Legislators in Augusta are considering a bill, L.D. 1774, known as LIFT, that will reduce child poverty by providing more opportunities to help set up Maine families and children for success, and help provide the educated workforce needed by Maine businesses to grow our economy.

We all want our children to have the chance to live healthy and productive lives, but not all families have the same opportunities to achieve this. Too many parents work hard but still struggle to provide the basics, such as housing, heat and food for their families.

Experiences like hunger and homelessness disrupt children’s development, educational success, and later earnings, too often leading to a lifetime of hardship. Since 2011, the rate of children living in deep poverty decreased nationally by 4.2 percent, while it increased in Maine faster than anywhere else in the nation.

LIFT will help improve the lives of Maine families and meet Maine’s workforce needs by tapping into underused federal resources to increase access to education and training for adults receiving SNAP (food assistance) benefits. It would also open up access to the Parents as Scholars Program to help low-wage working parents successfully complete a post-secondary degree or credential. Supports like child care, transportation and coaching would help ensure success for these parents. These educational opportunities will provide a pathway out of poverty with increased wages, will give children a chance for a bright future, and will help rebuild Maine’s shrinking workforce.

Let’s urge Maine legislators to support L.D. 1774 to offer a better future to all.

Christina Rusnov

Winslow


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