A message from Strategies for Children Board Chair Paul O’Brien
Over the past eighteen months, the health crisis has highlighted so many inequities in so many of our systems. It has also raised broad, concrete awareness of how critical and integral the early education and care sector is to our economy and to the future of this Commonwealth. Many of the challenges that we have faced over the years and worked together to address have been magnified over the last year.
We continue to be inspired by the dedicated and resilient early childhood workforce and its commitment to solving problems, building partnerships, and providing high-quality learning experiences under incredible circumstances.
The childcare crisis has been “seen” and made real to the general public, with babies and young children joining work zooms, stories of parents quitting or turning down jobs due to lack of stable childcare and program administrators, educators and family childcare providers responding to stay open and support children and families.
We have an opportunity to build back stronger – to reimagine a better early education and care system that works for all. The resiliency of the Commonwealth is dependent on the improvements we make today.
It is time to make systemic change.
In that spirit, Strategies for Children (SFC) has adopted a new four-year strategic plan. Our plan is informed by the unique moment facing the early education and care sector as it continues to struggle from the economic and health impact of COVID-19. The plan brings a more strategic, bold, intentional focus to our work. This cohesive vision will sharpen our focus for greater impact and organizational sustainability in the years ahead.
Our key roles going forward will be:
- Research, analyze, distill information
- Convene, build community and relationships
- Communicate and share information
As part of the strategic plan roll-out, we are delighted to announce Amy O'Leary as Strategies for Children’s Executive Director. As leader of the organization, Amy will continue in many of the key roles she has excelled in for the past several years. She will manage our overall advocacy and policy strategy, legislative engagement, and field support. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has led SFC's support efforts including hosting daily "9:30 calls" for the early education and care field. Amy is a highly skilled and widely respected leader in Massachusetts and nationally, and we are fortunate to have her leading our team into the future.
We offer our sincere thank you to Chris Martes for having served as President and CEO of SFC from 2014 to 2021. During this time, Chris led strategic planning efforts, recruited new Board members, balanced SFC's budget, mentored our staff, and ensured the overall health and viability of the organization up to and through the COVID-19 pandemic. Chris will remain as a Strategic Advisor, providing ongoing guidance to SFC's staff.
We are also delighted to announce new roles for Titus DosRemedios, now Deputy Director and Marisa Fear, now Associate Director of Research and Policy. Together with Amy, Titus and Marisa will execute all core functions of policy, partnerships, and advocacy. We plan to add additional staff in the coming months to further strengthen our organizational capacity.
Our team’s tireless efforts and advocacy leadership, in partnership with numerous early childhood stakeholders, have resulted in historic levels of public funding and relief for the childcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic: $296 million in state budget increases, and $686 million in federal relief funding to-date.
While we have seen historic public support, we still have work to do to create the system that all young children, families, and educators deserve.
In the months and years ahead, we will pursue a common agenda and common data for all stakeholders in the field, while building a more robust, statewide advocacy support infrastructure for the early education and care field.
How can you help?
For starters, be sure to update your information in our constituent email database. If you have a preferred email address, or if you have moved recently, please let us know.
Bookmark our website: www.strategiesforchildren.org
Subscribe to our Blog: Eye on Early Education
Find us on Facebook and Instagram. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Sign up to join our daily “9:30 calls” with early educators, advocates, and other stakeholders.
And, get ready to advocate! We have never in our 21-year history seen a time with so many challenges and opportunities alike. Strategies for Children is here as a resource for you, to help you have greater impact in your advocacy for high-quality early education and care.
Thank you for your support. We look forward to our continued partnership.
Paul O’Brien, Chairman
Strategies for Children Board of Directors