The Maine Association for the Education of Young Children (MEAEYC) is dedicated to improving the well being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age eight. MEAEYC is the Maine affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC and its affiliates are recognized and acknowledged as the leading advocacy voice in the early childhood community.
The MEAEYC Public Policy Brief was developed to inform the 2013/2014 legislative session. Information contained within the brief results from the 2013 MEAEYC member survey and the work of both the MEAEYC public policy committee and the MEAEYC board of directors.
Increase Access to Quality Care: MEAEYC supports increased subsidies that will allow more children the ability to attend high quality early childhood settings. Members surveyed identified the ability to pay for the full cost of childcare as the #1 barrier to families’ access to quality childcare. Family education of the standards of quality care is also a priority for MEAEYC members.
Increase Funding to Support Quality Improvements in Programs: MEAEYC supports increasing the investment in early childhood including low interest loans for capital improvements and increasing the financial benefits for programs meeting higher standards of quality as measured by Quality for ME- Maine’s Quality Rating System. Members surveyed identified the lack of financial support to sustain/maintain quality as the #1 barrier to improving the quality of their programs. Other issues for MEAEYC members included a lack of available training and additional supports related to quality improvement efforts.
Equitable Wages Based on Level of Education/Experience: MEAEYC supports financial awards based on levels within the Maine Roads to Quality Provider Registry. Members surveyed identified the #1 issue related to provider compensation was that wages do not adequately reflect education and experience. Member cited concerns around families’ ability to pay for the cost of child care as related to this issue. Additionally, the lack of incentives such as pay scale increases further related to the issue of equitable wages.
Improve Professional Development Opportunities: MEAEYC supports the increased investment in scholarships for early care and education professionals and ongoing professional development opportunities which correlate to quality improvement within programs. Members surveyed identified the #1 issue related to challenges for professional development as the lack of scholarships and financial assistance available. Members also cited a lack of variety of professional development opportunities which corresponded to experience.
Support Children’s Mental Health: MEAEYC supports investments in programs that provide mental health and crisis services for the children and families in Maine. Members surveyed identified family crisis as the #1 issue contributing to a child’s well being closely followed by mental health needs and child care placement in low quality settings.
Support Family Involvement: MEAEYC supports investments which allow families to become active participants in the education and well-being of their children. Members surveyed identified family schedules as the #1 barrier toward creating strong provider-family relationships closely followed by a lack of awareness related to the benefits derived from strong partnerships.