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Strategy Name Strategy Type(s) Year Funding Amount Funding Source Features at a Glance
Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program
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. Learn More: Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program Sources: 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.
  • Expansion
    • Physical Space and Facilities
    2022 $15 million
    CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization)
    One-time funding
    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. Learn More: Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program Sources: 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.
    Maine Data Dashboards
    The Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Children and Families hosts three dashboards: the Early Childhood Education Dashboard; Child Welfare Dashboard; and Children's Behavioral Health Dashboard. These dashboards are data visualization tools that provide public-use demographic and program data on multiple services for young children, including high-quality care, QRS ratings, early childhood services, evidence-based services, foster care, and licensed early childhood providers. Learn more: Maine Child Welfare Data Dashboard
    • Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems
      • Data Systems
      Data Visualization Tool
      The Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Children and Families hosts three dashboards: the Early Childhood Education Dashboard; Child Welfare Dashboard; and Children's Behavioral Health Dashboard. These dashboards are data visualization tools that provide public-use demographic and program data on multiple services for young children, including high-quality care, QRS ratings, early childhood services, evidence-based services, foster care, and licensed early childhood providers. Learn more: Maine Child Welfare Data Dashboard
      Maine Universal Pre-K
      In July 2023, Maine lawmakers passed LD 1799, “An Act to Expand Maine’s High-quality Early Learning and Care for Children by Increasing Public Preschool Opportunities in Communities,” moving Maine toward a mixed-delivery universal prekindergarten (UPK) system accessible to all four-year-old children. UPK is funded by Maine’s school funding formula, with money distributed directly to school districts, who operate classrooms either as stand-alone public programs, in licensed community-based child care programs, or in Head Start programs.  The bill stipulates that Maine’s UPK program must be accessible to 60% of the state's four-year-olds by the 2024-25 school year, 80% by the 2025-26 school year, and 100% by the 2026-27 school year. UPK in Maine is funded by the state’s school funding formula, as well as an $8 million federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) renewal and funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.  LD 1799 also created the Expansion of Public Preschool and Early Care and Education Commission, which was tasked with reporting to legislators on the Department of Education’s efforts to expand UPK across the state. The Commission recommended more funding for ongoing and start-up costs, more flexibility in credentialing early childhood educators, and more coordination to cultivate partnerships between school systems and community providers who provide public prekindergarten.  As of March 2024, only 43% of Maine public school districts offered UPK. Advocates assert that the biggest barrier to expansion is the state’s education funding formula, because it doesn’t provide enough money for programs to hire the additional staff necessary for early learning programs. Advocates also suggest that the formula incentivizes school districts to open partial-day programs, because they aren’t reimbursed more for full-day programs.  LEARN MORE: MAINE UNIVERSAL PRE-K Sources: Maine Senate Democrats. (2023). Senator Vitelli bill to expand access to child care and early education in Maine signed into law. Davidson, A., & Muhlendorf, A. (2024). Maine Leaders Have Choices to Make About How to Expand Preschool While Maintaining Quality Standards. National Institute for Early Education Research. Maine State Legislature. (2023). Expansion of Public Preschool and Early Care and Education Commission. Maine State Legislature. (2023). Summary of LD 1799. Bartow, A. (2023). Lawmakers work to make preschool available everywhere in Maine. WMTW News 8 Portland. Feinberg, R. (2024). Why Maine is lagging on its goal of universal pre-K. Maine Public Radio.
      • Expansion
        • Public Pre-K
          • Universal Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)
        2023
        State-Funded Pre-K
        Mixed-delivery universal prekindergarten (UPK) system funded by the state’s school funding formula and made accessible to all four-year-old children
        In July 2023, Maine lawmakers passed LD 1799, “An Act to Expand Maine’s High-quality Early Learning and Care for Children by Increasing Public Preschool Opportunities in Communities,” moving Maine toward a mixed-delivery universal prekindergarten (UPK) system accessible to all four-year-old children. UPK is funded by Maine’s school funding formula, with money distributed directly to school districts, who operate classrooms either as stand-alone public programs, in licensed community-based child care programs, or in Head Start programs.  The bill stipulates that Maine’s UPK program must be accessible to 60% of the state's four-year-olds by the 2024-25 school year, 80% by the 2025-26 school year, and 100% by the 2026-27 school year. UPK in Maine is funded by the state’s school funding formula, as well as an $8 million federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) renewal and funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.  LD 1799 also created the Expansion of Public Preschool and Early Care and Education Commission, which was tasked with reporting to legislators on the Department of Education’s efforts to expand UPK across the state. The Commission recommended more funding for ongoing and start-up costs, more flexibility in credentialing early childhood educators, and more coordination to cultivate partnerships between school systems and community providers who provide public prekindergarten.  As of March 2024, only 43% of Maine public school districts offered UPK. Advocates assert that the biggest barrier to expansion is the state’s education funding formula, because it doesn’t provide enough money for programs to hire the additional staff necessary for early learning programs. Advocates also suggest that the formula incentivizes school districts to open partial-day programs, because they aren’t reimbursed more for full-day programs.  LEARN MORE: MAINE UNIVERSAL PRE-K Sources: Maine Senate Democrats. (2023). Senator Vitelli bill to expand access to child care and early education in Maine signed into law. Davidson, A., & Muhlendorf, A. (2024). Maine Leaders Have Choices to Make About How to Expand Preschool While Maintaining Quality Standards. National Institute for Early Education Research. Maine State Legislature. (2023). Expansion of Public Preschool and Early Care and Education Commission. Maine State Legislature. (2023). Summary of LD 1799. Bartow, A. (2023). Lawmakers work to make preschool available everywhere in Maine. WMTW News 8 Portland. Feinberg, R. (2024). Why Maine is lagging on its goal of universal pre-K. Maine Public Radio.
        The University of Maine at Farmington Early Childhood Special Education program
        Maine Governor Janet T. Mills, supported by the Maine Legislature and authorized by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, invested a share of federal American Rescue Plan relief funds in an early education training program in partnership with the University of Maine at Farmington. To help develop and retain early education professionals, UMF is renovating a former call center into a center for its nationally accredited Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center. The Center is expected to open in the summer of 2023 as a state-of-the-art child care and academic facility to train more skilled child care staff to enter and stay in the workforce. Previously, the Sweatt-Winter expansion project received $1.4 million from a bond for UMaine System workforce development infrastructure approved by voters statewide in 2018. The Lennox Foundation also contributed $100,000. Learn more: University of Maine Early Childhood Special Education Sources: University of Maine Farmington. (n.d.). Early Childhood Special Education. State of Maine Office of Governor Janet T. Mills. (2022). At University of Maine Farmington, Governor Mills Highlights Investments to Expand Child Care in Maine, Increase Pay for Child Care Workers.
        • Workforce
          • Professional Learning
          Includes training, university partnership, and facilities improvements
          Maine Governor Janet T. Mills, supported by the Maine Legislature and authorized by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, invested a share of federal American Rescue Plan relief funds in an early education training program in partnership with the University of Maine at Farmington. To help develop and retain early education professionals, UMF is renovating a former call center into a center for its nationally accredited Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center. The Center is expected to open in the summer of 2023 as a state-of-the-art child care and academic facility to train more skilled child care staff to enter and stay in the workforce. Previously, the Sweatt-Winter expansion project received $1.4 million from a bond for UMaine System workforce development infrastructure approved by voters statewide in 2018. The Lennox Foundation also contributed $100,000. Learn more: University of Maine Early Childhood Special Education Sources: University of Maine Farmington. (n.d.). Early Childhood Special Education. State of Maine Office of Governor Janet T. Mills. (2022). At University of Maine Farmington, Governor Mills Highlights Investments to Expand Child Care in Maine, Increase Pay for Child Care Workers.
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          Demographics Link copied!

          Demographics Data Scorecard

          State population

          1,385,340

          Rural %

          61.4%

          Urban %

          38.6%

          Number of children 0–4

          62,340

          Poverty levels - children 0—8 below 200% poverty

          34%

          Median family income among households with children

          $84,800.00

          Unemployment rate

          3.8%

          Unemployment rate of parents

          4%

          Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

          69%

          Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

          23%

          Child Population by Race and Ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

          Race and Ethnicity

          • American Indian and Alaska Native (1%)
          • Asian (1%)
          • Black or African American (3%)
          • Hispanic or Latino (3%)
          • Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (0.49%)
          • Two or more races (4%)
          • White, not Hispanic or Latino (87%)
          Year 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
          Governor D D D D D
          State House D D D D D
          State Senate D D D D D

          Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

          Early Childhood Education Programs

          Public Pre-K Program Name Program Length:  Half-day; minimum 2 hours/day during school year

          Public Preschool Program (PPP) Source: NIEER 2023

          Universal or Targeted Pre-K Policy State Spending Per Child (Pre-K):  $5,133

          Universal Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

          Early Childhood Education Programs (3-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

          Programs

          • Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs (0%)
          • 3-Year-old Children Enrolled in Head Start (6%)
          • Other/None (94%)

          Early Childhood Education Programs (4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

          Programs

          • Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs (47%)
          • 4-Year-old Children Enrolled in Head Start (3%)
          • Other/None (50%)

          Workforce Link copied!

          2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020

          Role

          • Child Care Workers
            $11.69 (2017, adjusted)
            $12.89 (2019)
          • Preschool Teachers
            $15.61 (2017, adjusted)
            $17.28 (2019)
          • Preschool or Child Care Center Directors
            $23.63 (2017, adjusted)
            $25.07 (2019)

          Funding Sources Link copied!

          Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in Millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

          Funding Source

          • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($44.3)
          • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($25.7)
          • CCDBG State Match ($2.4)
          • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations - CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($160.3)
          • State-Funded Pre-K ($25.7)
          • MIECHV ($6.1)
          • IDEA Part C ($3.6)
          • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($3.9)
          • TANF Early Learning and Care ($20.5)