Working parents with young children across the state of Vermont are daily confronted with a difficult choice: work outside of the home and pay for childcare, or stay home with their children and try to make ends meet on one income, or no income for single parent families. For one Essex Junction parent, the equation just didn’t make sense anymore. After paying for childcare for 2 children, she was bringing home $70.00 for a 40 hour work week. She left her job and now sits on the other side of the equation, trying to make a living as a registered home provider. She is finding that what the state reimburses early educators for parents who qualify for subsidy doesn’t come close to covering the cost of providing care.
Vermont Early Educators United and Vermont Parents United are coming together to pass legislation to address the broken early education system and bring subsidy rates current with the cost of care. H.97 (or Senate bill 29) would recognize early educators right to organize and will change the way that decisions about subsidy and early childhood education are made by making them equal partners with the state. Early educators have learned that organizing is the only way to make positive changes in their profession and for working families. They see parents struggling with inadequate subsidy eligibility guidelines as they struggle to run quality programs with reimbursement rates falling farther and farther behind the market costs.
Parents and educators must come together to advocate for the children in their care.
H.97 passed last Spring in the House and has gone over to the Senate (and the original Senate version/S.29 is still waiting to be taken up in the Economic Development Committee of the Senate). All of Vermont’s senators need to hear from their constituents that lack of resources for programs that educate and care for our youngest Vermonters is a crisis that must be addressed.