High quality early education and care must be a top priority in Maine. As an early childhood educator working with 1-to-3-year-old children at a center in Maine, I write in response to a column about high quality child care (Sun Journal, Jan. 14). I am concerned about the direction Maine could be headed.

The Health and Human Services Committee of the Maine Legislature is considering three proposals — LD 1423, LD 1474, and LD 765 — that will decrease the quality of programs available to parents, allow businesses to legally take advantage of parents desperate for child care and put children at risk.

At a Jan. 17 public hearing, LD 1423 sponsor Rep. Nathan Libby stated that we need to “attempt to balance the interests of child advocates and those of childcare providers.” That is an interesting statement. I would return that all childcare providers should, in fact, be child advocates.

However, his statement highlights the reality that those two are not always the same people. Some in favor of those bills want to characterize everyone in childcare as all heart — never putting profit first — and never making poor choices at the expense of child safety. If that were true, childcare facilities would never be closed due to child abuse and neglect.

To only rely so heavily on their goodwill is a foolish mistake that puts the most vulnerable at risk. Safe regulations are needed.

Katherine Wright, Harpswell

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