Posted in Legislation

Update on First 4 ME / LD 1760

Bridget Barden, the Vice-Chair of FCCAM and Chair of FCCAM’s Public Policy Committee was able to attend the recent public hearing on LD 1760 “An Act to Support Children’s Healthy Development and School Readiness” and provide in-person testimony expressing FCCAM’s support of this bill.

This bill creates the First 4 ME Early Care and Education Program under the Department of Health and Human Services to provide comprehensive, high-quality early child care and education services for at-risk children under 6 years of age who have not entered kindergarten and the children’s parents by funding projects that integrate comprehensive resources and services with traditional center-based and family child care settings.

Here is the testimony:

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.

If you missed our previous post sharing a provider’s experiences with Elevate ME, a program in the Skowhegan area that First 4 ME is modeled after, click here.

You can stay informed on legislation that impacts child care through informational posts on this website, through FCCAM’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and in the “Public Policy” section of the top menu.

Posted in Legislation


You might have heard that there is going to be a hearing on Thursday, Feb. 13th in August on LD 1760 / First4ME a public-private partnership model for early care and education and workforce development. 

The bill is modeled after the national Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships. Maine currently has a partnership between the Maine Early Learning Investment Group (MELIG) and Educare Central Maine (ECM) that follows the model. MELIG’s selected the Skowhegan community in Somerset County, as its first Elevate Maine partnership initiative. Its objectives are to elevate early education to the highest in standards and practice, to elevate student achievement for optimal success in school and beyond and to elevate the quality of Maine’s workforce. 

While we can read the language of the bill and research it’s background, it’s nice to be able to hear a first hand experience from a fellow provider that has participated in this type of partnership model.

Chrissie Davis, the Chair of the Family Child Care Association of Maine (FCCAM), has been a provider for the Home Start/Elevate Maine pilot project in Central Maine for 5 years. Here is a brief look at her thoughts about her engagement with the pilot.

I am so thankful that I decided to participate in Elevate Maine. I have developed a wonderful professional relationship with my Coach who comes to my home weekly to support my work with children, their families and my professional development. I receive support for curriculum implementation, child assessments, child nutrition, understanding stages of development, supporting children’s individual needs, strategies for learning environment organization and children’s behavior management, to name a few. My Coach also assists me in working with parents to strengthen the home-school connection and assist them in understanding the complicated state child care subsidy system. I also receive additional financial support for indoor and outdoor materials and supplies and have access to specialists in education, health, nutrition, disabilities and family engagement. Elevate Maine has offered connections to other family and center Providers through joint learning communities. In short, Elevate Maine supports all facets of quality, professionalizes FCC, and helps us develop our small businesses.

More Providers and the children and families they serve should have access to similar supports to promote the health and school readiness of children and grow a quality workforce.