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KVCAP / Educare Central Maine

Contact Information

56 Drummond Avenue
Waterville, ME 04901

(207) 861-2190

Focus Areas

  • Community & Nonprofit Development
  • Education & Youth

Kennebec Valley Community Action Program's Child and Family Services' (parent organization of Educare and First4) vision is to ensure that every child arrives at school healthy and ready to succeed. Through an integrated approach, we strive to provide each child with high quality care and education that honors their unique characteristics.

  • About Us
    As an initiative of Kennebec Valley Community Action Program (KVCAP) and sponsored by Volunteer Maine, First4 AmeriCorps' focus is on supporting and uplifting disadvantaged children by directly supporting child care and preschool teaching staff in the social-emotional development of children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Research shows children living in poverty or who have experienced significant trauma enter school well behind their peers.

    At Educare Central Maine and "beyond the walls" at our partner sites, we believe everyone deserves a fair chance to achieve their dreams, and it starts by leveling the playing field from the day they're born. As one of the nation’s most effective early childhood education schools, we make sure financially disadvantaged young children have the best possible chance for success in life. Our approach extends beyond the classrooms to help children, families and communities thrive.

    Our comprehensive program incorporates everything science says young children need to flourish. We partner with families because learning doesn’t stop when children leave the classroom. We support the continued learning of our passionate teachers and staff because we want to empower them to do their best work. We use research to improve our schools because we’re committed to creating a lasting positive impact on every family we serve.

    When compared to their same-age peers, children served by Educare Central Maine and our partner sites are just as academically, socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten. KVCAP parents are active in their children’s education, both in school and at home. When these things happen, children grow up better prepared to follow their dreams, and our entire society thrives.
  • Our Impact
    Members: 77% of our First4 alumni have continued on in the education field in the state of Maine, utilizing their skills to support Maine's children, leveraging and building upon the skills and knowledge gained during their term of service. In our 2022-2023 program year, all First4 members will exit their term of service with an Education Technician certificate (I, II or III).**

    Community Impact: In Maine, as of 2017, 35,000 (14.2%) children under the age of 18 live in poverty and 14,000 (5%) live in high-poverty areas where the income is below 50% of the federal poverty level ($24,000 for a family of four). In the 2020-2021 school year 58% of the 558 children aged 6 weeks to 5 years enrolled at Educare Central Maine and its partner sites live at or below the federal poverty level. Approximately 61% of these children are “disadvantaged,” meaning they fit one or more of the following criteria: having family income eligibility below Federal Poverty Guidelines, being in foster care, being homeless, and/or receiving public assistance. Educare’s intentional focus on building children’s social-emotional skills before age 3 and continuing through age 5 works. More time in Educare is associated with higher ratings of social-emotional skills, including teacher-rated self-control and initiative, among most children.

    KVCAP, Educare's parent organization, provides many services that assist low-income families, and also offers prevention programs. Service programs helped more than 20,000 people in fiscal year 2021. Child & Family Services provided Head Start, Early Head Start, Educare, or child care to more than 550 children, resulting in increased school readiness for these children.

    Children under five are the poorest segment of Maine's population; 17% are living in poverty. In fact, these youngsters are about twice as likely to be living in poverty than people over age 65 (whose poverty rate is 8.7%). In Somerset County alone, more than one in three young children is poor (36%)--more than double the state percentage of 17%.

    High-quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children has been shown to improve school readiness and to have positive impacts on long-term outcomes in education, health, social behaviors, employment, and earnings.

    **pending AmeriCorps program funding