I am writing in response to a Feb. 6 column about the importance of early childhood licensing rules. The column was specific to home-based child care; however, right now the Health and Human Services Committee of the Maine Legislature is considering multiple proposals that will affect all early care and education programs.

As a small-business owner and passionate child advocate, I am troubled by several of the proposed changes that strip away regulations. Approval of this legislation would send a clear message that the state of Maine is more concerned with the quantity of available child care openings versus the quality and safety of the program being offered or the caliber of the individuals with whom we entrust our state’s most precious resource, our children.

As a professional educator for nearly 30 years, I have taken every opportunity presented to inform and educate those around me of the value of my work with children. Many of the changes being suggested in the proposed legislation do nothing to improve quality and further undermine the significance, value and impact of my work with children and families in the state of Maine.

I respectfully suggest that if we would like to see change in the early care and education community, whether center-based or home-based, that we begin to regard work with children and families with veneration and appreciation. It is only then that we will see growth in the industry as a whole. If legislation is passed that does not respect the children it seeks to serve, how then are parents and the general public supposed to respect our work? It seems clear to me that reducing the regulations governing licensing requirements will simply erode the few bits of credibility our profession has in society.

Karen Bruder

North Yarmouth

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