At a time when Maine needs to attract and retain workers, businesses are missing out on workers who lack access to affordable, reliable, high-quality child care. Many high-quality centers, including Head Start programs, are losing educators to positions in other sectors where a less stressful job awaits with equal or better pay.

Maine’s Head Start programs serve over 3,000 at-risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers in programs across the state. The early educator workforce shortage makes it challenging for us to maintain continuity of care in our classrooms (for children to have the same teachers all day and throughout the year).

All children, and particularly those impacted by adverse childhood experiences, develop and learn best in settings with familiar, caring adults, whose education and training allow them to meet children where they are at. When experienced early educators leave the field, it has impacts beyond classrooms; communities too feel the impact of fewer high-quality programs to serve their children.

We need policies such as those proposed in L.D. 1584 that focus on professional supports to recruit and retain educators.

 

Cristina Salois

Whitefield


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