I was thrilled to see coverage of the current child care crisis here in Maine with the March 14 PPH article, “Child Care Providers Say Industry Needs constant financial support to survive.”
As a child care educator and parent of a young child, I have seen the problems on both sides of the coin. Last June, as Program Director, I closed a daycare center in South Portland, largely due to the ongoing challenges of running a program during the pandemic. Programs are still closing, and those that remain open are facing staff shortages, operating below capacity, and experiencing high levels of stress and turnover. As a result, families like mine struggle to find affordable, quality child care and have to leave the workforce to care for young children.
Most of the issues the child care industry continues to face during the COVID-19 crisis were not created by the pandemic, but have been significantly exacerbated by it.
Now, more than ever, the impact of low salaries for educators, the high cost of care for families and the difficulties of accessibility and availability of programs are glaring. Parents and educators are hurting, and while I’m glad to see state support for child care here in Maine, we’re going to need more to create long-term positive change.
High quality early education and care are truly the backbone of our society and we need to fund them accordingly. Our children, our families and our educators deserve nothing less.