Natalie is a multiracial single mother raising a young son with autism in the greater Boston area. In my job at Economic Mobility Pathways, I work with women like her to help them advocate for themselves and other families struggling to make ends meet. Recently, as Natalie told me a story about having to choose between paying for child care or being evicted, I imagined what her life could look like if she had her son five years from now.
In that version of the future – if a bill currently before the Massachusetts Legislature passes this year – the child care landscape for the families EMPath works with would look radically different. Following a phase-in period of five years, the law would establish a system of affordable, high-quality early education and care for children up to age 12. For the women we coach on their journey to economic independence, this would be nothing short of life changing—especially since Massachusetts ranks second in the US for most expensive child care costs.