I was pleased to read Sen. Rick Bennett’s column (“Parents cannot work without quality child care, and that is an economic problem for all of us,” March 27) pledging bipartisan legislative support for the pending $12 million for child care workers in Maine.

Having visited high-quality early learning programs like Promise Early Education Center, I have seen firsthand the amazing job teachers do with infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Never has this been more true than during the pandemic, when child care providers worked even harder and longer hours so that police officers (myself included), other essential workers, and employees from all sectors could go to work with the peace of mind that their children are in good care.

Maine needs more early educators like them, so that every child has the foundational experiences of high-quality early learning.

As Auburn’s police chief, I’d like to share that high-quality early learning can also make our communities safer by helping to reduce later crime. As the recent research report that Sen. Bennett cited highlights, young children who participate in high-quality early-learning programs are more likely to start kindergarten with the skills needed to be successful in school, stay in school, graduate from high school on time, go on to post-secondary education and work, and avoid involvement in crime later in life.

For the prosperity and safety of our communities, it is critical that more of Maine’s youngest children have the strong start they need and deserve through high-quality early childhood education. It is a fiscally wise and sound investment that helps us create safer communities with more successful kids and adults.

Jason Moen, Auburn chief of police

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