In response to questions regarding childcare, Board member Moriah Geer offered the following:
I wanted to reach out with some information that I think may be helpful to some parents. There were a lot of questions yesterday about childcare, and we know that many of these parents rely on their kids being in school so that they can work so it makes sense that there are a lot of questions about that. I wanted to make sure that you, and other administrators, know that the state has a child care subsidy program that could help many of our families deal with the financial burden of extra childcare costs. People often assume that in order to be eligible for any DHHS programs a person needs to be living in poverty. That is not the case with the childcare subsidy program. The state wants to support a parent's ability to maintain employment, so they are able to help cover part of the cost of childcare for families who are working, up to a surprisingly high income level. I would like to encourage the administration to share this information with parents https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/ec/occhs/step.htm in whatever way makes the most sense. The state has all of the details of the program and eligibility guidelines up on their website. Parents can also contact me if they are struggling to get through the process of enrolling in the program or if they aren't sure if they are eligible. I think you know that I work for a nonprofit that helps people navigate state benefit programs (https://maineequaljustice.org/). Navigating any bureaucracy can be daunting and I'm always willing to help our families do that. They can reach out to me at home or through my work contact firstname.lastname@example.org.