This fall is a great time to reach out to your representatives and talk to them about early care and education policies in Maine. Give them a call, send an email, and/or ask for a meeting.
We hope you will encourage your lawmaker to support
- Fingerprinting as part of comprehensive background checks for early childhood educators
- A consultation program to support educators and promote social and emotional learning
- Increasing reimbursement rates for child care centers serving families who qualify for child care subsidy
Require fingerprinting as part of comprehensive background checks for all early childhood educators
In 2017 the Joint-Standing Committee on Health and Human Services heard testimony on a comprehensive background check bill, requiring fingerprinting of all early childhood educators. The bill was carried over, which means it was not passed and will come up again in the next legislative session, beginning in January 2018.
Some important points you can make about why fingerprinting is so crucial for safety and why you support this policy:
- It’s our responsibility as adults, and as leaders, to foster the healthy development of children. It is also our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure their health and safety.
- Currently, Maine is not complying with the federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), criminal background check provision.
- Maine educators working in elementary, middle, and high school are already required to undergo fingerprinting.
- Supporting this requirement for educators from birth to preschool helps protect our youngest and most vulnerable children in Maine.
Promote Social and Emotional Learning and Development in Early Childhood
A voluntary early childhood consultation program would provide support and guidance to early care and education teachers working in public preschools, child care centers, and family child care programs, serving children who are displaying challenging behaviors that put them at risk of learning difficulties and removal from early learning settings.
Some important points you can make about social and emotional development and a consultation program that supports educators:
- A child’s need for a strong social emotional foundation in the first years of life is paramount. Children will not be able to learn at their full potential until that happens
- Early childhood mental health consultation develops connections between and supports both early care and education providers and parents of young children
- We can lessen early childhood expulsion, support and retain teachers, and improve the care of Maine’s children
Increase Reimbursement Rates for Child Care Services
In Maine, when a family qualifies for child care subsidy, they must find a child care program that accepts children on subsidy. Currently, many programs do not, because the reimbursement the child care provider receives from the state does not cover the cost of care. This year the state raised the reimbursement rates for family child care providers, which is wonderful. The rate has not gone up for child care centers. It is important that we establish reimbursement rates that are at least equal to the 75th percentile of local market rates for child care services.
Some important points you can make about why we need to raise the reimbursement rates for child care centers who are serving children on child care subsidies:
- Increasing the reimbursement rate will increase the availability of quality childcare for families.
- Currently, many programs are unable to provide care for families on subsidy as reimbursement rates do not cover the cost of care.
- In the current system, payments are not made in a timely manner and this is not feasible for a small business like a child care center
Please call or email your state senator and representative in support of best practice and legislation grounded in health and safety for children.
Don’t know who your representative is and/or want a quick way to look up their contact information? http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/voter_lookup.php
Maine House of Representatives http://legislature.maine.gov/house/townlist.htm
Maine State Senate https://legislature.maine.gov/senate/find-your-state-senator/9392
Emails to contact members of the Health & Human Services Committee, who debate and vote on early care and education policies.
Sen. Brakey (Androscoggin): Eric.Brakey@legislature.maine.gov
Sen. Hamper (Oxford): James.Hamper@legislature.maine.gov
Sen. Chipman (Cumberland): Ben.Chipman@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Hymanson (York): Patricia.Hymanson@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Perry (Calais): Anne.Perry@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Madigan (Waterville): Colleen.Madigan@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Denno (Cumberland): Dale.Denno@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Parker (South Berwick): Jennifer.Parker@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. McCreight (Harpswell): Joyce.McCreight@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Sanderson (Chelsea): Deborah.Sanderson@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Malaby (Hancock): Richard.Malaby@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Head (Bethel): Frances.Head@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Chace (Durham): Paul.Chace@legislature.maine.gov