Maine’s 15 YMCA serve thousands of children in our early childhood education programs, before/afterschool programs, and summer camp.

These programs provide children with safe, nurturing and enriching care, and are a critical component of our state’s infrastructure to support working parents and our economy.

Unfortunately, the child care system is under incredible strain. The Ys, like many providers, have extensive waitlists of families trying to access care for their children. This leaves parents to make incredibly hard decisions around placing their children in unlicensed care, cutting back their work hours, or leaving the workforce altogether.

Despite our best efforts, the system is failing Maine families.

The child care system needs public investment to meet Maine families’ needs. LD 1726, “An Act to Build Maine’s Economy by Supporting Child Care for Working Families,” provides a pathway for addressing some of the biggest challenges facing families with young children and the providers who serve them.

First, it makes critically needed improvements to the child care subsidy program, which helps low-income families access child care so parents can work.


Second, this bill doubles the monthly wage supplement for child care workers. Recruiting and retaining qualified staff has been an incredible challenge for us, and directly impacts the number of children we can serve.

Ninety percent of a child’s brain develops as early as 5 years old, and positive early learning experiences establish strong foundations for the brain’s architecture.

Ensuring that all young children have an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development is a long-term investment in Maine’s future prosperity.

Tina Jennings, Auburn-Lewiston YMCA director of community and youth engagement

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