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GBLS advocates for improved child care policies

Chanice was so buried in bills in 2017 that she took on part-time work at a taxi company in addition to her full-time job answering phones at a Boston community health center in hopes of digging herself out.

Still, she staggered under the weight of the copayments she was expected to contribute for state-subsidized child care. With more than $2,100 in overdue child care bills, the young Roxbury mother lost her day care spot for her son. Then she lost her job. After experiencing more setbacks, she became homeless.

“You can’t work without child care,” she said.

Chanice’s experience is far too common for working poor parents in Massachusetts, advocates say. Poor families in Massachusetts with state-subsidized day care still pay, in proportion to their income, the highest child care fees in the nation. Greater Boston Legal Services is petitioning the state Department of Early Education to revise its child care fee schedule and its policy of terminating parents who fall behind on payments, which they argue is illegal.

“Federal law permits disqualifying someone for fraud, but living in poverty and falling behind is not fraud,” said Sarah Levy, a senior attorney with the organization. The legal group is representing 24-year-old Chanice. Read more in the Boston Globe.