The Governor also took a walking tour of downtown Gorham and visited a 4-H learning center in Bridgton as part of her visit to Cumberland County today.
CUMBERLAND COUNTY – Governor Janet Mills today highlighted the importance of expanding child care services in Maine during a visit to the Creative Explorations Child Development Center in Windham.
The Maine Department of Labor has identified the lack of affordable child care as a barrier preventing parents from entering and remaining in the workforce. To address the problem, Governor Mills is investing $25 million through her Legislature-approved Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help renovate, expand or build new child care centers and expand early childhood education programs. childhood.
Last month, the governor also signed into law a supplementary budget that will provide monthly stipends of $200 to more than 7,000 child care workers in Maine, continuing the stipends his administration began providing last year. as part of a larger effort to attract and retain people to work in this valuable profession.
“Maine’s current and future workforce depends on accessible and affordable child care. Not only do working parents need a safe place to send their children during the day, but research shows that successful early care and education programs can improve academic achievement and even graduation rates. of high school,said Governor Janet Mills. “With our new budget and my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, we are expanding access to child care and giving working families what they need to provide their children with healthy, safe care that allows them to thrive. go to work, bring home a paycheck and strengthen our economy.
Creative Explorations provides child care for up to 85 infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children in the greater Windham area. Creative Explorations received more than $23,000 in economic stimulus grants from the Mills administration to help it maintain operations during the pandemic, and now its 19 employees are receiving monthly stipends of $200. During the visit, Governor Mills met with staff and children and discussed her administration’s efforts to develop quality, affordable child care for Maine children and their parents.
Additionally, Governor Mills is making other historic investments in accessible child care in Maine, including the first-ever Maine Child Care Plan (PDF) developed by the Office of Child Care Services. and Family Foundation which invests approximately $120 million in US relief funds to help children in Maine. restoring the child care system and improving the quality, accessibility and affordability of long-term child care services.
These investments build on the Mills administration’s efforts to support Maine families’ access to child care before and during the pandemic, including helping low-income parents who receive subsidies by waiving their contribution to child care costs, distributing $10 million in federal CARES Act funding directly to providers through stipends and grants, and making available $8.4 million in relief funds against coronaviruses to reimburse providers for business costs related to COVID-19. The state also maintains the Child Care Choices Websitewhich allows families to locate and contact providers in their area.
The Governor also visited Gorham and Bridgton while in Cumberland County as part of her efforts to travel across the state to meet with local businesses and community leaders. Earlier this week the Governor visited Sagadahoc County and last week she visited Piscataquis County.
The Governor took a walking tour of downtown Gorham, stopping at local businesses including Erin Flett Textiles and Home, Carters Green Market, Carter’s Auto Service, Aroma Joe’s, Lux Beauty Bar, Goodfellas Barbershop. The governor also visited Gorham Police Chief Chris Sanborn.
Governor Mills also toured the Maine Department of Inland, Fish and Wildlife Wildlife Park in Gray with Rep. Sue Austin (R-Gray).
She also visited the Magic Lantern Innovation Lab and Learning Center in Bridgton, which was acquired by the Maine 4-H Foundation and became a 4-H Learning Center last year. The center, which is run by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, provides a creative activity hub for rural youth in Maine’s Lake District, with an overarching goal of increasing affordable educational opportunities for youth. rural areas of western Maine.
Tonight, Governor Mills will join Maine Behavioral Healthcare, a member of the MaineHealth Network, for the opening celebration of the Glickman Lauder Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. The new center triples Maine Behavioral Health’s ability to serve individuals and their families through a continuum of care from inpatient to outpatient. The center serves Maine families, generates new models of treatment and research, and trains the next generation of professionals. The Governor’s Supplementary Budget invests nearly $65 million to strengthen Maine’s behavioral health system.