Access to childcare has been an issue in the state of Maine for years, and it’s an issue that was dramatically worsened by the pandemic. In 2018, the Bipartisan Policy Center found that for Maine children under the age of 5, the potential need for childcare outnumbered the existing supply by 9.2%. This percentage was worsened in more rural areas, and Franklin County had the worst difference in supply and demand of childcare at an eye-opening 39%. These were pre-pandemic statistics, and the percentages have risen across the state.
In addition to there being too few childcare facilities in the region, the cost of childcare is astronomical and rising. As of 2018, the average single mother in Maine would have had to pay 45% of her total income to put one infant in a childcare center full time.
Solving the childcare challenges in Franklin County will require a multi-faceted approach. We need to increase the number of childcare facilities, ensure that it’s a profitable business and competitive income for the childcare providers, and lower the overall cost of childcare.
Addressing Childcare Issues in Franklin County
Greater Franklin has been working with local and statewide partners to address as many of these multifaceted challenges as possible. Adult and community education, public health organizations, and other social services all play a significant role in these solutions. These are complex issues that require pooled resources and creative thinking.
We are currently working to attract funding to the area to enable other organizations to develop programming that can solve some of the region’s specific childcare challenges.