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State awards $7.5M in grants to improve child care sites

July 20, 2021 GMT

Massachusetts has awarded $7.5 million in grants to help child care facilities renovate buildings and address safety concerns related to COVID-19, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday.

Grants of up to $250,000 were awarded to 36 organizations that primarily serve low-income families. It’s part of an annual grant program with the Children’s Investment Fund charity. This year the focus is on making capital improvements needed during the pandemic.

“Our administration is pleased to support childcare providers across the commonwealth who have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to care for children and support families returning to work,” Baker said in a statement.

The Early Education and Out of School Time grants are financed through the state’s capital budget, with matching funding from private investments. More than $200 million has been awarded since the program began. This year’s funding amount is the largest ever.

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The funding is meant to improve learning environments for children who often spend more than 40 hours a week in early learning and after-school programs. About 80% of children served by grant recipients come from low-income families.

“With these critical investments, we can help child care providers, serving low-income communities, improve their facilities in order to boost quality and provide young learners with resources to succeed in the classroom and beyond,” Education Secretary James Peyser said in a statement.

This year’s grant recipients include the YMCA of Greater Boston, East Boston Social Centers, the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club and other child care sites across the state.