Child care in our communities is among the nation's costliest
Parents in Middlesex (that includes Newton and Watertown) and Norfolk (Needham and Wellesley) counties pay the third highest childcare prices in the nation, according to new data from the Department of Labor.
"Driven largely by a shrinking number of open child care slots and shortages of staff who are often paid very low wages, findings from the Labor Department suggest that the costs are exacerbating the worker shortage," Prignano writes.
"In counties with high child care costs, there were fewer women in the workforce, the report found, even when accounting for the higher wages typical of places with a steep cost of living."
Only families in Arlington County in Virginia and San Francisco County in California pay more than our parents here.
So why is Needham blocking a childcare center?
In the midst of a childcare shortage, why did the Needham Planning Board appear to do everything it could to stop a 40-year-old daycare business from moving into a new facility?
It’s hard to interpret the three-year battle by Needham Children’s Center and developer Needham Enterprises, LCC to build a new facility at 1688 Central Ave. as anything more than an effort by the board to side with NIMBY neighbors.
That includes, it turns out, two of the planning board’s five members. (One member recused herself. The other didn't, reportedly with the consent of town counsel because the law requires four votes, and that would only leave only three board members to deliberate.)
Beyond that, it’s not clear why the board became involved to the extent it did anyway. First, there's the state’s Dover Amendment which exempts daycare facilities from certain zoning restrictions. Plus there's the fact that the project fell under the size of a special project review, or that the use is allowed "by right" in the town’s zoning anyway.
Nevertheless, they persisted.
The Needham Children's Center proposal was originally submitted in the spring of 2020. After two years of questionable postponements and other delays, Needham Enterprises finally received “approval” last March.
The select board member is now taking the planning board members to land court, leaving the town's taxpayers to foot the bill to defend a conflict-laden planning board ...in the middle of a childcare crisis.