Douglas Emhoff, top right, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks to pre-school children after reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, at Mother Hubbard Pre-School Center, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Milford, Mass. Emhoff visited the child care center to draw attention to the Biden administration's Build Back Better agenda. Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne

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Our family, like many others across Maine, is struggling with finding childcare for our infant son. This directly affects a full return to work. For many Mainers, access and cost of childcare is making that choice for us. The U.S. Senate is working on negotiating the Build Back Better Act (BBB) and plans to vote on this before the end of 2021. Maine’s federal representatives could support their constituents and our economy and vote for this bill. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed more light on the financial vulnerabilities Maine families continue to struggle with, like access to quality affordable home care and child care.

In Maine, 187 licensed child care centers shut down between April 2020 and September 2021. BBB would make the largest investment in child care in our history, saving most American families more than half of their spending on child care. This would financially support 90% of Maine families with young children, helping Maine parents re-enter and stay in the workforce, while their children get a strong start with nurturing care and early learning.

BBB would also invest  $150 billion for expanding home and community-based care services. Over 800,000 Americans are waiting in line to receive home care through Medicaid. The Build Back Better Act would help eliminate these lists. With more resources to attract and retain good workers, Maine’s elder and disabled care recipients will receive better care and be less reliant on unpaid family care.

People should call their federal representatives to help catch us up with the rest of the world. They need to hear from all of us.

Jeff McCabe