Executive Order on Inclusion of Daycare Facilities

Dedicated Funding Streams & Financing


  • Physical Space and Facilities

Boston, Massachusetts

In 2022, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu signed an Executive Order on Inclusion of Daycare Facilities (IDF), which helps expand access to high-quality child care options throughout the city. For the previous 30 years, the IDF zoning regulations had required certain large developments to build child care programs on-site or contribute to the creation of off-site child care programs by contributing to a fund that supports and enhances child care across the city. The amount of each child care contribution had been subject to negotiation, resulting in inconsistencies in enforcement.

The 2022 executive order instead establishes a transparent formula for developers to adhere to, based on a Boston Planning and Development Agency assessment. In turn, their contributions are directed to a child care fund (instead of creating child care programs), providing a stable funding source for the City’s Office of Early Childhood to expand high-quality child care programs. As of May 2023, about 3 million square feet of development was under review, which is expected to generate an estimated $3.5 million in contributions to the child care fund. The Office of Early Childhood will use this money to expand high-quality child care programs and services in high-need areas of Boston by issuing grants to providers and providing training and technical assistance opportunities.


City of Boston. (2022). Executive order issued to strengthen child care zoning regulations.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

Stable, robust funding is essential to expanding and improving early education. Unlike K-12 education, early education has historically been supported through a fragmented – and largely insufficient – set of federal, state, and local funds. Research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality approach to early education across the mixed-delivery system – and for better financial and professional supports for the educators who serve children and families each day; creating dedicated funding streams can therefore help states and cities address these needs and achieve these goals.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
  • No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
  • Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
  • Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.
Learn more about ELS@H findings

Learn more about Boston

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Learn More About Boston
  • The city population is 654,776
  • The percentage of children under age 5 is 4.8%
  • The median family income among households with children is $77,600