Here's What Early Childhood Educators Need to Know about the Senate's Child Care Bill
This week, we took a closer look at the Vermont Senate's historic child care bill and what it means for early childhood educators. Follow along to learn more about what's in the bill, how it pertains to early childhood educators, and what you can do as ECEs to help pass a solution that fully addresses the child care crisis in 2023.
Rewatch: Briefing on the 2023 Child Care Bill
FAQs about the VT Senate's Child Care Bill
What spurred this suggested change to pre-K, in which all four-year olds are moved into public schools? What would this mean in the summer when schools are closed and those kids need services?
We have heard several questions and concerns regarding this proposal, including that universal Pre-K in public schools is limited to the school day and school year, and many families require child care before and after school hours and year round. We’ve also received lots of questions about schools' capacity to deliver these services for four-year olds, and about only having limited hours available for families. Some are curious about what funding would be provided for birth-to-three to supplement funding that currently comes from caring for four-year olds.
These are valid concerns and important questions to ask, but it’s critical to remember that it is still very early in the process. There is still a lot that we don’t know about the bill at this point. There’s a lot that can and will change as the legislation makes its way through the process. Legislators need to hear what this type of proposal would mean for children, families, and your business model. What would the impact be on early childhood educators, children, and families? This is our opportunity to help educate lawmakers on the impacts so that they can make informed and thoughtful changes to the bill.
Are policy makers aware of the fragile state of the child care system? Should we assume that lawmakers don’t know how the child care system works?
They are feeling the urgency and key leaders are committed to solving the crisis. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Baruth was the first witness before the committee working on the child care bill, and encouraged them to pass the bill, quickly and efficiently. There is a range of understanding about the complexity of the child care system in this new legislature. There are many that are deeply invested in child care but don’t understand the nuances of the system, especially because folks are working on so many issues.
Policymakers legitimately want to hear from early childhood educators because they know how high the stakes are and they want to pass something that will help.
Is there a way to listen in to testimonies being given before lawmakers?
Yes. All committee work is live-streamed to YouTube and you can watch everything that happens. You are also welcome to observe the proceedings in-person in Montpelier. There is going to be a lot of work done over the next several weeks, and you are welcome and encouraged to watch all of it.
An up-to-date agenda of the activities of the House and Senate is available here.