New bill to create student loan repayment fund for childcare
Maine’s childcare system is struggling. Daycares and early education centers have closed all over the state, causing childcare deserts. And for the workers that still remain, low pay makes it near impossible to make ends meet.
While some progress was made last session to remedy this, the problem of low pay persists. To many childcare workers, this is devastating. This is a vocation they have felt called to, but they are overworked, understaffed, and underpaid. Many are forced to quit or push themselves into second jobs.
Senator Baldacci has introduced a bill that could help alleviate some of the pressure on these workers. LD 890 would create a fund to help qualifying childcare workers pay back their student loans.
The program would provide up to $6,000 annually to a childcare workerr that meets the following criteria:
They must work in an underserved area;
They must work at least 30 hours per week for a licensed childcare facility or family childcare provider;
They must have worked at the facility for at least 120 days prior to requesting a distribution;
They must have student loans either in the past or concurrently and have made payments on the loan(s).
This bill would provide our childcare workers with much-needed relief, allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. We urge the Legislature to pass this bill.