working families. We see 
their value from the point of view of education, child care, and public health. 

Young children are eager learners. In a landmark report entitled Neurons to 
Neighborhoods, the National Academy of Sciences found that children are born "wired 
for feelings and ready to learn." Early experiences clearly affect brain development. 
Young children rapidly develop the foundation on which they will build their language, 
intellectual, and emotional capacities. 

In this report, the Council is making recommendations for bold actions to coordinate 
services and resources, streamline administrative procedures, and reduce fragmentation in 
Massachusetts early education and care policies and programs. We look forward to our 
agencies continued collaboration to help the Commonwealth's young children develop 
the skills, knowledge, and healthy habits that will serve them well for later success in 
school and beyond. 



Massachusetts Early Education and Care Council 12