Maine’s Child Care Programs Receive Additional Federal Funding
$8 Million Will Go Towards Improving Quality, Expanding Capacity
In the midst of the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus crisis, parents in Maine may find some relief in knowing that, once the child care situation is back to normal, Maine will have an additional $8 million to help improve child care capacity and quality across the state.
Every year, partner organizations Fight Crime: Invest In Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation ask Congress to increase funding for the federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to assist more low-income working parents with their child care needs. At the end of December Congress did just that – passing a $550 million increase for CCDBG.
This means Maine will receive approximately $8 million in new CCDBG funding.
OCFS Director, Todd Landry, presenting child care updates to the Maine Children’s Caucus in the State Capitol
Using the recent needs assessment and strategic plan completed under the federal Preschool Development Planning Grant, DHHS’ Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) has shared plans for how this new funding will be used to best meet the specific needs of Maine children and families.
OCFS’s plans include, first, expanding infant and rural child care by waiving fees and providing $1 million mini-grants for new or rural child care providers. Second, OCFS plans to improve child care quality by providing a subsidy to providers who participate in the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), and by financially assisting and incentivizing providers to improve their ratings. Finally, OCFS is expanding child care capacity by, for example, setting aside $2 million to help ensure Maine continues to provide child care subsidies without a waiting list for the program.
All of these actions are ones the Right from the Start Coalition – which Kim Gore, the Maine Director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation, co-leads along with three key partners – has recommended to Governor Mills and her administration. Fight Crime: Invest In Kids, Mission: Readiness and ReadyNation are proud of the role they played in helping to make these child care improvements happen.
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