EDITOR’S NOTE: We have reprinted a Letter to the Editor from Jason Judd, Ed.D., executive director of Educate Maine, from Thursday, January 23 for your review and consideration. It also appears online at www.pressherald.com/2020/01/23/letter-to-the-editor-state-should-expand-child-care-options.
As your January 9 editorial, “Child care access is a Maine workforce issue,” points out: Today, too many working parents with young children must make a choice between spending a significant portion of their income on child care, finding cheaper but potentially lower quality child care, or leaving the workforce altogether to care for their children. Whether because of limited availability, high costs, or program hours that don’t work with parents’ schedules, child care challenges are driving parents out of the workforce.
Parents who are unable to find reliable child care are significantly less likely to be employed than those who do. The scarcity of child care imposes challenges making it difficult for parents to stay in the workforce, which exacerbates our shortage of workers and damages families’ economic security. Although these challenges affect all parents, mothers are also more often in low-wage jobs with nonstandard hours and inconsistent schedules.
Educate Maine is pleased that Gov. Mills recognizes this challenge and has made addressing Maine’s child-care crisis one of our 10-year economic goals. It is also key to Maine achieving its education attainment goal that 60 percent of adults have a credential of value by 2025. Greater access to quality child care will promote family economic security and spur economic growth. That is why so many people are uniting to urge legislators to prioritize quality child care, and to support proposals like L.D. 1760 – First4ME – to expand high-quality early childhood programs in Maine.