I fully support the Common Start legislation currently making its way through the Massachusetts State House. That legislation will provide livable wages to the childcare workers who do such important work. It will raise reimbursements to the providers who employ those workers so they can afford to keep their doors open.

In addition, it will provide affordable early childhood education from birth to age 5, which studies indicate are the most important years for children, so they will be more ready to start school when they go to kindergarten. Within 5 years of implementation, the goal is to reduce the costs of childcare to no more than 7% of a family’s income.

Common Start will give our grandparents a break from having to provide childcare that their children cannot afford. I know of a retired couple who have 21 grandchildren, and they take care of several of those children virtually every day during the week.

They never complain about the help they provide to their children. However, wouldn’t it be great if our state government provided that help so parents, especially women who have had to drop out of the workforce during the pandemic, could return to work, and grandparents could fully enjoy their retirements?

I look forward to passage of the Common Start program, and hope that legislators will support the bill’s vision by providing significant new funding in this year’s budget to help stabilize the child care system and make it more affordable.

Richard M. Drolet, New Bedford