Children's Growth 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, who, in a matter of years, will be our workforce.
The early years are a critical time when the architecture of the brain is being built. Like building a new house, we make sure the foundation is strong so it can support all the work to come. 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 follow. We all know that getting things right the first time is easier and less costly than trying to fix them later.
The Maine Children’s Growth Council was created by state statute to look at and act upon the critical economic issue of early childhood. Charged to achieve sustainable social and financial investments in the healthy development of Maine’s young children and their families, the Children’s Growth Council is working with a diverse group of legislators, business leaders, providers, parents, researchers, community leaders and government officials to implement the plan for a unified, statewide early childhood services system.
Among the accomplishments in its first year of existence, the members of the Children’s Growth Council:
- adopted Operating Principles grounded in Future Search research,
- drafted processes to best facilitate information gathering and dialogue, and
- formed working committees.
In addition, the Council:
- secured private funding for business leader summits and federal funds for Council staffing,
- developed a data report on early childhood indicators,
- obtained technical assistance from a prominent national foundation for public private partnership development,
- ensured passage of statutory language to modify membership and make its work more visible to the public,
- met the requirements of LD 1069 for a study group on higher ed and early childhood education, and
- contributed to the Early Childhood special issue of the Maine Policy Review.
As the Children’s Growth Council embarks on its second year, its work becomes even more critical. Planned or already underway will be the distribution of the data report, development of a fiscal mapping document to link funding and expenses to child outcomes, enhancements to workforce and professional development, and the creation of a public private partnership that embraces such innovations as Quality for ME (Maine’s Early Care and Education Quality Rating System) and Educare.