In 2022, under Governor Janet Mills, Maine’s Office of Child and Family Services in the Department of Health and Human Services established the Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program. The program is part of a $25 million child care initiative in the governor’s Jobs Plan that includes $15 million for early childhood education. The grant program allows Maine residents to open child care businesses in their homes, transform existing buildings into quality child care spaces, and construct new child care facilities; existing child care providers may expand the number of children they serve. Priority is given to sites in rural areas that care for infants and toddlers, and that participate in the child care subsidy program. Home-based child care businesses may apply for 75 percent of their start-up costs (up to $8,500). Grants are available through 2024 or until all funds are awarded, whichever comes first. In total, the funds awarded through the Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program are expected to add more than 3,500 child care slots.
State Government of Maine. (n.d.). Child care infrastructure grant program.
State of Maine Office of Governor Janet T. Mills. (2022). Governor Mills Announces Launch of $10 Million Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan Grant Program to Help Child Care Businesses Start or Expand.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (n.d.). Maine state child care infrastructure grant program.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn More About ELS@H Findings
High-quality, affordable early education and care supports children’s healthy development and allows families to work, engage in their own educational pursuits, and/or participate in other aspects of community life. To support children and families in these instrumental ways, research suggests there is a need to expand the availability of early education opportunities across the mixed-delivery system.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:
- Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
- But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.