Child care in Maine is getting more expensive; while the governor jeopardizes its safety and federal funds that help parents pay for it

April 14, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015

 

A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute concluded that child care is staggeringly unaffordable for Maine families. Yet Governor LePage’s recent action jeopardizes federal funds that help low-income families pay for child care while also undermining measures to protect Maine kids’ safety.

Child care 4-14-2016 graphicThe facts are shocking:

  • Infant care in Maine costs more per year than in-state tuition for 4-year public college.
  • Infant care for one child would take up 16.8%of a typical family’s income in Maine.
  • A minimum-wage worker in Maine would need to work full time for 32 weeks, or from January to August, just to pay for child care for one infant.

The governor’s actions are more shocking:

Congress supports Maine parents’ child care costs to the tune of $16 million a year. These funds provide a subsidy to low-income working families to pay for child care. One of the requirements to receive the federal dollars is fingerprinting child care workers; a common sense safety step.

But the LePage administration has decided it is not going to implement the fingerprint requirement and the federal government has warned that Maine could lose as much as $864,000 in child care funds as a result.

One in three Maine families have at least one member who works, but still does not earn enough to support the family’s basic needs. The federal government child care subsidies are a life-line, allowing parents to work or attend classes, and to support their families. Maine cannot afford to lose these funds.

Fortunately, the legislature is pushing back against Governor LePage’s policies that hurt low-income children. They are considering legislation that would direct the administration to implement the fingerprinting provision and that would protect both our kids from possible harm and the federal funds Maine families so desperately need. We urge them to pass it.

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