Jan 8, 2021

Vermont policymakers name child care a top priority in 2021

Last night something really important happened. Governor Phil Scott named child care a top priority in his inaugural address and Speaker Jill Krowinski and Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint echoed a commitment in their remarks following his speech.

In contrast to the division gripping our country, here in Vermont, we are united by this issue. Together, we can make meaningful progress this year for children, families, early childhood educators, Vermont’s workforce and businesses, and set an example of nonpartisan progress to address this critical need.

The COVID-19 pandemic surfaced many deep-rooted inequities and overwhelming needs in 2020; again and again, we’ve heard stories of how the lack of access to high-quality, affordable child care is hurting Vermont’s children, families, employers and economy.

A recent survey found that nearly 9 in 10 Vermonters agree that child care, like health care and education, is essential to Vermont and almost 8 in 10 said access to high-quality, affordable child care is essential or very important to reopening the state’s economy and getting people back to work.

It was encouraging to hear Governor Scott’s emphasis on supporting small businesses during his address, which includes the nearly 1,000 mostly women-led child care programs in Vermont. As COVID-19 has made clear, child care businesses are the workforce behind the workforce.

In his address, Governor Scott rightly pinpointed making sure all kids have a solid foundation as the key to addressing the “most glaring inequity” in our state that cuts across regional, economic and racial lines. An overwhelming 92% of Vermonters surveyed in November said making sure children from all backgrounds have access to high-quality child care is an important step in ensuring that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed in school and life.

Let’s Grow Kids is eager to work with the Administration and Legislature in the coming weeks on concrete solutions to create the equitable, sustainable, high-quality early childhood education system that we need in order to build a better Vermont for generations to come.

 

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