Maine Children’s Growth Council / State Early Childhood Advisory Council
Maine’s future prosperity and quality of life are important to every Mainer. Our economic success is linked to a productive workforce and safe, welcoming, growing communities. What is not widely understood, however, is how much Maine’s economy is influenced by the health and development of our youngest children (birth to five), who, in a matter of years, will be our workforce, parents, leaders, neighbors and friends.
The early years are a critical time when the architecture of the brain is being built. When building a house, contractors make sure the foundation is strong so it can support all the stages of work that follows. That’s how it is for brain development- a strong or fragile foundation will set the stage for all the development, learning and behavior that follows. Early childhood is a complicated time when growth is rapid, when parents are needed to provide a safe, nurturing environment, and when communities are called on to support the family. And we all know that getting things right the first time is easier and less costly than trying to fix them later. Imagine the cost of tearing down walls and ceilings to repair a house’s foundation! The Maine Children’s Growth Council works to make certain Maine is prepared for its future by doing what’s right and investing in a high-quality, coordinated early childhood system.
A comprehensive early childhood system gathers high-quality health, education, economic, and community supports into a coordinated response aimed at the success of young children and their families. While some progress has been made, Maine’s early childhood family support, health, education and community systems remain fragmented, silo-funded, and a drain on our social and state capital. Inadequate investments in early childhood prevention, intervention and resources continue to yield high long-term costs. It is not clear that Maine is leveraging its current resources to the best possible result. As a consequence, these issues negatively effect children’s school readiness, the ability of families to work productively, and, ultimately, Maine’s economic prosperity.
Created by statute in 2008 as “the voice” of early childhood, the Council is charged to achieve sustainable social and financial investments in the healthy development of Maine’s young children and their families. We do that through policy and system change recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature; through community and state leadership; through collaboration, planning and monitoring; and through widespread efforts to educate Mainers about the importance of the first few years of life.
The Council is a public, non-governmental entity. We invite you to learn more about early childhood investments and the commitment of the Maine Children’s Growth Council. You, too, can become a part of our work. Please contact us to learn more.