As someone who works for an organization led by Maine business executives and the mother of a toddler, I read with great interest a recent article, (“10% of Maine child care centers closed during the pandemic, threatening ‘the workforce behind the workforce,’ experts say,” Aug. 22). I appreciate the public discussion about the broad and important impact our child care workforce has across Maine.

A strong child care system is critical for many reasons: developing a child’s learning and social-emotional skills, preparing them for success throughout school, and serving as a safe place for kids while their parents work. High-quality child care programs can alter the trajectory of a child’s life in some cases, giving them a strong start that puts them on a solid path.

High-quality child care programs also can determine whether a parent can work and provide for their family. They impact the strength and size of Maine’s workforce. Maine’s child care system, including its workforce, is an important part of the foundation on which Maine people, families, communities, and the state can build success and a bright future.

Maine has made significant investments in child care and early learning that are helping build a stronger system. Further investments are critically needed to support, strengthen, and expand child care access in Maine and bolster the child care workforce.

Maine kids, families, workforce, employers, and Maine’s economy as a whole depend on child care. It is key to meeting Maine’s workforce goals and securing economic success, especially as we all work to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — one of them being an exacerbated workforce shortage.

I appreciate the article bringing to light Maine’s child care crisis and the urgency that surrounds it. The impact is wide and deep. Resolving it must remain a top state priority.

Katherine Johnston

Gardiner

Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives

Educate Maine

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