There are multiple groups that are working for children and families in Maine. Some work for just one viewpoint, others are focused on one topic, others are very broad. Some share stakeholders, board or council members. Some work alone while others collaborate. It’s important to have some understanding of the various groups that are discussing issues in early childhood education and the child care system in Maine. Just what are their purposes?
Let’s start with 3 groups that have connection to the Legislature.
- adopt a long-term plan for sustainable social and financial investments to support Maine’s young children and their families.
- update that plan
The last plan was provided the public in 2012: Invest Early for 2020: Building the Foundation for Maine’s Future. A new plan was to be presented in early 2019.
The public is welcome to attend meetings and add their voice to early childhood issues in Maine. Members of MCGC are appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President, as described in the Maine State Law on MCGC Statute.M
2) Child Care Advisory Council was established, by statute, to advise the Legislature and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding issues in child care in Maine. Advise on child care policies that are to be coordinated among state agencies. These policies are to promote quality, uniformity and efficiency of service.
Here are links to the last 3 annual reports provided to the Legislature as CCAC is charged to do annually.
- Report to 127th Legislature, Jan 2016 (PDF)
- Report to 127th Legislature, Jan 2015 (PDF)
- Report to 126th Legislature, Jan 2014 (PDF)
The 2016 Report to the 127th Legislature contained these recommendations:
- Develop a unified child care subsidy system.
- Establish a baseline of information that will be captured for license exempt caregivers receiving child care subsidies.
- Research and address access barriers and other reasons for under-utilization of the child care subsidy system.
- Develop common definitions across child care subsidies.
- Develop coordinated data systems.
- Establish and maintain quality and accountability
- Develop active consumer education campaigns that ensure eligible families are aware of the subsidy resources and have knowledge about the quality components of child care that are known to positively impact child development.
- Develop and implement an online application that is easy to locate and navigate.
- Reduce paperwork burden by lengthening the recertification period.
- Strengthen child care subsidy payment practices and policies to ensure equal access to quality learning environments for children with a child care subsidy and the recruitment and retention of a qualified child care workforce.
- Minimize wait times for subsidy authorization (from application with all necessary documentation).
CCAC meetings are held on the 1st Friday of every month, from 9:00-12, at The MECEP office, One Weston Court Suite 3, Augusta, ME 04333 and the public is welcome.
3) The Maine Legislative Children’s Caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral, issues-based caucus. Caucus membership is limited to the legislature. It is not a children’s cabinet. Children’s cabinets typically include membership from the executive branch, agencies, advocates and the legislature.
Maine’s caucus does not promote or propose legislation. It’s primary role is to inform and educate legislators about issues related to early childhood and child development. Different national and state experts are brought in for each session to provide current and relevant information.
Rob Grunewald, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who explained the positive economic impact of quality early education presented at the first 2019 session.
The current chairs of the Maine Legislative Children’s Caucus are: Sen. Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth) and Rep. Sawin Millett (R-Waterford).