Testimony of Bridget Barden On Behalf of the Family Child Care Association of Maine Before the Committee on Health and Human Services Regarding LD 1760 “ An Act to Support Children’s Healthy Development and School Readiness”
13 February 2020,
Senator Gratwick, Representative Hymanson, and distinguished members of the Health and Human Services Committee, My name is Bridget Barden, and I am the Vice-Chair of the Family Child Care Association of Maine. I am here today on behalf of our membership to ask that you support the passing of LD 1760 An Act To Support Children’s Healthy Development and School Readiness.
We believe that strong communities are built on strong foundations and those foundations are made when communities have a stable, sustainable workforce. In order to support families and their children, we believe that quality, accessible child care is a pillar of that foundation. The current lack of affordable, accessible, and quality early care and education programs is hurting our communities. Parents are tasked with leaving their children in care that they deem to be substandard or are being forced to leave the workforce to stay home and care for their children. Parents leaving the workforce can have a trickle down effect on the economy of our communities.
LD 1760 offers communities the opportunity to define themselves and their goals to support quality early care and education. Allowing each community to define what supports they need and how they can attain them gives this bill a unique capacity to support programs of all sizes, types, and demographics.
Family child care providers can find access to professional development opportunities to be challenging, as they work long hours, often alone. The framework of LD 1760 offers a coaching model, which allows for specialists to come into their homes to help support them in their own professional development plan. Having a specialist come to their programs ensures that they are able to offer quality child care to the children in their communities.
With the ever present need for early educators in our state, family child care offers an opportunity for not only more people to become early educators, but also to become business owners, which adds to the economic development of their community. When children are adequately prepared for school, the whole community benefits.
Thank you for your time and attention to this bill.
Bridget E. Barden