About Us

Child Care and Head Start

The Office of Child Care and Head Start is responsible for the development and improvement of child care resources across the state.  It administers, evaluates and directs the expenditures of state and federal dollars for the provision of child care.  The office manages grants, develops and manages programs to improve the quality of child care and provides technical assistance concerning child care. 

The legislature established the Office of Child Care and Head Start within the Community Services Center of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services with the following duties:

  • Maintain an inventory of child care information
  • Provide public education on becoming better consumers of child care
  • Coordinate an ongoing review of all child care licensing rules
  • Provide technical assistance to public and private sector employers, school systems and community groups concerning child care, flexible benefits and work schedules
  • Coordinate the development of a training system for child care providers
  • Develop incentives for employer involvement in child care; and
  • Promote cooperative relationships between public health organizations and child care programs.   

The Maine Head Start Collaboration Project 

The Maine Head Start Collaboration Project is also housed at the Office of Child Care and Head Start.  Despite the federal-to-local funding of Head Start programs, the federal government recognizes that the states play an important role in the formulation and implementation of policies and initiatives that affect low-income children and their families.  Maine received one of the first Head Start Collaboration Grants from the Head Start Bureau at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1990.   

Head Start State Collaboration grants create a visible partnership at the state level to support the development of multi-agency and public/private partnerships. The Head Start State Collaboration Office has collaborated with the Department of Education to sponsor a conference on pre-K programs and to re-new a Memorandum of Understanding between Head Start and Child Development Services.  The Office also works with the Maine Humanities Council to sponsor the Born to Read program. This program collaborates with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program to organize senior citizens to read to children in Head Start and child care programs and provides children's books to the programs. 

The Head Start Collaboration Grant provides some funding to the ACCESS (  )group which brings together Head Start with other child care professionals to support child care in Maine. 

A current project of the Collaboration Office is the development of learning results or "outcome measures" for four year olds.  These will be used as guidelines for curriculum decisions made by pre-school teachers.  

The Office of Child Care and Head Start Staff 

Carolyn Drugge, M.S., M.A.  Director.  Carolyn serves as both the State Child Care Administrator and the Maine Head Start Collaboration Director. Prior to this position, Carolyn taught at the high school and college levels, managed grants and administered programs at the University of Maine and was the head teacher at the University of New Hampshire pre-school.  She has an M.A. in Public Policy and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service, a M.S. from the University of New Hampshire and took graduate courses in child development at the University of Connecticut. 

Lois Hancock, M.S., Child Care Subsidy Program Specialist, DHHS- Office of Child and Family Services, Early Childhood Services-Child Care and Head Start. Lois has served as a Program Specialist for the State of Maine since June 1982.  Her prior experience includes Evaluation Specialist and Family Independence Specialist for the State of Maine and Child Care Counselor for The Spurwink School. Lois earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Bethel College in St Paul, Minnesota and has a Master’s Degree in Education/Community Agency Counseling from the University of Southern Maine. 

Barbara Sousa, Secretary.  Barbara has over twenty years of experience as a secretary in state positions.  She has been with the Office of Child Care and Head Start since the beginning of the Head Start Collaboration project and has extensive knowledge of the Head Start system and the collaborative partners.