AUGUSTA, Maine — Daycare centers and other childcare providers around Maine are short on openings and many have long waitlists, which means working parents can't find affordable, reliable childcare.
Rep. Rebecca Jauch introduced a bill to improve child care in the state. Jauch, a Democrat representing Topsham, is a mother of two young children and said her own family has struggled to find affordable childcare.
Jauch's bill proposal would create a group of stakeholders, including childcare services, the business community, and state organizations, to examine the shortfalls in the state's childcare system and find potential solutions, like funding, grants, tax credits, or workforce incentives.
"We need to invest in childcare providers, too, because it's a traditionally undervalued and [a] low wage sector of our workforce and they are, you know, they are the workers behind the workers," Jauch said. "They're doing this job so that we all can go work in these other places and we need to pay them more, but parents can't afford to absorb that cost."
Rep. Jauch presented her bill to the Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement, and Business Committee last week. There will be another hearing for the bill on Friday.
"You can't just put this on the childcare providers and the parents," Jauch said. "We need the state to get involved."