On Thursday, May 7, 2015, the Health and Human Services committee held public hearings on four bills that would increase Maine’s investment in early childhood. LD 552, An Act To Provide Funding for Home Visiting Services, sponsored by Rep. Joyce Maker (R-Calais) would provide $2.2 million to support Maine Families, the state’s home visiting program.
Rep. Maker testified about the importance of investing early and assisting young parents, saying, “Maine Families shows how prevention, education and timely intervention work to transform lives.”
Rep. Aaron Frey (D-Bangor) introduced LD 977, An Act To Improve Child Care in the State, which would provide $2.2 million in additional state funding to support childcare for working parents. This investment would be matched with $3 million in federal dollars and enable more parents to access quality childcare.
In his testimony, Rep. Frey said, “We know that quality child care makes a significant difference in a child’s learning and development. These investments pay off for children and families in the short term and for all of us in the long term.”
Noting that Head Start in Maine only reaches 28% percent of eligible children in Maine, Rep. Carol McElwee (R-Caribou) introduced LD 1054, An Act to Provide Funding for Head Start Services Rep. McElwee shared her visit to the Head Start site in Caribou with HHS committee members. (Read more about Rep. McElwee’s visit here).
“During this experience, I observed well-trained, caring teachers and staff interacting with, teaching, and nurturing the social, emotional, and cognitive development of each and every child under their supervision,” said Rep McElwee. “Maine needs a better amount of these high-quality, early learning experiences for more Maine children.”
Rep. Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook) is sponsoring LD 1267, An Act To Assist Working Families with Young Children, which would invest $12.4 Million in Head Start, Maine Families, and childcare. Rep. Gattine told the committee “comprehensive early care and education is essential for preparing Maine’s children, all ofMaine’s children, for their future.”
The Health and Human Services committee will hold a work session on these four early childhood bills on Thursday, May 14 at 1 PM.