Let’s Grow Kids is a statewide campaign about the need for more high-quality, affordable child care in Vermont to better support our children, families, women, communities and economy. As part of their education and advocacy efforts, they asked every candidate for state office their views on efforts to develop a high-quality, affordable early care and learning system in Vermont. My statement is below, and can also be found on the Let’s Grow Kids candidate dashboard.
As a working mother of three children, I am absolutely supportive of efforts to develop a high-quality, affordable early childcare and learning system in Vermont. I know first-hand the struggles families face when trying to find care for infants and young children. I know that especially mothers across our state juggle schedules, finances, and emotions as we try to do what’s best for our children and jobs.
In order to ensure sufficient capacity, we need to better support existing high-quality public and community-based programs and provide opportunities for new or expanded programs. Additional funding, high-quality staff, technical assistance, and strong community partners can enable expansion. In addition, childcare subsidies for families should be increased, in amount and scope. Public-private partnerships need to be strengthened to ensure that locally-based, full-year, full-day programming is available, including afterschool care. School-based programs could partner with community programs to build after-school and summer capacity to better serve children and families. Finally, we need to ensure early childhood educators are sufficiently trained and compensated so we can safeguard quality and attract the best staff.
Access to childcare is a family support, preventative health, education, gender equity, and economic development issue. Therefore, funding should be captured from a variety of sources. I have served on both local school boards and childcare center boards and have extensive education finance experience. I believe I can successfully work with legislative colleagues to prioritize childcare funding and secure stable, equitable funding sources for programs, and support for families and children.
As a mother and life-long advocate for women and children, I know we can do better. You can count on me to be a vocal leader on this and related issues.