group of babies 3Sustainability Committee: Creating an Enduring Maine System of Programs and Supports for Young Children


The charge of the Maine Children’s Growth Council (MCGC) includes a review of existing programs and supports available to families and recommendations for more efficient, effective and non-duplicative services. Thus, it is imperative Maine government conduct a focused examination of the strengths and opportunities across all of its early childhood programs, from birth to school-age. Not only do we need to seek greater economies of scale across program component areas (e.g., training, data collection, monitoring, finance, etc.), Maine needs to ensure ready access and availability to services along a continuum of early childhood developmental, health, mental health and disability needs. Achieving greater collaboration and continuity across existing programs will work to maximize resources, minimize disruption or loss of services, reduce if not eliminate duplication, and produce greater positive results that – together – ensure that children enter public school ready to be successful.


  • Review the current array of early childhood programs and funding and analyze data to better understand equity, access, coordination and sustainability across a system of nearly 50 diverse state programs for children and families.
  • Formulate high level recommendations for change to more effectively ensure the effective use of available resources with the goal of improving access, including opportunities that result in better alignment across delivery systems, such as sharing data across systems and programs and more cohesive, informed decisions about priorities.
  • Identify areas where additional detailed analysis is recommended.


Jonathan Leach, co-chair
Sheryl Peavey, co-chair
Newell Augur, Esq.
S Bunnell, DOE
Amy Dix
Patty Hamilton
Jaci Holmes, DOE
Linda Labas, UM
Sue Mackey Andrews
Donna Overcash
Rebecca Petrie
Rosa Redonnet, Chancellor’s Office University System
Ruth Anne Spence
Toni Wall
Jan Goddard


Defined attributes of a comprehensive coordinated early childhood system from birth to school age:

  • Is prevention focused and utilizes evidence-based practices while encouraging innovation and creative thinking
  • Routinely incorporates new knowledge about best practices into priority settings
  • Includes a common core of values for which all are accountable and are nonpartisan in nature, that:
    • Demonstrates collaboration at all levels, including shared problem solving and effective conflict resolution
    • Is child and family focused, recognizing that all families can be helped by:
      • Accessibility for all, with a “no wrong door” system of entry
      • Standardized eligibility requirements
      • Family-owned and informed comprehensive routine/
      • periodic screening in multiple areas and for all children and families
      • A family and child plan of action with support for transitions
      • Is supported and financed through coordinated public and private initiatives and maximizes these resources by:
      • Defining desired outcomes as the areas in which the most impact can be achieved, and
      • Driving toward these outcomes
      • Effectively manages the tension between quality and capacity
      • Utilizes a shared data collection and analysis system that is used by all
      • A valued and respected workforce that is:
      • Well trained
      • Well compensated
      • Regulated and accredited by standardized licensure language and definitions
      • Routinely monitored and evaluated using standardized criteria

The committee met throughout 2012 with plans to continue post-2013. We conducted extensive research including a survey of myriad state programs. An overview of our work is captured in a December 2012 presentation to the Council.

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