Child Care & Early Education

Click here to see the latest trainings for child care providers offered by the SEIU Education & Support Fund!
Child Care Membership Application Graphic

Massachusetts family child care providers and early childhood educators have united in SEIU to:

  • Help Massachusetts families access quality child care
  • Recruit and retain a stable workforce of family child care providers that children and families can depend on
  • Enhance the quality of family child care by providing support and incentives for further education and training
  • Give Massachusetts family child care providers a voice in improving the early education and care system.

Resources and Links for Child Care Providers:

Local Union Representatives

William Cano | | 617-584-1222
Western MA, Central MA and Merrimack Valley (including Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill)

CONGRATS to our new leadership team!

The results are in! With all votes tallied, SEIU Local 509 members have elected our next leadership team. Peter MacKinnon will serve as president of our union, alongside Israel Pierre as our treasurer and Ivette Hernandez as our recording secretary. (See below for more details about our many election results.)

Local 509 takes pride in our long-held reputation as a thoroughly democratic union. All members are encouraged to participate by supporting candidates of your choice, submitting amendment proposals, nominating colleagues for leadership positions or running for office yourself.

Nominations for these leadership positions were accepted on October 15 as a record number of human service workers and educators gathered in Westborough for the Local 509 Annual Meeting. In that gathering, we learned more about how we’re building our strength across Massachusetts, met with some of the Commonwealth’s leading elected officials. Dozens of us also stepped up to take action in support of the Fair Share Amendment, Fight for $15, and a host of other important causes.

It has been an exciting year for our union, with a promising string of victories in our new organizing efforts, contract negotiations and on the broader public policy front. We look forward to seeing how these leaders will build on recent organizing and contract victories to set a future course for our union and the communities we serve.

Congratulations to our newly elected leadership team!

Candidates will officially be sworn into office at our December 13th JEB meeting held at our union headquarters.

Click here to for a summary of votes cast in contested races.

Click here for the 2016 Election Guide (PDF).

Click here to full screen the detailed spreadsheet below (Google Spreadsheet).

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Exciting Opportunity for Childcare Providers // Oportunidad Exitosa para Proveedores de Cuidado Infantil

New partnership with DCF offers short-term childcare to kids in need

We are happy to announce the creation of a new pilot program that would allow Family Childcare Providers to provider short-term emergency childcare to DCF children awaiting placement. For several months, our union leadership team has been working with representatives from the Department of Children & Families and Department of Early Education & Care to develop the program — and we are excited to launch this important pilot initiative.

The Commonwealth has agreed to pay providers $35.00 per day to provide emergency childcare. Providers do not need to obtain referrals from Child Care Systems or CRR&Rs for this program — children will be referred directly from DCF, and payments will be made directly to you from the state.

Click here a detailed memo on this program from DCF.

The pilot program will take place the following areas — and providers who are interested in participating in the program or in learning more should contact DCF staff listed below:

Springfield Area
including Belchertown, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, East Springfield, Granby, South Hadley, Hampden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Palmer, Springfield, Ware and Wilbraham 

Worcester Area
including Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Bolton, Boylston, Brookfield, Clinton, East Brookfield, Grafton, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leicester, Millbury, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Oakham, Paxton, Princeton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Spencer, Sterling, Warren, West Boylston, West Brookfield and Worcester

Lowell Area
including Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough and Westford 

Dorchester/Boston Area
including Allston, Brighton, Brookline, Chinatown, Dorchester, Dorchester Center, Downtown Crossing, Faneuil Hall, Financial District, Four Corners, Grove Hall, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, North End, Roslindale, Roxbury, South Boston and Upham’s Corner

New Bedford Area
including Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven and New Bedford 

Providers who are interested in participating in the program or in learning more should contact Tara Diorio-Thomas at (617) 748-2293 or email Tara.Diorio-Thomas@MassMail.State.MA.US

If successful, there is an expectation that the pilot program will be expanded throughout the Commonwealth. So please be sure to reach out to Tara to indicate your interest — she can connect you with the appropriate local contact.

As always, If you have questions about union programs, or would like to learn more about the union and how to become involved please contact your union representative:

William Cano:  or 617-584-1222
Western MA, Central MA and Merrimack Valley (Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill) 

Ninfa Breton:  or 617-312-8195
Greater Boston (East Boston, Malden, Everett,  Chelsea), Southern MA and North Shore (Lynn, Revere, Gloucester, Salem)

Nueva colaboración con DCF ofrecen cuidado infantil a corto plazo para niños que lo necesitan

Estamos feliz de anunciarles la creación de nuestro nuevo programa que le dará el derecho a los proveedores de cuidado infantil que ofrezcan cuidado infantil a corto plazo para los niños en DCF quienes están esperando un puesto. Por varios meces nuestro liderazgo en la unión a estado trabajando con representantes del Departamento de Niños y Familias y el Departamento de la Educación temprana para poder desarrollar el programa- y estamos felices en comenzar esta iniciativa. 

El estado se apuesto de acuerdo que le va pagar a los proveedores $35.00 dólares al día para que le proveen cuidado infantil de emergencia. Los proveedores no necesitan obtener referencias del sistema de cuidado infantil. Los niños serán referidos directamente de DCF y los pagos van hacer directamente del estado. 

Haga clic aquí para obtener la nota detallada de DCF sobre este programa.

El programa va a estar en estos sitios — y los proveedores quienes están interesados en participar en el programa o en aprender mas deben de contactar los trabajadores de DCF listados aquí abajo:

Área de Springfield
incluso Belchertown, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, East Springfield, Granby, South Hadley, Hampden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Palmer, Springfield, Ware y Wilbraham 

Área de Worcester
incluso Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Bolton, Boylston, Brookfield, Clinton, East Brookfield, Grafton, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leicester, Millbury, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Oakham, Paxton, Princeton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Spencer, Sterling, Warren, West Boylston, West Brookfield y Worcester

Área de Lowell
incluso Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough y Westford 

Área de Dorchester/Boston
incluso Allston, Brighton, Brookline, Chinatown, Dorchester, Dorchester Center, Downtown Crossing, Faneuil Hall, Financial District, Four Corners, Grove Hall, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, North End, Roslindale, Roxbury, South Boston y Upham’s Corner

Área de  New Bedford
incluso Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven y New Bedford 

Los proveedores que estén interesados en participar en el programa o en aprender más deben comunicarse con Tara Diorio-Thomas: (617)748-2293Tara.Diorio-Thomas@MassMail.State.MA.US

Si tiene éxito, esperamos que este programa se expanda en todo el estado. Así que por favor asegúrese de contactarse con Tara para indicar su interés — ella los puede conectar con el contacto local apropiado.

Como siempre, si tiene preguntas acerca de los programas sindicales o desea obtener más información sobre el sindicato y cómo participar, comuníquese con su representante sindical:

William Cano:  o 617-584-1222
Western MA, Central MA y Merrimack Valley (Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill) 

Ninfa Breton: o 617-312-8195
Greater Boston (East Boston, Malden, Everett, Chelsea), Southern MA y North Shore (Lynn, Revere, Gloucester, Salem)

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Vote ‘No On 2’ to Save Our Public Schools


The election is just a few days away and public school students across Massachusetts need your help!

As you may know, parents and educators are in locked into a fight with out-of-state billionaires who are trying to take over our public education system by passing Question #2 on Tuesday’s ballot. Local 509 is standing with thousands of concerned teachers and parents in asking that you VOTE NO ON QUESTION #2 so we can maintain our public schools and say no to unaccountable charter initiatives.

Pulls show a dead-even campaign on Question 2 with momentum on our side, so every conversation, door knock and phone call makes a big difference! Join Senator Elizabeth Warren, Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and over 200 school committees from across the state in voting NO on Question 2.  

Want to take action in the final days of this campaign? Contact Deputy Political Director Calvin Feliciano to get involved!


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509 on the move | 509 en movimiento

Moving Notice_580pBeginning Monday, September 19, the SEIU 509 headquarters has relocated to 293 Boston Post Road West in Marlborough, Mass. Click here for new contact information for Local staff and elected leaders.

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DNC Update 7/25: Spotlight shines on child care; Henry speaks on behalf of SEIU members

Rousing speeches by Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders drove home messages of unity and of putting families first on the Democratic National Convention’s first day. Former President Bill Clinton speaks Tuesday night, as do the “mothers of the movement”—including the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.

Panel explores public demand for child care reform:

SEIU along with The Hill, Make It Work Action, American Women, and the Domestic Workers Legacy Fund hosted a panel discussion on affordable and quality child care, paid leave and equal pay. They were joined by former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and others.

Panelists mentioned that these issues affect the economic security of all families, not just women. They went on to discuss the public demand for affordable, quality child care policies that also pay a living wage and the need for public investment now.

Tonia McMillian, SEIU Local 99 Executive Board member, joined the panel and expressed one of the many reasons why she is fighting for child care reform:

“Like the parents of the children we care for, child care providers need at least $15 an hour so we can keep our doors open and make ends meet. We’re talking to our friends, family and neighbors to make sure we elect candidates who will raise wages for child care providers and make child care affordable.”

Check out the SEIU Storify for photos and other social media posts from the DNC.

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Early Childhood Educators’ Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision in D’Agostino v Baker

For more information, contact: Jason A Stephany, (617) 286-4430,

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Early childhood educators released the following statement today regarding the United States Supreme Court decision not to hear arguments in D’Agostino v. Baker   a case that threatened to roll back major gains in early education and child care throughout Massachusetts. The statement is attributable to Felix Martinez, a veteran early childhood educator from Springfield, Massachusetts.

“Through our union voice, early childhood educators have raised wages, expanded teacher training, and won major investments to ensure Massachusetts parents and children have access to quality care.

Today’s decision gives peace of mind to the thousands of working families who depend on these critical gains.”

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SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including more than 3,500 early childhood educators and child care providers in home-based settings. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational opportunities from early learning to higher education. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. 

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Boston Globe | Putting Early Education Front and Center in Mass.

Full story here.

By Shirley Leung, Globe ColumnistPreschool Breakdown Feature

House Speaker Bob DeLeo is done talking about the value of preschool education. It’s time to get it right in Massachusetts.

This week DeLeo began meeting with a group of business leaders to develop a plan on how the state could increase not only access to early education but improve quality. His goal: Come up with a set of recommendations that can be turned into legislation or new programs by the next budget cycle.

More than expanding charter schools, reforming preschool could be one of the most important education initiatives for the Commonwealth in decades. Study after study indicates that kids who are schooled at an early age graduate from high school and college at higher rates than those who do not. They are also less likely to abuse drugs, end up in jail, or rely on public assistance.

Yet in the fight for scarce public dollars, early education has been low on the priority list, overshadowed by the needs in K-12 and public colleges.

“We’re so worried about kindergarten and up, but we’re really not setting forth the foundation for education,” DeLeo told me in an interview Wednesday at his State House office. “In talking it through, I found that we really weren’t paying enough attention to early education.”

Even though Massachusetts was the first state to create a department of early education in 2005, rolling out universal preschool has been more complicated than anyone thought. Of the nearly 225,000 children who are between 3 and 5 years old in Massachusetts, about 30 percent remain unschooled, according to advocacy group Strategies for Children. 

Of those in a preschool, only a quarter are in a publicly financed program. That means, by and large, kids in preschool are from families who can foot the bill at a private center, which at an average cost of $12,800 a year is the most expensive in the country.

DeLeo sought out the business community, knowing they would get it. Good preschools are an investment in the future workforce, and give working parents peace of mind. What he didn’t expect was the response.

“The enthusiasm, I have to tell you, was surprising to me,” DeLeo said. Business leaders “felt they were missing out on an opportunity to correct something.” 

Executives have been out front on lifting the state cap on charter schools, pushing for more math and science courses, and creating workforce development partnerships at community colleges. Early education — which encompasses programs and schooling for kids 0 to 5 — hasn’t been high on the agenda. 

“My experience is that early education and care have been important to the business community, but it hasn’t never beenanyone’sNo. 1 issue,” said JD Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. “It takes leadership and a champion.”

That’s where DeLeo and Jay Gonzalez come in. Chesloff’s group began taking a closer look at the issue earlier this year at the urging of Gonzalez, chief executive of CeltiCare Health and a former administration and finance secretary under Deval Patrick. After Gonzalez went into the private sector, Patrick appointed him chair of the state board of early education and care. Gonazlez served only a year before Governor Charlie Baker appointed a new chair, but Gonzalez’s time on the board made a lasting impression.

“This has become my favorite issue,” said Gonzalez, who is a member of the roundtable. “This is the most formative point in the person’s life — 90 percent of brain development happens before age 5 — yet it’s a time in the life when we as society are doing the least.”

After reading studies on how early education can close the achievement gap and increase chances of success in careers and quality of life,the roundtable’s board voted in March to make early education one of its issues.

The roundtable was among more than a dozen business groups, including the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and the Alliance for Business Leadership, that gathered Wednesday in DeLeo’s office to strategize about early education.

DeLeo himself got interested in the topic two years ago, intrigued by similar studies that had caught the eye of roundtable members. 

“The one that really got to me was the fact of lower incarceration rates,” said DeLeo. A study that has been following low-income children in Chicago for two decades found that those who attended preschool and full-day kindergarten experienced a 22 percent reduction in felony arrests and 28 percent reduction in jail time.

The speaker decided he wanted early education to be one his priorities this year, and has already included an extra$10 million in the House budget to improve programming and help boost the salaries of preschool teachers.

All the buzz about early education has been focused on the concept of preschool for all. DeLeo wants to refocus the idea on quality, which hinges on retaining teachers. Early education primarily consists of private sector and nonprofit providers, and public subsidies are directed to these centers so low-income children can enroll. 

Early education teachers are paid on average about $25,000 a year, while public school teachers earn a starting salary of roughly $45,000, which explains why the annual turnover rate among early educators is about 30 percent. 

“You can have world-class standards, you can have a world-class curriculum, but you want to make sure you have the strongest workforce possible,” said Tom Weber, the state commissioner of early education and care. “The early education workforce is the delivery system.”

Weber tells me the state has learned a lot in the decade since it created a department of early education. A better preschool system will be about getting providers to increase wages for early educators, while trying to build scale so more children have access.

It won’t be easy, but at least everyone knows what’s at stake. It’s an important moment for early education in the Commonwealth, which makes DeLeo and the business community’s timing impeccable.

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Early Educators’ Statement on Special Interests’ Latest Attack on Mass. Parents, Children

Veteran early childhood educator Marites MacLean of Fitchburg, Mass. released the following statement on the National Right to Work Committee’s latest attack on local parents and children. In a petition filed May 4, the corporate-backed special interest group asks the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the unanimous rulings of several lower courts — effectively rolling back years of progress made by Massachusetts parents and providers.

“Thousands of children and parents depend on the work we’ve done through our union to improve the quality and affordability of early education in Massachusetts. We’ve won millions of dollars to expand access to early education, raised wages to keep talented educators in the field, and improved standards through new training and professional development opportunities. If anything, we need more parents and educators standing together, not fewer.

“I can’t understand why a national special interest group would want to roll back the progress we’ve made for local families, but no judge has found any merit in their arguments so far. We have no reason to believe the court would change course now.”

For more information or to speak with affected educators and families, contact Jason A. Stephany at or (617) 286-4430.

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Sentinel & Enterprise | Child Care Cost Crunch

Marites MacLean reads a story to her day-care students at Children First Family Childcare in Fitchburg recently. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / ASHLEY GREEN

Marites MacLean reads a story to her day-care students at Children First Family Childcare in Fitchburg recently. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / ASHLEY GREEN

Report: In Mass., the bill is even higher than – gulp – college

It’s usually nice to be No. 1, but not in this case. Massachusetts was recently recognized as having the most expensive child care in the country, not including Washington, D.C., based on a report, and is more expensive than the one cost families usually fear most – college.

“It’s an important issue,” said Thomas Weber, commissioner for the state Department of Early Education and Care. “Sometimes it’s the most significant cost burden families face.”

Average annual fees for full-time care in a center for an infant in Massachusetts are more than $17,000, compared to the average annual tuition and fees for in-state public four-year colleges at nearly $11,000 based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

For a single parent with an infant in a child-care center, an average of 63 percent of income goes toward child care. Center-based child-care costs in the Northeast exceed other household expenses including housing, transportation, food, health care and college tuition, costs that can vary throughout the state depending on location.


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New College Degree Roadmap for Early Educators | Nuevo Camino para Diploma Universitario para Educadores Preescolar

Map_GraduateIf you’re thinking about going back to school, now is the right time to visit the Early Educator’s  Roadmap  to a College DegreeCreated by our partners at the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (BTWIC), the Roadmap is an online tool for early educators that brings together information about searching for and applying for degree programs.

Materials have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Chinese — so be sure to take a look at the updated Roadmap and share it with your colleagues!

Want to learn more about the path to a degree? Click here to sign up for an upcoming webinar today.

Si estás planeando en retomar tus estudios universitarios, ahora es el momento adecuado para visitar el Mapa de ruta (Roadmap) de un educador primario hacia el título universitarioCreado por la Iniciativa de Bessie Tartt Wilson para los Niños (BTWIC), la Hoja de Ruta es una herramienta en línea para los educadores de infancia temprana que reúne información sobre la búsqueda y aplicación de programas universitarios.

Ha sido traducido al español, portugués, criollo haitiano y chino — asegúrese de echar un vistazo a la hoja de ruta actualizada y compartir con sus colegas!

¿Quieres saber más acerca de la ruta de acceso a un grado? Haga clic aquí para inscribirse en un próximo seminario de hoy.

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