In this brief, author Jessica Carson explores the characteristics of Early Head Start (EHS) in Maine, compares them to the national landscape, and connects these findings to a discussion of the federal and state policy climates. She reports that Maine has 837 EHS slots for more than 8,000 poor children age 0–2 in Maine. Limited funding means that EHS is unable to reach the vast majority of children living below the poverty line. Nearly half of Maine’s EHS enrollees participate via the home visitation service delivery model, compared with 37.3 percent nationwide. Although state supplemental funds pay for a small share of all Maine EHS slots (60 of the 837 slots in 2015-2016), in a climate where early childhood education and care is expensive, these slots provide critical access to some of Maine’s most vulnerable families. More broadly, because EHS can reach only a small number of Mainers, the state might consider ways to bolster the stability of this population in other ways, including through state home visitation funds and child care funds more generally.

This research was supported by a grant from the Portland-based John T. Gorman Foundation, whose mission is to advance ideas and opportunities that can improve the lives of disadvantaged people in Maine.

Publication Date

Summer 5-23-2017


National Issue Brief No. 122


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2017. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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