How do I find a child care provider in Massachusetts?
For a list of licensed before and after school programs, go to the Office of Child Care Services or contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency at: 1-800-345-0131. For information regarding family child care options, contact Child Care Choices of Boston at 617-542-5437 or visit www.qualitychildcare.org.
Parents United for Child Care (PUCC) also has a printable checklist on what to look for in school age programming.
What can a Child Care Resource and Referral Agency do for me?
- Provide information about your child care options
- Provide advice/materials on how to find the right fit for your child and your family when choosing a child care setting
- Help you locate available child care in your area
- Provide information about financial assistance for child care, including determining if you are eligible for assistance
- Provide training and resources for child care providers
Am I eligible for financial assistance to help pay for child care?
Check the OCCS Web site's Eligibility Wizard to determine if you qualify for financial assistance. You may also contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.
How do I become licensed to provide child care?
In Massachusetts, to provide center-based, school age, family or residential care, you need an OCCS license. Learn more about how to apply for a license and the OCCS licensing requirements.
What should I do if I have concerns about my child's program?
If you have concerns about the care your child is receiving, you should first talk with your provider. If you feel that your issues have not been addressed appropriately, you may call OCCS to speak with the licensor for that program regarding regulations and whether you wish to file a complaint. If at anytime you feel that your child may be at risk at their program, you should contact OCCS immediately.
What is the process for investigating a complaint?
Concerns about a child's care may be reported to the Office of Child Care Services. OCCS investigates every report received and people who report their concerns can request to remain anonymous.
Depending on the nature and seriousness of the complaint, the investigation may be as simple as a follow up phone call or as complex as a multi agency investigation including law enforcement agencies. Each investigation is unique, but each is conducted with safety of children as the priority.
At the conclusion of an investigation, a report may be issued. In general, this report is public record and may be requested from OCCS. Information may be redacted that is not public information.
Who provides school age care in Boston?
The main school age care providers for children ages 5 to 16 in Boston are:
- Public and private elementary and middle schools
- YMCA branches
- Faith based organizations
- Housing development corporations
- Community centers
- Boys and Girls clubs
- Community organizations
- Family child care and day care centers
What does school age care cost?
While the market rate cost for 5-day/week after school care is $50-$125/week, many programs offer families some way of reducing the cost of care for their children. The main categories of subsidies for school-age child care are: vouchers, contracted slots, subsidies through the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), and various program subsidies.
- Vouchers - To see if you qualify for a voucher, and to get on the waiting list, call Child Care Choices of Boston at 617-426-8288.
- Contracted slots - To get a list of programs with contracted slots, call Child Care Choices of Boston at 617-542-5437. Then call the individual programs to ask about openings and/or waitlists.
- Subsidies through the DTA - Families who are eligible for, or who are currently receiving Transitional Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) from the DTA are entitled to a voucher for child care during work, training, or school hours. To apply for TANF benefits, call the DTA at 617-348-8500.
- Various program subsidies - Call individual programs to inquire. For a list of family child care providers, call Child Care Choices of Boston at 617-542-5437 and ask for providers who may be able to accommodate individual family needs.
How do I find a program for my child with disabilities?
The American Disabilities Act ensures that a child with special needs has the right to participate in any programs that are listed in the Guides to Before and After School Programs for Boston and Brockton. The following is a list of local organizations that can assist you find the right match:
- Federation for Children with Special Needs 617-236-7210
- Special Needs Parent Advisory Council 617-635-7810
- Boston Community Centers 617-635-4920
- KOALA program/GBARC 617-783-3900
- Child Care 2000/Office of Child Care Services 617-472-2881
- Disability Law Center 617-723-8455
- Parents United for Child Care 617-426-8288
For additional resources, call Parents United for Child Care at 617-426-8288 to request a copy of "The Greater Boston Guide to Inclusion Resources."
Transportation - How can I get my child to/from a before/after school program?
The Boston Public Schools are able to offer Alternative Transportation within the boundaries of your child’s school assignment zone. Contact the Boston Public School Transportation Department at 617-635-9520 to confirm that the zones of your school and after school program match.
If there is an existing school bus route from your child’s school with a drop off near or at your child’s after school program, you can apply for an Alternative Drop Off for your child, regardless of whether your child is not normally assigned a bus route because your home is sufficiently close to your child’s school. Contact your child’s school principal or the Boston Public School Transportation Department at 617-635-9520 for more information on filing the form and the typical turn-around time.
Boston Public School Alternative Transportation is not available in the morning.
How can I find homework help or tutoring for my child?
Most of the programs in the Parents United for Child Care database offer some type of homework assistance and academic enrichment. Go to www.pucc.com for details.
The FAQ is from Parents United for Child Care (PUCC) and the Office of Child Care Services (OCCS). Contact PUCC during normal business hours at 617-426-8288 with additional questions.