BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston is taking new steps to help fund universal childcare for the city's youngest residents.
Mayor Michelle Wu announced the city is investing $20 million to help expand Boston's universal Pre-K program. The funding will help increase the number of available seats for three and four-year-olds in the program, expand support for "community-based classrooms", make applying for grant funding easier, and integrate family child care providers into the system.
Mayor Wu said this new plan was a part of her commitment to becoming the most family-friendly city in the country.
"This is just the latest in a series of many steps we'll be taking to ensure that all of our youngest residents have access to high-quality, affordable early education and care," Mayor Wu said.
Under this new expanded plan, the program will increase the number of seats for three and four-year-olds to 992. Schools will now be funded on a per-classroom formula instead of the original per-student plan. The city will also partner with 20 family childcare providers to incorporate them into the universal Pre-K program.
"Often times it is our family-based centers that offer that can create more flexible schedules, that offer multilingual services and care for low-income and immigrant families, and help to diversify the care options across our city," Mayor Wu said.
Families interested in joining the Boston UPK program for the 2022-23 school year can apply now on the city's website. Only kids that are Boston residents and turned three of four on or before Sept. 1, 2022, can apply.