It has been heartening to see policymakers coming together to support Maine’s child care workforce, which is so critical to other workforces – including mine here at the Scarborough Police Department, other emergency responders and nearly all employment sectors across Maine.

These workers are the heart and soul of high-quality child care programs. As highlighted in the recent commentary in your newspaper by business leaders Steve deCastro and Quincy Hentzel (Maine Voices, March 24), the child care workforce is essential to parents being able to go to work with the confidence that their infants, toddlers and preschoolers are well-cared-for and safe. Those of us in law enforcement also know that these programs can significantly reduce the chances of a child growing up to become delinquent or involved in later criminal behavior.

The research featured in the recent research report discussed in the commentary tells us that not only are the first five years of life critical to a child’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development, but also that kids who participate in early learning programs are significantly less likely to commit crimes as they grow older.

The $12 million in wage supplements for child care workers in Maine’s pending supplemental budget deserves continued broad support from policymakers. This investment in Maine’s child care workforce is an investment in a key piece of essential infrastructure in all our communities and will also build a stronger, safer future for all Mainers.

Mark Holmquist
chief of police
Scarborough

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