Our current child care dilemma in Maine demands attention. Too many parents are struggling to find affordable child care so they can work, and their children can be well-cared for. We need to increase access to child care that meets both the needs of working parents and the developmental needs of their children.

For children to reap the positive benefits of early child care experiences, those experiences must be high quality, too. Unfortunately, it costs more for providers to create high-quality learning environments for children.

This puts us in an impossible situation: children’s healthy development depends on high-quality early care, but providers can’t afford to offer it, knowing parents can’t pay what it really costs to operate these high-quality programs.

To increase the number of high-quality, affordable child care opportunities, we need community-based solutions that incorporate the public and private sectors, like that proposed in L.D. 1760, currently being taken up by the Legislature. This model takes a holistic approach to the child care crisis, by providing better pay and training for early child care educators and making the cost affordable for parents without sacrificing quality of care.

By investing early in Maine’s children, and by offering more opportunities for high-quality, affordable child care, we can ensure today’s workforce can confidently leave their children in care and focus on work, while the next generation of Maine workers can grow and thrive in positive early learning environments. That is a benefit to us all today, and in the future.

 

Margaret Leitch Copeland

Bath


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