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Maine Panel Calls for Changes in Child Care

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Arguing that Maine parents are faced with a shortage of affordable, accessible child-care services, a task force convened by two state agencies to study the situation has recommended that public schools provide space and transportation for child-care programs, incorporate child-care issues into required K-12 health-education curricula, and sponsor pilot projects for preschool and school-age care.

Recommendations

Based on a one-year survey of child care throughout the state, the Maine Child Care Task Force--set up in 1983 by the Maine Departments of Human Services and Educational and Cultural Services--last month presented 11 recommendations to Commissioner of Education Robert Boose and Michael Petit, the human-services Commissioner.

In their report, "Child Care in Maine: An Emerging Crisis," the panel noted that almost half of all children in Maine younger than 30 months have mothers in the workforce and that approximately 25,000 Maine children ages 6 to 12 spend an average of four hours unsupervised each week. And the task force recommended that the human-services agency develop legislation that would provide $1.4 million each year to fund model child-care programs and appropriate $247,500 to establish an office of child-care coordination.

The panel also called on the agency to provide training for all child-care providers and develop regulations for the care of infants and toddlers in child-care settings.

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