December 9, 2022
This year, partners in Maryland came together with two main goals:
• Address systemic barriers to affordable, high quality child care in Maryland
• Address the challenge of equitable access to state resources through the MSDE child care scholarship program
183 child care providers from 18 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions joined “town hall” meetings and discussed the pain points that are most critical to address around the MSDE child care scholarship program, the ways the issues impact them as professionals and as people, ideas for changes and improvements and how it would matter.
When we advocate together, we talk about both the problem and the solution. We work to identify who is impacted by the problem, and who can solve it. We work to be clear about who and what would be better if the decision-maker did indeed solve it.
“The Unrealized Potential of Child Care Scholarship in Maryland” outlines the detailed problems based on the real experiences of early childhood educators in child care centers and family child care homes around Maryland. Importantly, the community also had ideas for solutions to the problems!
The solutions are in 5 categories, outlined in the report:
1. Modernize the CCS application and invoicing approval process
2. Create an online communication system to track cases, payments, applications, scholarship status, attendance and approvals
3. Invest resources in building the knowledge and capacity of the CCS customer service team
4. Examine policies and practices that may unintentionally create barriers or exclude people from CCS
5. Partner and treat child care providers as MSDE’s partners in CCS, rather than third-party vendors
On November 14, the Joining Voices team gathered to talk about those 5 ideas and how they personally see themselves, their programs and their families in these ideas. Thank you to everyone who joined us for this rich discussion.
There is a role at the federal, state and local level for ensuring child care is available and affordable to families, and for ensuring that child care programs and the child care workforce can thrive. On November 14 we also discussed:
• Bringing your problem and solution to the right person at the right time
• Bringing your “ask” to the person who can do something about it
• Bringing your “ask” to those who can build enthusiasm for doing something about it
There are steps the MSDE agency leaders and staff can take. There are also steps the Maryland General Assembly can take when they begin the 2023 session on January 11. Our teamwork advocacy at the state level will continue in 2023.
And, by building enthusiasm among other supporters and potential supporters, more good things can happen!
County Council members don’t work at MSDE, so can’t implement the 5 solutions outlined in the report. But, County Council members DO have a stake in the success of child care in the county! Voters need child care, and the local economy needs child care. Our County Council can prioritize uses of local funds and create initiatives, and they can be advocates for state policy too!
The Prince George’s County Council members can be enthusiastic supporters for your program and for the success of the child care scholarships in Maryland. This will be another focus of our teamwork advocacy in 2023 and we can’t wait to work with you on this.