Feb 21, 2017Bennington Banner
I consider high-quality, affordable child care to be a priority to all children.
I'm a single mother of a two-year-old with a significant amount of college debt and I struggle to pay for my son's child care. I feel it is extremely important for him to receive the best care there is to offer because I know the experiences he has in these early years will impact his ability to succeed in school, in relationships and in life.
Even with 10 percent tuition assistance through the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP), it's a constant struggle for me to afford child care along with all of our other living expenses. This isn't surprising since CCFAP has been underfunded for many years, and as a result, tuition assistance rates are seriously outdated when compared to current market rates for child care. Child care is the second highest cost for Vermont families with children after the cost of housing. Even with tuition assistance, middle income families are spending up to 40 percent of their household income on child care. This forces parents to make tough choices. No family should feel as if they need to choose to pay for the heat in their home or their child care bill.
We need to support Vermont families and make child care more affordable. We also need to offer more support to child care providers, who are struggling to stay in business and often not making a livable wage. Governor Phil Scott proposed a much needed and long overdue $7.5 million CCFAP funding increase that would help address these affordability challenges. My hope is the Legislature will find a way to invest in Vermont's young children and their families.
As a member of the Manchester Let's Grow Kids Action Team, I'm working with other advocates who are committed to solving Vermont's child care challenge. We would love to welcome more members from our community. Please visit www.letsgrowkids.org to learn more and be sure to sign the petition to express your support in Vermont's children and future.
— Jennifer Galusha, early childhood education coordinator