Impact of 2012-2013 Early Childhood Budget Cuts

2012-2013 Budget

Early childhood programs took a very large collective hit in the budget passed by Maine’s 125th Legislature and signed into law by Governor LePage in 2012.  Now, the waiting list for child care subsidy continues to climb, Head Start programs have reduced slots and the home visiting system is weakened despite new federal funds designed to strengthen and increase access to home visiting services.

Program 2011-2012 Funding 2012-2013 Budget (passed 5/15/12)  Reduction
Child Care  $4,242,236  $ 2,271,118  $(1,971,118)
Home Visiting  $4,171,383  $1,518,000  $(2,653,383)
Head Start                  $3,354,580  $1,354,580  $(2,000,000)

 

Head Start

Over the past four years state Head Start slots have decreased, with the most dramatic decrease due to the elimination of state Head Start funding from the General Fund in 2012. The General Fund expenditures were designed specifically to increase the total number of slots in Maine. The state Head Start funding that remains is from the Fund for a Healthy Maine (FHM).  A number of programs use the FHM money to extend the day and year of existing part-time federal slots.  As of September 2012, 217 state slots were lost this year.

EHS & HS slots* September 2009 September 2010 September 2011 September 2012
Federal

3387

3431

3375

3307

State

406

329

299

82

TOTALS

3793

3760

3674

3389

*EHS=Early Head Start (ages birth to 3); HS =Head Start (ages 3 to 5)

Data Source: ME Children’s Alliance and Council for a Stronger America (ME Chapter) survey of individual Head Start grantees.

 

Child Care Development Fund (CCDF)

The federal and state CCDF money is used in two ways in Maine.  Most is used to provide subsidies to low income working families who need child care in order to remain working and meet the program eligibility requirements.

CCDF funds are also used to increase the access to and the quality of the child care that is available to all Maine families. These resources are used to ensure licensing rules are implemented, provide training and technical assistance to all providers and consumer information and support for families.

A loss of $3.5 million combined state and federal resources have seriously limited the capacity to serve eligible families.  Although the originally projected loss was estimated at $5 million, DHHS can be credited with securing a state match amount that reduced the impact on this program. However, this budget cut still leaves Maine with limited resources to meet the needs of low-income working families.

CCDF State Federal Total
2011 Final Allocations

$4,681,574

$16,215,696

$20,897,270

2012 Allocations

$2,954,902

$14,376,513

$17,331,415

Difference

-$1,726,672

-$1,839,183

-$3,565,855

This reduction of resources is most significant in the increase of families on the wait list, and the drop of families currently receiving subsidy.  As of July 2012, 568 children were on the wait list.  As of October 2012, the list increased to 802 children.

The following table shows the participation rates from July 2012 – October 2012.

Number of  Children with a Child Care Subsidy
County

Jul-12

Aug-12

Sep-12

Oct-12

Androscoggin

293

270

255

254

Aroostook

88

86

88

77

Cumberland

492

494

483

461

Franklin

60

56

53

52

Hancock

76

72

68

60

Kennebec

289

268

248

235

Knox

56

50

47

47

Lincoln

62

51

52

48

Oxford

99

98

91

83

Penobscot

327

296

269

236

Piscataquis

14

12

10

13

Sagadahoc

72

59

63

54

Somerset

54

46

45

41

Waldo

68

64

61

58

Washington

85

70

63

57

York

302

278

262

258

TOTALS

2437

2270

2158

2034

Data Source: Maine DHHS Office of Child & Family Services.  Point in time data

 

Home Visiting

In the state budget of 2012-2013, the Maine Families program had its funding cut by $2.6 million. There was an assumption during budget negotiations that with the federal expansion grant Maine received, this reduction would have little impact on services.  The federal grant was awarded based on an extensive needs assessment.  The purpose of this grant was to strengthen the home visiting system and increase services to very specific populations and communities.  With the cuts in state budget, there will be no increase to services, and 750 families will lose eligibility.


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