Posted in Legislation

New Child Care & Early Education Reconciliation Proposal for Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Funds

Hopes of enacting the child care plan passed by the House vanished when talks over Build Back Better collapsed in the Senate in December. Federal advocacy efforts by many national stakeholders with an interest in child care continued. Those efforts have lead to the investments in support of child care and pre-k being included in the federal budget reconciliation package the Senate is now discussing.

MaineAEYC has a letter of support that will be sent to Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King. You can SIGN ON HERE.  The body of the letter follows:

“Maine has made important investments in child care educators and expanding child care for families in this year’s state budget. However, Maine, on its own, cannot make the transformative expansions needed to make affordable, high-quality child care accessible for every family, and make strides toward paying the child care workforce a wage that is representative of the skills and responsibilities for caring and educating the state’s youngest population. Child care is an issue that greatly impacts Maine residents, and crosses geographical, economic, and social demographics.

Maine has experienced a 19% decrease in its number of child care educators since 2019 and 141 providers have closed permanently. Even among the providers that have reopened, many are operating at reduced capacity, due to COVID-related precautions and/or staff shortages.

The average median child care wage is $29,000 a year placing the workforce among the lowest earners in Maine and bottom 2% of earners across the U.S. When early care and education programs can’t keep qualified teachers,  children, families and the economy suffer.

Child care is one of the largest monthly bills for families with children with an average cost of around $800 per month ($9,600 per year) for one child in a program in 2021, making child care unaffordable for nearly all Maine families. This crisis has only grown during the Covid 19 pandemic, exacerbating an already untenable situation for working families.

In Maine, 22% of all residents live in a child care desert. Child care supply is especially low among certain populations, with 26% of Hispanic/Latino families, 26% of rural families, and 38% of low-income families living in areas without enough licensed child care providers. In Maine, 77% mothers of young children participate in the labor force.

We need Congress to act swiftly to address the child care crisis in Maine through the budget and reconciliation process. We can’t continue to invest in one part of the system at the expense of the other. Investments must value the role of the early childhood educators by raising compensation and benefits, support quality in programs, and address the high costs for families. We must reject the notion that children’s education and development is only worth investing in once they enter a public school. The overwhelming amount of research we have to show that children’s brains develop at a faster rate in the first five years, is a reason alone to invest in quality early learning experiences.

We ask you to not only support these investments but to be a champion for all Maine’s children, families, and early childhood educators. We can make high quality early childhood education affordable and accessible for all Maine’s children and families while also building a child care workforce that is well compensated for the highly skilled work they do.”


Here is a quick look at the child care and early education proposal recently released by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) for inclusion in the
federal budget reconciliation package.

* Triples the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to increase funds to all states.

* Uses CCDBG to fund Supply and Compensation Grants to all states to expand child care supply, improve facilities, and raise compensation for early childhood educators.

* Pilots a Child Care and Development Expansion program for 6 years.  

*  Invests in High-Quality Preschool Grants.

*  Invests in raising wages for Head Start teachers.

Here are more resources about the Murray/Kaine proposal: 


Maine is estimated to receive $26,374,167 annually to invest in increasing access and quality, $8,791,389 annually for wages and supply building for a total of $35,165,556 additional CCDF funding every year for 6 years. 

Author:

FCCAM works to unify, promote and strengthen quality professional family child care in Maine. We understand the critical role of child care providers in the lives of children and families. Through collaboration with other organizations we work to increase awareness of our profession and the value of a strong child care system to Maine's diverse communities.