Solving child poverty is everyone's business
INVEST IN TOMORROW
ABOUT INVEST IN TOMORROW
Invest in Tomorrow is an initiative undertaken by Maine organizations, businesses, and individuals to cut Maine's child poverty rate in half over the next ten years as a step toward eradicating child poverty in a generation.
We are supporting a sustained commitment to ending child poverty in Maine.
REPORT & GOALS
Maine's child poverty problem and the challenges it poses to our families, communities, and institutions impact all of us.
Based on data and input from stakeholders, community members and families struggling to make ends meet, stakeholders have identified key areas that we need to address to increase economic security and opportunity in Maine. Read our Report and 2019 policy priorities to learn more.
MEASUREMENTS of SECURITY & OPPORTUNITY
How is Maine doing when it comes to economic security and opportunity for children and families? We are tracking how families are faring, and the progress we make to improve the economic well-being of families. We aim to be accountable to the data and move Maine in the right direction on indicators related to basic needs and employment opportunity. Each year, we will publish an update to the data dashboard.
The 2019 dashboard is now available.
2021 POLICY GOALS
The Invest in Tomorrow initiative has set a long-term goal of cutting child poverty in half over the next ten years. While the poverty rate in Maine was starting to gradually trend downward, COVID-19 has upended some of our progress and exacerbated hardships. According to the Census’ Weekly Pulse Data, in Maine, more than half of adults living in households with children lost employment income since March of 2020, while more than one in three of Maine adults living in households with children reported difficulty paying for usual household expenses in the past week.
The impact of the pandemic on families and children has made our shared goal of reducing child poverty while also strengthening Maine’s workforce more important than ever. Given the data, community needs, and progress we have made to date, the Steering Committee believes Invest in Tomorrow can make the most meaningful difference in 2021 working on the following priorities identified in the 2018 Invest in Tomorrow report:
Streamline, simplify, and improve the delivery of supports and services for families living in poverty so they can access opportunity and sustain economic security, while at the same time, reducing inefficiencies in state government.
It should not be so hard to access public assistance programs and supports. Covid-19 has exposed the gaps and inadequacies in access to and the delivery of safety net programs. Our goal is to ensure that state systems and services are accessible, respectful, culturally competent, coordinated, responsive to people’s needs, and accountable to the people they serve. Please see our 2021 Invest in Tomorrow priorities one-pager for details on opportunities to move this work forward in 2021.
Ensure parents and caregivers have increased access to quality, affordable child care and early learning so they can sustain employment while providing for their children with the support and learning that is necessary for healthy development.
A gap identified by the working group created by the 2019 Invest in Tomorrow bill package was the lack of child care available to parents who are immigrants, which creates an obstacle to employment. The Child Care Subsidy Program should be made available to working immigrant families. This recommendation was prioritized in the Economic Recovery Committee’s report to the Governor. Invest in Tomorrow sees this as an opportunity to support immigrants’ successful integration in our workforce and make access to child care more equitable in our state.
Other areas identified for prioritization in 2021 include:
Adequate food and nutrition, including strengthening the Pandemic EBT program, which has provided extra food to families with children to supplement free or reduced meals lost because of school closures.
Stable and affordable housing, including exploring ways in which Invest in Tomorrow can support and advance efforts to address the looming housing crisis in Maine which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
We will continue to build on our work together, ensuring strong implementation of the 2019 Invest in Tomorrow bill package (details here). We will also continue to support efforts to advance the other priorities identified by our community forums – the importance of which have been highlighted by COVID-19 – including:
the Transition from Assistance to Employment; and
Education and Training.
We hope you'll join us!
NEW: We’ve updated our Invest in Tomorrow one-pager! Please download it to learn more about the Invest in Tomorrow initiative and our 2021 priorities.
NEW: Read all about the 2019 Invest in Tomorrow LIFT and STEP bills. Because of our work, an estimated 3,000 children will be lifted out of poverty each year and the family incomes of thousands more will see an increase once the bills are fully implemented. (For a more details on the impact of LIFT and STEP, please download our analysis.)
Read more about the strategies to solve child poverty.
Project lead: Ann Danforth
Maine Equal Justice
126 Sewall Street, Augusta, ME