A Study of the Massachusetts Child Care Voucher System

In 2005, under the auspices of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (then the Bessie Tartt Wilson Children’s Foundation) and with a generous grant from the Barr Foundation, a team of researchers conducted a study over a twelve-month period to evaluate the effectiveness of the voucher system in Massachusetts with a particular focus on welfare vouchers and the challenges in implementing the system.

MA Child Care Voucher System Study


Keeping the Promise: A Study of the Massachusetts Child Care Voucher System” resulted in four strategic recommendations for consideration and implementation by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care:

  • Lengthen the certification period of child care vouchers to one year;
  • Support families, ease the administrative burdens they face;
  • Increase reimbursement rates as a means to enhance quality and reduce administrative burden for providers; and
  • Strengthen the resource and referral function of R&Rs.


The first recommendation- focused on lengthening the voucher eligibility period from six months to one year- was implemented in October 2006. As a result, the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children has had a dramatic impact on the lives of over 64,000 children and working families in the Commonwealth who are being served by childcare centers and family daycare providers, or who are currently on waiting lists.

Building on this record of success, BTWIC began research on the early education workforce and their impact on children’s early education. This research led into the formal Early Education Workforce Study.