Maine Children's Alliance

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Maine Childrens Alliance
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Early Childhood Initiative

"Giving Maine Kids A Voice"

Maine Children's Alliance is committed to improving the lives of Maines children, youth and families.

Our Early Childhood Initiative focuses on the vital period in a child's life, from prenatal to age 8.

Ensuring every child has a safe, healthy and nurturing early childhood experience will yield significantly positive outcomes later in that child’s life. 

The Maine Children’s Alliance (MCA) Early Childhood Initiative began in 2008. In 2009, the Birth to Five Policy Alliance, a national organization supported by a pool of early childhood funders, chose MCA as a state partner. The overarching goals of this initiative are:

  • To ensure a strong voice focused on best practices for children and families and
  • To advocate for improvements in the early childhood system.

Through this initiative, MCA has provided content expertise to policymakers, and ensured a voice for Maine’s youngest children in decision-making at both the state and national level.  This work is especially crucial at this time of state and federal budget challenges. 

The early childhood work is funded by local and national sources. The Birth to Five Policy Alliance, our major funding source, invests in our work to develop, monitor, analyze, and disseminate information on early childhood state policy to inform the debate among state policymakers. In addition, Alliance-funded experts provide technical assistance to support state efforts and implementation of federal initiatives.

Policy Priorities

  • Quality access for low-income children
  • Increasing and diversifying early childhood finance
  • Educare as statewide model and policy platform 
  • State gubernatorial and legislative information and training 

 Strategies

  • Work to encourage development of shared services alliances and create more sustainable business models for early care and education
  • Advocate for public pre-K standards and work to increase the amount of funding dedicated to quality early childhood services, through a combination of public education and work with philanthropic groups and business leaders.
  • Work toward home visitation program standards alignment and implement the pilot year of a statewide longitudinal data system, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Education
  • Collaborate at the state and national level, to move priorities forward

 

Policy Effort:  Quality Access for Low-income Children

Topic

Desired Outcome

Public Pre-K Standards 

Program standards for public Pre-K in statute

Integration of Home Visitation Standards 

Shared standards and program outcomes grounded in evidence-based practices for home visiting programs across disciplines and funding streams

Quality measures for EPSDT

Increased access to services (including but not limited to developmental and behavioral screenings between the ages of 10 months and  5 years old)

Children’s Behavioral Health Access

Increased number of early care and education programs provide children’s outpatient mental health services on site


Policy Effort: Increasing and Diversifying Early Childhood Finance

Topic

Desired Outcome

Quality Early Childhood Tax Credits

Maine businesses increase use of existing tax credits ; Quality child care tax credit for parents is updated to match QRS levels; Tax credits for providers increasing formal credential is proposed

Philanthropic Engagement with Early Childhood

 

Increased commitment to and coordination of early childhood activities by Maine philanthropic community

 

Policy Effort: Educare as Statewide Model and Policy Platform

Topic

Desired Outcome

Implementation of the State Longitudinal Data Systems Grant (SLDSG)

Standardized reporting of child outcomes and shared kindergarten entry data is developed

Policy Effort: Educare as Statewide Model and Policy Platform (continued):

Topic

Desired Outcome

Shared Services Pilot 

Shared services  is identified as a  viable business model for early care and education by providers and funders in Maine

 

Policy Effort: State Gubernatorial and Legislative Candidate Information and Training

Topic

Desired Outcome

Early Childhood as a Policy Platform 

Early Childhood remains a relevant policy issue throughout gubernatorial and legislative campaigns