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Connecting families with services
I am writing today to express my support for LD 1712, a bill proposed to help families succeed. As an early childhood educator myself, for a little more than 10 years, I have firsthand experience in providing for the health and learning needs of Maine’s young children. I have also seen how navigating through the process of finding resources that are available is a difficult task for families.
Whether it is child care, health screenings or early intervention services, finding the right starting point can sometimes be so frustrating that families and children may go without. Now imagine that someone has one number they can call, or one office they can reach out to, that will help them coordinate these services. That might connect them to resources that they didn’t know were available. The weight of this situation is now not only being put on their shoulders. Now they have a team, they have someone who is working with them.
The current problem is that families, child health providers, early care and education programs and others don’t always know these programs exist or how to connect with them. That is why creating a system of quality, affordable child care and comprehensive health services, as outlined in LD 1712, is so important to easing the burden families currently face. This legislation is such an important opportunity for Maine to support the needs of children and families, as well as building community, and ensuring our youngest Mainers can thrive.
A puzzling lack of interest
Many Americans are probably puzzled by the lack of apparent Republican interest in what happened during the attack on the U.S. Capitol. I guess the Republican leadership doesn’t feel the deaths of some five people, the destruction caused by these “tourists” or the part the former president played in the event warrant further investigation.
Some in congress would have you believe that the event wasn’t as bad as what the film footage showed to the nation. The problem with these Republicans is that they seem to think the vast majority of us are stupid. Their comments are insulting if nothing else.
What bothers me equally is the total lack of willingness of the two parties to come to the table to even discuss this event and other national issues that pertain to our population’s well being and the safety of America. These people were voted into office for just that purpose. Yet, a large number of them appear to care little for their constituents and more for what they can bilk out of the taxpayer.
Support kids’ dental care
I have worked as a school nurse in Rockland schools over the past 16 years, and what I have seen during that time is that families struggle to secure adequate dental care for their children. Our school’s free and reduced rate is greater than 60 percent, and 44 percent of children are enrolled in MaineCare. Our families live with significant financial stress.
Knox County does not have any dental homes that are open to children with MaineCare, forcing many families to travel long distances to find a dentist. In my school system, only our elementary schools have been able to participate in the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s School Oral Health Program due to current eligibility guidelines. This program provides evidence-based services to our students, including oral health screenings, fluoride varnish, and sealants. We also have a mobile dental hygienist who comes to school to see a few students who have MaineCare and no dental home; however, this is far from adequate to meet the needs of the students at our school.
Because of limited funding, many schools are not even able to enroll in the oral health program. The program is critically important to help my students stay healthy. LD 1501, An Act to Protect Oral Health for Children in Maine would expand it so more schools and students K-12 could benefit from this program. Dental care should not be a luxury for children. I encourage legislators to support LD 1501 so children need not suffer from preventable dental infection and pain.