January 16, 2013 ong>Declong>inong>esong> ong>inong> Spendong>inong>g onEarly EducationandCareong>inong> Massachusetts by Jeff Bernsteong>inong> Early educationand care is an essential resource for both children and parents. For children: Early education plays a critical role ong>inong> preparong>inong>g young children for success ong>inong> school andong>inong> life. In particular, low-ong>inong>come children who participate ong>inong> high quality care do better ong>inong> school, graduate more regularly, work more, earn more, and access other public benefits at a lower rate than low-ong>inong>come children who do not. 1 For Parents: Early educationand care makes it easier for parents to work, givong>inong>g them the support they need to seek and keep jobs, to improve their economic circumstances, and to provide for their families. This kong>inong>d of support has become even more important song>inong>ce welfare reforms of the mid-1990s, which encouraged welfare recipients to joong>inong> the workforce. Lookong>inong>g at trends ong>inong> state and federal fundong>inong>g for early educationand care programs ong>inong> Massachusetts, we fong>inong>d that: Song>inong>ce 2001, spendong>inong>g on early educationand care has fallen by 25 percent (adjusted for ong>inong>flation). As was the case for so many essential programs, fundong>inong>g for educationand care was constraong>inong>ed by a series of tax cuts between 1998 and 2002 that significantly reduced state revenue. More broadly, when we combong>inong>e spendong>inong>g for early educationand care with cash assistance—the other major source of support for lower-ong>inong>come parents—we fong>inong>d that total spendong>inong>g is $1 billion less today than ong>inong> 1995 (adjusted for economic growth). Welfare Reform Leads to Drop ong>inong> Fundong>inong>g for Low Income Families Prior to welfare reforms ong>inong> the mid-1990s, early educationand care was a relatively small piece of the safety net with cash assistance beong>inong>g the primary support for families receivong>inong>g Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). As figure one shows, ong>inong> FY 1995, after adjustong>inong>g for ong>inong>flation, the state provided $975 million for cash assistance while early educationand care 1 In his accompanyong>inong>g paper, Arthur MacEwan summarizes some of this research and documents the large economic benefits of early educationand care. See "Economic Gaong>inong>s from EarlyCareand Education" at http://massbudget.org/report_wong>inong>dow.phploc=gaong>inong>s_early_ed.html. MASSACHUSETTS BUDGET AND POLICY CENTER • WWW.MASSBUDGET.ORG 1 This research was funded ong>inong> part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. We thank them for their support but acknowledge that the fong>inong>dong>inong>gs and conclusions presented ong>inong> this report are those of MassBudget alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opong>inong>ions of the Foundation.