Promising Policy Solutions
Informed by lessons learned at community forums across the state, the Invest in Tomorrow stakeholder group set out to identify strategies to increase economic security and opportunity for Maine families living in poverty.
A working group of Maine-based content experts was established representing years of experience working on children’s issues, workforce development, housing, poverty, transportation, public assistance, and more, led a months-long process to gather input on strategies from a wide variety of stakeholders across the state.
This process included over thirty one-on-one interviews with content experts, multiple focus groups, and input from over 180 respondents to an online survey. The group worked with a data analysis firm, Stepwise Data Research, to estimate the impacts of strategies to assess the difference they would make in terms of lifting children out of poverty, moving people into the workforce, and increasing earning capacity. The working group also collaborated with many members of the broader Invest in Tomorrow stakeholder group to narrow in on promising strategies that would have broad, diverse support, make a meaningful impact on child poverty and sustainable workforce engagement if implemented, and help alleviate economic disparities among Maine children.
Ultimately, the stakeholder group identified promising strategies that could positively impact each area of focus (housing, hunger, health care, transportation, child care and early learning, successful transition from public assistance to employment, and education and training).
In addition, based on community input throughout the process, the group identified an overall strategy that touches each area, which would streamline, simplify, and improve the delivery of state supports and services for families struggling to sustain employment.
While the Invest in Tomorrow stakeholder group is not recommending that Maine implement all these policy changes, the following strategies warrant consideration given the support they garnered throughout this collaborative and comprehensive process.
Increase Safe, Affordable Housing for Maine Families
Increase Access to Adequate, Affordable Food for Maine Families
Increase Access to Comprehensive, Affordable Health Care for Maine Families
Increase Access to Reliable, Affordable Transportation for Maine Families
Increase Access to Early Care and Education for Maine Families
Help Families Transition from Public Assistance to Sustainable Employment
Increase Access to, and Support Completion of, Education and Training for Low-income Parents and Caregivers
Restructure, simplify and improve access to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and build a highly collaborative system working with community-based navigators.