Thank you for your Jan. 9 editorial making the point that the lack of affordable, high-quality early care and education is not just a problem for Maine families with infants and young children. We all need to be concerned about its impact on Maine’s economy today, as well as its implications for developing our future workforce.

On the Federal Reserve of Boston’s recent visit to Maine, they reported on a survey of parents that found over 50 percent feeling not fully comfortable with their child care arrangements. How can these parents then be fully engaged at work? Meanwhile, other workers forgo employment opportunities altogether, because of the cost and lack of available quality early care.

Of course, quality early learning environments are also critical to the healthy development of young children. We need to ensure that infants and young children in Maine have what they need to grow to their fullest potential as students, workers and citizens.

Increasing access to early care is complicated: Early care providers are poorly compensated, yet parents cannot afford to pay more. Solutions require a comprehensive approach that addresses the needs of children, families, early educators and communities. Luckily, the Legislature is considering a bill in this session that will do just that. I encourage readers to learn about and support First4ME (L.D. 1760).

Stephanie J. Eglinton

executive director, Maine Children’s Alliance


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