Sharing your thoughts or personal story with Vermont's elected officials is one of the most impactful ways you can make change. Elected officials want to know where their constituents stand on important issues and, by speaking up, you will ensure that our children are a priority.
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Please contact your legislators today to thank them for their strategic investments in child care during the COVID-19 crisis, and to urge them to prioritize the following investments in Vermont’s early care and education system as part of the 2021 budget, or with funding from Vermont’s federal Coronavirus Relief Fund:
• Workforce supports, especially incentives for service during COVID-19, access to health care, and professional preparation through scholarships. We urge you to prioritize supports for this essential workforce that has stepped up since June (and in many cases since the beginning of the pandemic) to care for children and allow Vermont’s economy to begin to reopen.
• One-time investment in fully updating the IT infrastructure at the Child Development Division (CDD). This IT system has and continues to be a major barrier in responding to child care needs during the pandemic. IT is critically important to Vermont’s child care COVID-19 response, and is a wise use of one-time funds, either now or in the next round of federal funds.
Suggested language: Thank you for your strategic investments in Vermont’s child care system during this public health crisis. I hope you will continue to prioritize and invest in a high-quality early care and education system that is accessible and affordable to all Vermont families who need it so that we can all play a role in supporting the recovery and increased resilience of our great state. Please consider me a resource as you develop policy.
Here are a few reasons to invest in high-quality child care that could be used to support your case:
- The first five years, when the brain is developing most rapidly, provide the best opportunity to help children build a strong foundation for all future learning and development. Giving every Vermont child access to high-quality early care and learning experiences prepares them for success in school, work and life.
- Most families rely on two incomes to make ends meet. In a recent statewide survey, 4 out of 5 families reported needing child care on a regular basis.
- Stable, high-quality child care enables parents to make the best choices for their families and careers. It also allows working parents to retain their jobs and be productive at work—which benefits VT businesses.
- Expanding Vermont's early childhood system would yield a return of $3.08 for every $1 invested, which would accrue to $1.3 billion over the working lifetime (65 years) of the children served. Benefits include increased lifetime earnings and associated tax revenues of parents and the children served, in addition to savings in social welfare, special education, health care, crime and substance abuse costs.
- Vermont doesn't work without child care. If we want to attract new young families to live and work in Vermont, affordable access to high-quality child care is key.
- For more data points, check out our 2020 Stalled at the Start report and our 2020 Early Childhood Education Workforce report.
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