A new law aims to improve childcare in Maine and make it more accessible to low-income families.
It's an incredible hurdle for many parents, which was compounded by the pandemic. Childcare is expensive and not always easy to come by. But this new law aims to remedy that challenge. It's based on a successful program in Somerset County that's modeled after the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership. Maine will now be able to create up to five additional programs across the state, which would be sponsored by coalitions of stakeholders, providers, and other community members.
Gov. Janet Mills says the lack of high-quality, affordable childcare often prevents parents from taking new jobs and/or moving to Maine's more rural communities.
With this new law, and the important game-changing funds in the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, we can break down that barrier and give working families what they need to provide healthy, safe child care for their kids that allows them to go to work, bring home a paycheck, and strengthen our economy.
Through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, Governor Mills has proposed investing $20 million to help communities renovate or build new child care facilities and expand early education programs. This money will be combined with nearly $120 million in federal funds through the American Rescue Plan for child care and another $8.4 million via Federal block grants. The hope is to not only create places where children can be cared for but also to educate them and prepare them for their school years.
Parents can find available child care facilities near them through an online database.