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Bridgewater child care plan gains a key supporter

By January, if all goes according to schedule, the sounds of little voices will fill the former Bridgewater Village School again. Let’s Grow Kids, a Burlington-based nonprofit agency promoting access to high-quality child care in Vermont, has awarded the Bridgewater Area Community Foundation a $23,100…

Public investments in high-quality, affordable child care are long overdue

After decades of philanthropic investment in Vermont’s early care and learning system, it is gratifying to see a bill moving through the Legislature that includes significant new investments to make high-quality child care more affordable to Vermont families. H531, the child care bill, passed unanimously…

Vermont’s child care crisis: Legislators and nonprofits work to ease the blow

When Carla Galaise learned she was pregnant, she quickly called child care centers to get on waiting lists. Almost everyone she shared her news with had warned her to do so. It’s estimated 50 percent of Vermont’s infants and toddlers who need child care do not have access to a regulated facility or…

Quality child care is a worthwhile investment

Michael Seaver is president of People's United Bank, Vermont. Throughout the course of my life I have had countless opportunities to learn the same lesson: When you engage with children and invest in them at a young age, their opportunity for success skyrockets. In January, I joined fellow business…

Childcare Advocates Anxious As Senate Considers Increased Funding

House lawmakers last month approved a substantial increase in funding for childcare services, but leaders in the Senate say they aren’t ready to commit to the proposal. Vermonters who don’t have little kids at home might be surprised to find out just how difficult it is to find, let alone afford, childcare…

LGK invests $1.7M to create 1,300 high-quality child care spaces

Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) has announced the second round of its Make Way for Kids projects. Make Way for Kids—launched in 2018 with the support of donors in Vermont and nationwide—provides grants and technical assistance to child care programs to help increase the availability and quality of early care and…

Undervalued: Early Childhood Educators Provide Critical Service but Struggle to Make Ends Meet

When Noelle Cleveland enrolled at San José State University in California in 2008, she knew she wanted to work with young children one day. She thought she might become an elementary school teacher. But as part of her coursework, she volunteered in a preschool and, as she tells it, "instantly fell in…

Vermont families call for more affordable child care

MONTPELIER, Vt. — They're calling it a child care crisis. Parents and teachers with advocacy group 'let's grow kids' took to Vermont's state House steps, calling for more affordable child care. Click here to watch the video story on the NBC5 website. The organization's CEO, Aly Richards, is still…

Mark Shriver: Investing in child care is investing in Vermont’s future

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Mark K. Shriver, who is the CEO of Save the Children Action Network. All too often, divided control of government can be a recipe for increased partisanship and gridlock, especially when elected leaders place ambition and acrimony over actual results. One notable…

Study: Vermont parents seek quality child care, often to no avail

A new report by the non-profit organization Building Bright Futures suggests that Vermont parents are making tough choices when it comes to child care: basing their work hours on child care availability, cobbling together different child care arrangements and trying to stretch dollars to pay for care. None…

Burlington launches child care scholarship program

The city is now accepting applications for a scholarship program that will help families access childcare for young children. Based off a program in Minneapolis, Burlington Early Learning Initiative’s “First Steps Scholarship Program” will provide 20 Burlington families with a scholarship for children…

New efforts to solve Vermont's child care crunch

WEST BURKE, Vt. (WCAX) Solving a child care crunch. Vermont has 564 licensed home child care providers but that is down nearly 27 percent since 2015. Those child care spots are especially critical in rural areas of the state. And they are, on average, cheaper than child care centers. Our Cat Viglienzoni…

Meg Seely: Child care and Vermont’s opportunity gap

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Meg Seely, of Bridgewater, who is the chair of the Vermont Community Foundation and a longtime early childhood professional. Last week I listened to the CEO of the Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), an international organization that is building bipartisan…

'Mama Llama' Jennifer Garner praises Vermont on child care and preschool

Jennifer Garner visited a Burlington preschool Thursday to speak on the importance of early childhood programs — and to kick off the kids' story time with "Llama Llama Misses Mama." The actress voices "Mama Llama" in the animated Netflix series based on the book. Gov. Phil Scott followed the "Alias"…

Childcare crisis focus of bill

GEORGIA — A new bill aimed at tackling the childcare crisis, could expand the state’s childcare assistance program, while providing student loan and tax support for educators in the field. House Bill 194 was introduced in the Vermont statehouse on Friday, and has the support of 70 cosponsors including…

Child care bill would make core commitment to VT’s children

Tripartisan legislation would expand access to affordable, high-quality child care Montpelier, Vermont — A tripartisan bill aimed at increasing Vermonters’ access to affordable, high-quality child care was announced by legislative sponsors at a State House press conference on January 29, 2019.  The…

The Challenges Of Child Care In Vermont: Tackling Cost, Availability And Quality

High-quality child care in Vermont can be tough to find and tougher to afford. And elected officials from the governor on down seem to agree that this is a serious problem for the state. So what's being done to address the issue? We're looking at the state of child care in Vermont. And going through…

Child care capacity declining statewide

A new report from the Joint Fiscal Office shows the availability of child care and pre-kindergarten in Vermont is declining. Released in November, the “Child Care and Pre-Kindergarten Capacity Baseline Report” compiled statewide and county data from December 2015 through June 2018, reporting a decline…

Film, Forum on Early Childhood Education Planned in Norwich

His film is designed to have broad appeal and address a universal issue, but Greg Jacobs had a pretty specific target viewer in his sights during the making of No Small Matter. “The audience we have in mind is the guy who’s always the first or second poster in the online comments, who says, ‘It’s called…

Vermont child care programs to serve hundreds more children thanks in part to $455,500 in grants and coaching from Vermont Birth to Five

Note from Let's Grow Kids: Vermont Birth to Five (VB5) is LGK's sister initiative. While LGK is engaged in advocacy to increase public investments in high-quality, affordable child care, VB5 is expanding the capacity and quality of the system we have today.  Burlington, Vermont — Vermont child…

Advocates brave snow for Early Childhood Day at the Legislature

Montpelier, Vermont – Despite record snowfall for the second year in a row, 150 early childhood advocates braved snowy roads to participate in Early Childhood Day at the Legislature (ECDL) on March 14. People from all over the state attended to ask the 65 participating legislators and administrators…

Vermonters rally for future of our kids

Hundreds turn out for the rally for Vermont's children, pressing lawmakers to fix high child care costs preventing some parents from entering the workforce Click on the image above or click here to watch the video on NBC 5's website.

Child care advocates rally at State House

MONTPELIER — Child care advocates lobbied for more state investment in early care and learning Wednesday.  Child care professionals, legislators, parents, children and supporters packed into the Cedar Creek Room at the State House for the Rally for Kids on Early Childhood Day. The gathering was held…

Report ties lack of child care to long-term income disparity

Marybeth Christie Redmond of the Vermont Commission on Women has been working for the past 15 years with a Burlington woman who is a refugee and single mother of five. During that time, she said, she has watched this woman work tirelessly to make ends meet and take care of her children. Redmond said…

Women, work, and child care

Report looks at child care, the economy and gender equity in Vermont Ensuring Vermont has enough high-quality, affordable child care is essential to supporting gender equality in the workplace, according to a new report co-authored by Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) and the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW).…

WCAX: Women, work and child care

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Is there a need to level the playing field for working women? A new report from Let's Grow Kids and the Vermont Commission on Women suggests on this International Women's Day that women in Vermont need more support when it comes to child care to truly be on a path to equity. Let's…

Parents face child care shortage in Windham County

WINDHAM COUNTY — Clare Barboza feels lucky to have found child care for her 4-year-old son.  "When we first arrived in Vermont, we found a temporary child-care situation," Barboza told the Reformer. "My son wasn't in preschool yet but we needed something. Then they sort of pulled the rug out from…

Long waits, lacking subsidies challenge providers & families

Mark Zammuto and his wife, Shayla, moved from Burlington to Colchester last year, just one day after their son was born. It was a hectic week, he said with a laugh, but worth the chaos. “Colchester is awesome. The people, the schools, the recreation. It’s got everything you could want,” Zammuto said.…

Pay What? Vermont's $9.2 Million Childcare Crisis

Republican Gov. Phil Scott and top Democratic lawmakers have spent much of the 2018 legislative session characterizing themselves as allies and protectors of Vermont's working families. But none has put forward a plan to address a $9.2 million funding shortfall in the state's childcare system — which…

WCAX You Can Quote Me interviews LGK campaign director

Reporter Alexandra Montgomery interviewed Let's Grow Kids' (LGK) Campaign Director Robyn Freedner-Maguire on WCAX's "You Can Quote Me" program on February 18, 2018. Alexandra and Robyn discussed LGK's 2018 Stalled at the Start report outlining Vermont's critical shortage of high-quality, affordable child…

The antidote to our shrinking workforce is affordable, quality child care

It was heartening to hear Governor Scott announce a new program to attract young people to live and work in Vermont during his January 23 budget address. Employers and business leaders across the state will tell you that strengthening Vermont’s economy depends upon reversing current demographic trends…

New Initiative Aims to Address Vermont's Childcare Shortage

A new program aims to address Vermont's childcare shortage by helping to create 500 new high-quality childcare spaces in the state each year. Make Way for Kids is a project of Vermont Birth to Five, an organization focused on addressing gaps in childcare and supporting childcare providers. The quality…

Vermont's workforce challenge and gender equality in the workplace

Policymakers and Vermonters of all political persuasions are worried about the economic impacts of Vermont's aging population and shrinking workforce. Our working-age population — the vital group that acts as our economic engine — keeps declining. Meanwhile, baby boomers will soon be aging out of the…

What affects young children? Opioid abuse, lack of child care

Last week, Building Bright Futures released a report looking into how Vermont young children and families are doing. The nonprofit, which serves as the designated Early Childhood Advisory Council to the governor and Vermont legislators, said on the whole, the kids are all right — Vermont leads the…

Impact Of Parental Substance Abuse A Growing Issue For Vt. Families, New Report Outlines

The 2017 "How are Vermont’s Young Children and Families?" report paints a mixed picture in terms of economic well-being, access to services and a range of health indicators. The report also underscores the impact of parental substance abuse in reported instances of child abuse and neglect and in the…

Vermont needs young families. Young families need child care.

Note: This media statement was written by Let's Grow Kids Campaign Director Robyn Freedner-Maguire in response to Governor Phil Scott's 2018 State of the State address. If we want to make Vermont the top choice of young workers looking for the best place to work and raise their families, increasing…

Burlington to use grant to fight steep child care shortage

Burlington will start committing a half million dollars per year to promote expanding early education programs, helping to alleviate a dire shortage of care and education space for young children in the city. In early 2015, Mayor Miro Weinberger’s office put out a report that showed, among other issues,…

Child care teachers' pay inadequate

I believe all children deserve a strong start and that includes spending time with a caring adult who loves and supports them. Child care providers fulfill this role for many of Vermont’s children when their parents or caregivers are at work. I’m a child care teacher. I use the word teacher on purpose.…

Early Childhood Development, Our Health, and Our Economy

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Con Hogan, of Plainfield, who is on the board of the Permanent Fund for Vermont's Children and is a former member of the Green Mountain Care Board. He was secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services from 1991 to 1999. Vermont is facing some very daunting…

Award puts longtime childcare provider in spotlight

Early childhood educators recognized the work of a 30-year veteran at their annual retreat Thursday in Killington. Cheryl “Cookie” Danyow (pictured above on the left), who runs a preschool program out of her home in Addison, was named Vermont’s Early Educator of the Year. “Working with children has…

Childcare provision seen as inadequate: Offerings for youngest said to fall short

MIDDLEBURY — Child advocacy groups estimate that more than 79 percent of Vermont’s infants and toddlers likely to need child care don’t have access to programs considered to be high quality. For Addison County, the estimate is 88 percent for infants, 64 percent for toddlers. “We don’t have enough…

Beating "adverse childhood experiences"

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Chloe Learey, the executive director of Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Brattleboro. She serves on the Building Bright Futures State Advisory Council, a governor-appointed body which advises the Administration and Legislature on early childhood…

Mob of caped kids rally for early education in VT

Caped youngsters and oldsters mustered by the hundreds Sunday morning in downtown Burlington to champion more public and private investment in early childhood daycare and education. Toting megaphones, tambourines and signs, the throng flash-mobbed Church Street and joined soul diva Kat Wright in singing…

"Let's Grow Kids" Takes Over Burlington's Church Street

Burlington, Vt. - More than 1,000 people flocked to Church Street to sing, dance and advocate for the future of Vermont's children. "Let's Grow Kids" was the message in Burlington Sunday morning as people from all over the state came to raise awareness about what they consider to be Vermont's critical…

A dance for childhood development

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Hundreds hit Church Street to raise awareness about the shortage of Vermont childcare. Let's Grow Kids is a campaign dedicated to the importance of childcare and the impact it has on development. To promote its message, organizers held a parade which ended at the top of Church…

Kat Wright "Something Beautiful" Interview on The Point FM

Kat Wright and Chris Dorman, aka Mister Chris, co-wrote the anthem "Something Beautiful" which will be performed live at Kids Out Loud! on Sunday, October 1st on Burlington's Church Street Marketplace. In the interview above, Kat talks with Point FM Morning Show Host Zeb Norris about writing the anthem…

Darin' Erin: Let's Grow Kids Flash Mob Dance

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Sports Director Erin Cofiell learns the words and choreography for a new children's anthem from the folks at Let's Grow Kids. The anthem will be performed as a flash mob on Church Street Sunday, October 1st as part of their Kids Out Loud! event, that also features a parade and concert. Click…

Report: 40 percent of Vermonters live in child care ‘deserts’

One half of all Americans and nearly 40 percent of Vermonters live in communities without any child care or with so few providers there aren’t enough slots, according to a Center for American Progress report released last week. “We want to change the data. We want the deserts to shrink,” said Robyn…

Williston preschool owner earns ‘superhero’ recognition

Mandi Menard, co-owner of KinderStart Preschool in Williston, was recognized last week as an “Early Childhood Superhero” by Let’s Grow Kids, an initiative of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children that advocates for high-quality, affordable child care. Menard is the program director and lead preschool…

Childcare: A critical support for people recovering from opioid addiction

Vermont is fortunate to have an established system of outpatient care for people who are recovering from opioid addiction. In fact, our state’s Hub and Spoke system has been nationally recognized as a model for other states struggling with the current opioid epidemic. Hub and Spoke has been in place…

Brattleboro Retreat: Opioid epidemic prompts free childcare

BRATTLEBORO — About a year-and-a-half ago, Jessica Greene was running a maternal support group when a mother approached her with a problem: She couldn't find proper childcare while undergoing addiction treatment. "It just seemed like it was a need that nobody had been aware of," recalled Greene, who…

Calculating the real cost of child care

First-time mom Janet An is taking a break from her law career to raise 5-month-old Ellie and says the cost of day care or a nanny will be a factor when she returns. "If the cost of child care is going to eat up my entire salary then it might make more sense for me to just continue to stay home with…

Milton daycare provider wins national award

Family defines Milton daycare provider Laura Butler’s work. Her clients span generations; high-schoolers she cared for now volunteer alongside her and the kids at her center call her husband “Papa.” Almost a quarter of a century after Butler began molding the minds of Milton’s young ones, the National…

All our kids deserve access to high-quality, affordable child care

As the mother of three young children, a business owner and a board member of an early learning center, I'm very aware of how important it is to invest in our children long before they enter the public school system. In the first few years, a baby's brain is forming more than one million connections…

Lyndon State’s Early Childhood Education Hybrid Degree Is Meeting Labor Force Needs In Vermont

LYNDON CENTER — The innovative Lyndon State College hybrid Early Childhood Education program is addressing a demand for licensed Vermont educators and helping teachers meet new requirements to keep their jobs. The program, launched last fall, was developed to allow students with an associate’s degree…

Positive outcomes from early intervention

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Chloe Learey, the executive director of Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Brattleboro. She served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High-Quality, Affordable Child Care. You can learn more by visiting winstonprouty.org. If you want…

Musicians Prepare For Church Street Flash Mob To Raise Awareness For Quality Child Care

If all goes as organizers plan, a 1,000-person flash mob will be singing and dancing on Church Street in Burlington October 1 in support of adequate early childhood care for Vermont's kids. Earlier this week, a group of musicians and child care advocates met at a small, second-story recording studio…

Child care affects everyone

Studies show that by age 5 about 90 percent of a child’s brain is developed. I believe every parent should have the peace of mind that the care and supervision their child receives is maximizing this growth. As a 21-year-old college student you may wonder how the issue of access to affordable child…

High-quality childcare shouldn’t be reserved for privileged few

I believe that no matter their socio-economic background, all children deserve the same access to high-quality childcare. Since coming to Vermont for college I’ve been fortunate enough to become a mentor through the DREAM program, which pairs college students with children in affordable housing neighborhoods.…

Imagine a community without services for families

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Chloe Learey, the executive director of Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Brattleboro. She served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High-Quality, Affordable Child Care. The short video “A Day Without Child Care,” created by the…

State boost for child care falls far short of need

The state is investing $2.5 million more in child care in the upcoming fiscal year, but advocates say an additional $9 million would be needed to ensure providers who serve low-income families are paid market rates. Child care providers say the current funding situation is not sustainable and it is…

2017 Early Childhood Legislation Recap

The marathon 2017 Vermont legislative session has officially drawn to a close and Vermont’s youngest children had a strong finish! Thanks to the important conversations that you’ve had with your friends, family, neighbors and elected officials, and the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, more members…

Vt’s crisis; Childcare

The traditional childcare provider model seems to be falling apart, and the effects are pushing Vermont, and counties like our own, into a full-blown crisis. Last year, Franklin County lost 42 registered programs and two childcare centers. Richford and Alburg have lost half their providers. There are…

Make the most of taxpayer savings by investing in kids

Right now, the Legislature and administration are debating over teacher health care plans and a compromise that may result in millions of dollars in savings for Vermont. If and when such savings are reaped, it will be imperative to invest those dollars in ways that will yield the greatest benefits to…

Loss of child care continues in county

Action team created in response to need ST. ALBANS — Richford and Alburgh have lost half of their child care providers in the past year, while Swanton has lost 11 programs. Overall, the county has lost 42 registered programs and two childcare centers, since last May, according to Michelle Trayah,…

Burlington announces funding plan for Early Learning Initiative that will increase supply of high-quality, affordable child care

The City of Burlington is investing in a new Early Learning Initiative that will provide $500,000 annually in capacity grants to high-quality child care programs in Burlington that serve children from low-income families ages 0 to 3. Mayor Miro Weinberger, speaking at a May 18 press conference, said…

Give kids a chance with pre-K

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Robyn Freedner-Maguire, who is the campaign director of Let’s Grow Kids.  Investing in universal pre-K (Act 166) was not only the right thing to do for Vermont — it was a smart choice to make. When kids get a strong start with high-quality early care and learning,…

Williston pair recognized as 'early childhood superheroes'

Two early childhood education program owners in Williston have been recognized by Let’s Grow Kids as “early childhood superheroes” for their work advocating for Vermont’s youngest children. Paula Nadeau is the owner of Tiny Dreamers on North Williston Road, and Trisha Scharf is the executive director…

Chloe Learey: Child care system subsidized by those who work in it

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Chloe Learey, the executive director of Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Brattleboro. She served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High-Quality, Affordable Child Care. You can learn more by visiting winstonprouty.org. Investing…

Child care needs unmet in county

Sorry, we’re full. That phrase, like a skipping record, undulates through local communities in the Lamoille Valley as parent after parent reaches for the phone to find child care for their children. The answer is often the same: We can put you on our waiting list. Finding affordable, quality child…

Let's Grow Kids' 'Dream Team' Lobbies for Early Education Dollars

Trisha Scharf had never met her state representative until she traveled to the Statehouse on Good Friday and introduced herself to Rep. Linda Myers (R-Essex). "I'm here to give you my story," the Essex resident told Myers as they sat at a Statehouse cafeteria table. Scharf was armed with a folder full…

Con Hogan: Early childhood investment is prudent

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Con Hogan, who is on the board of the Permanent Fund for Children and a member of the Green Mountain Care Board. He was secretary the Vermont Agency of Human Services from 1991 to 1999. It is beginning to look like a substantial investment, proposed by Gov. Phil…

If kids are a priority for Vermont, it's time we invested in them

Let’s Grow Kids’ white paper lays out policy vision for early care and learning It’s disheartening to watch Vermont legislators missing yet another opportunity to address the serious obstacles preventing too many Vermont children from getting a strong start.  Even though we know from a recent Vermont-specific…

Nicole Grenier: Child care struggles in Vermont

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Nicole Grenier, who is the owner of Stowe Street Café in Waterbury. She also serves as a board member of Main Street Alliance, a Steering Committee member of the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance, and a State Advisory Council member for Building Bright Futures. As…

How universal pre-K is changing early education in Vermont

At the beginning of this school year, every preschool aged child in Vermont was able to attend publicly funded pre-kindergarten. It's the first year Universal Pre-K has been fully implemented across the state. Gail Beck is the director and head teacher at Wee Explorers Preschool, in Morrisville. She…

Early Childhood Education Means Business

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Chloe Learey, who is the executive director of Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development  in Brattleboro. She served on the “Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High-Quality, Affordable Child Care.” To those who ask “Why should I pay for someone else’s…

Early Childhood Advocates Turn Out in Montpelier Despite Historic Snow Storm

Vermonters descend on the State House to tell legislators to invest in kids at 2017 Early Childhood Day at the Legislature  Montpelier, Vermont—Burlington’s second largest snow storm in history didn’t stop more than 80 brave and determined advocates and 75 legislators from participating in Early Childhood…

Why we offer paid family leave

Healthy children. Happy parents. A positive work culture. Engaged, productive and loyal employees who feel valued and supported to do their very best work. These are just a few of the many reasons the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children chooses to offer paid family leave. We believe offering paid family…

High Quality PreK Levels The Playing Field For Kids In Caledonia County

Every child deserves an equal chance in life. Vermont’s universal pre-K law, known as Act 166, is one important way we can ensure young children get the quality early experiences they need for future success in school, in relationships and in life. Like many other places in Vermont, St. Johnsbury…

Early childcare is important

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…

Will Patten: Outdated school assumptions

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Will Patten, a retired Ben & Jerry’s executive and former executive director of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. On Feb. 1 I attended a meeting of Vermont business leaders to discuss the importance of early childhood education. Gov. Phil Scott came…

Vermont must do more to make child care accessible, sustainable

All Vermont families deserve access to high-quality affordable childcare that supports the individual growth of their children and families. As a childcare provider and a parent of two young boys, I have experienced many of Vermont’s childcare challenges. I am the owner and director of a small, licensed…

Early education a crucial need

In Phil Scott’s recent mandate regarding school budgets, he addressed the need to level-fund K-12 programs in order to put more funding into early childhood education and day-care services. While this may sound like tough medicine, the need is real and the potential benefits are vast. Right now, day-…

Will VT. subsidize child care? The big return on investing in kids

he Vermont Business Roundtable, along with VBSR and others, released a report, Vermont’s Early Care and Learning Dividend, which details the return on investment that Vt stands to gain by increasing public investments in high-quality early care and learning programs. The report found that investing in…

New report makes economic case for spending more and earlier for learning

A major report released Monday by the Vermont Business Roundtable concludes that a radically expanded early education program that focuses on children aged 0-5 would pay the state back more than three-fold, while also improving social outcomes. According to the report, the lifetime benefits generated…

Report predicts big financial return on child care expansion

A new report finds that expanding and investing in high-quality child care and early education would be an economic boon to the state. For every dollar Vermont spends on such programs, the state could reap $3.08 back, according to a report by the Vermont Business Roundtable’s Research and Education…

Selling Vt. short

Critics say taxpayers will not see a reduction in their property taxes under Gov. Phil Scott’s proposal to change how Vermont funds its educational system. Paul Cillo, founder of the Public Assets Institute, says: “If schools make the cuts the governor has asked for, Vermont homeowners won’t see lower…

Vermont needs quality, affordable childcare options

Children are our future. When it comes to preparing our children for success in school, relationships and life, the first years are the most important. I have worked at various child care centers around my town, and I'm shocked at what it costs for parents and providers, what childcare workers are paid,…

Childcare providers applaud Scott proposals

Proposed $7.5M in assistance would help 500 families ST. ALBANS — Governor Phil Scott plans to increase investments in the state’s early care and learning programs by $9.6 million. In his budget address last week, Scott outlined his proposal to realign priorities and spending in public education…

Child Care Challenges: Funding, Lack of Openings Make It Harder for Centers, Parents

Thetford — Sitting in a circle surrounded by eight preschoolers, Veronica White slowly turned the pages to read from Quack and Count, a book that teaches children to count to seven. “Seven ducklings in a row. Count those ducklings as they go,” she read, as the children at Maple Leaf Children’s Center…

For the kids

A report released last week details just how important the role of family is across Vermont. But there are some trends that accentuate the time in which we live. “How Are Vermont’s Children and Families?” is designed to measure indicators and outcomes for the early care, health and education system.…

Scott Woodward: Investing in affordable child care

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Scott Woodward, an information technology consultant and Vermont Law School graduate who lives in North Pomfret. He is a former independent candidate for the state Senate in Windsor County, a member of Pomfret’s Capital Planning Committee, a member of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s…

Report: Pre-K access has improved, but access to childcare is limited

More children in Vermont have access to prekindergarten programs through a new law that gives families 10 hours of free instruction a week. Families, however, continue to struggle to find good quality child care, according to an advocacy group. Act 166, the universal pre-K law, gives parents vouchers…

Afford-Ability: Can Gov. Phil Scott Deliver a Bigger Slice of the Pie?

For Ellen Baier, "affordability" isn't just a buzzword. The 34-year-old mother of one has a college degree and a steady job. "But I still feel broke a lot of the time," she says. "I'm basically just keeping my head above water." Every month, the Burlington resident spends $924 — close to half of her…

Finding affordable child care in Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vt. - What will it take to improve child care options for working moms and dads across Vermont? And is it affordable? A Blue Ribbon Commission tasked with tackling the topic recently released its findings. Chairperson Charlotte Ancel appeared on "The :30" to tell us more. Watch the video…

Is there a solution to Vermont's child care crisis?

Some facts about Vermont’s child care crisis: Nearly 80% of infants and toddlers likely to need child care in Vermont do not have access to high-quality programs Middle-income families with two children are paying up to 40% of their income on child care. Child care workers earn on average…

Matt Levin: Vermont’s Child Care Puzzle

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Matt Levin, of Berlin, who is the executive director of the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance.  Vermonters usually find a way to make things work. That’s the way it is with so much of our lives, whether we are talking about making a living or supporting a family…

Alan Guttmacher: Child care a necessity and a wise investment

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Alan Guttmacher, M.D., a pediatrician and medical geneticist, who is senior advisor to the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children. He served as director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health from 2009-2015.…

Support plan for good, affordable child care

Tracy Patnoe is the owner/director of Mud City Kids in Morrisville. She mentors fellow child care providers through the Vermont Birth to Five peer-to-peer mentoring program. All parents want the best for their children. Like so many Vermont parents before and after me, when my second child was born,…

Report calls for major boost in child care spending

MONTPELIER — A new report says Vermont should appropriate significantly more than the $130 million in state and federal funds it currently spends on early child care to help all Vermonters up to age 5 receive equal access. The report from The Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable…

Cost and shortage of childcare hinder employment

For as long as memory serves, the lack of jobs in the Northeast Kingdom, generally touted as the most economically depressed area of the state, has been considered the big hindrance to prosperity. But by most measures, the Northeast Kingdom currently has more jobs than workers willing, or able, to…

Commission: childcare unaffordable; Low pay found to be driving out providers

Note: This story appeared on the front page of the St. Albans Messenger on Tuesday, 12/13, 2016. It is reposted here in full with permission of the Messenger.  ST. ALBANS — According to Vermont’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Childcare report released last Friday, high…

Vermont Edition: Taking On The Child Care Challenge

Finding affordable, high quality child care in Vermont is a big challenge – and it can leave Vermont parents feeling like they're out of options. Now, a commission formed to tackle the problem is out with new recommendations. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care…

Torti: High quality, affordable child care is an economic imperative

Tom Torti is President of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. Last week the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality Affordable Child Care sent its final report to the governor and Legislature. The report provides policymakers with recommendations and financing options to make…

Study recommends state move towards universal early child care

Vermont spends about $130 million on early education and preK each year, but it’s not enough, according to a Blue Ribbon Commission tasked with studying how to create and pay for quality care and schooling for children from birth to age 5. It will take an investment of somewhere between $283 million…

Three things to know about VT's new child care report

Vermont's child care costs are under the microscope again in a new report that recommends an expansion in state subsidies. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High-Quality, Affordable Child Care released a 121-page final report Friday, just in time for a new legislative session and governor's…

Blue Ribbon Commission on affordable child care issues report

Child care in Vermont costs too much and workers get paid too little. A report released today on early child care in Vermont says that equitable early care and learning for all Vermont children ages birth to five is the most significant opportunity for the state to make systemic and dynamic improvements…

Opinion: Childcare can be economic engine

Thank you for the informative article on the recent history of the Dealer.Com buy-outs in your Sept. 29 edition. I was particularly interested in the priorities that Senior Vice President Wayne Pastore emphasized to encourage further growth in the Vermont business sector. I wholeheartedly agree with…

Opinion: Universal pre-K worth the effort

The recent front-page story in the Burlington Free Press, “Gaps exist in pre-K background checks” (Nov. 1), focused on implementation challenges of Vermont’s universal pre-K law that provides 3, 4 and 5 year olds access to of 10 hours of voluntary, high-quality, pre-k programs. It’s been a bumpy road,…

The election is over but our work is just beginning

We're looking forward to making history with you. Starting today.  Giving our children a strong start is something that unites us all. Our collective work to create real and lasting change for Vermont’s children and their families is arguably the most important work we can do today for a better future.…

PAI: Make Vermont family friendly

This January, Vermont will have all new leadership at the State House. It’s the perfect time to zero in on three initiatives that are fundamental to Vermonters’ lives: Ensure that work pays and families meet their basic needs Make smart evidence-based investments Restore public confidence…

Gubernatorial candidates offer different proposals to fix Vermont’s early childhood system

About 200 people watched an early childhood gubernatorial candidates panel on Friday, October 14, which was held at the UVM Davis Center in Burlington and live-streamed on the Let’s Grow Kids website. Candidates Sue Minter and Phil Scott, who are neck-and-neck in the race to be Vermont’s next governor…

Permanent Fund: It’s time we gave early childhood professionals the pay and recognition they deserve

Why the US Bureau of Labor Statistics needs to reclassify early childhood professionals Research tells us that the most important component of high-quality early care and education is the quality and consistency of the caregiver or teacher. Unfortunately, the early childhood field does not offer the…

A Historic Moment: Child Care Policy a Bipartisan Priority in National and Local Elections

This week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced his plan to make child care more affordable, proposing tax deductions and employer incentives to provide child care to employees. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has proposed that no family should spend more than…

Opinion: Importance of quality child care

As I look back on the various clinical and administrative positions I have held in the field of mental health and addiction in my nearly 30 year career, I have always considered my work with children and adolescents to be among the most rewarding. This is one reason why I read a report released in May…

Child Care Advocates Hope Commission Will Help Boost Public Funding

The high cost of child care poses a serious financial challenge for many families in Vermont. Next year, lawmakers are going to decide whether government should do more to help parents pay for it.  Lawmakers are known for their propensity to create study committees, and they often end up being a place…

Panel hears about link between child care, economic security

BURLINGTON — Athena Rork, a Winooski mother, remembers getting a distressing phone call at a time when her fledgling small business was breaking even and starting to grow. “‘Your child care assistance has been cut off. In fact, it was cut off two months ago, so you owe two months,’” she recalls being…

Updated regulations aren't enough; we need to invest in our kids

Solving Vermont's child care challenge requires increased investment in the state's early childhood system In recent months, Let's Grow Kids has been hearing concerns from child care providers and parents about the state's updated regulations for regulated child care programs, some of which go into effect…

VPR Commentator John Vogel: Pre-Kindergarten

On July 1, Vermont became the fourth State to fund pre-Kindergarten for all its 3 and 4 year old children. It’s a good first step and speaks to an important need. According to Governor Shumlin, for 70% of the children in Vermont under the age of 6, both parents are in the labor force. Hence there…

Another view: Access to affordable high quality early care is preventive medicine

As I look back on the various clinical and administrative positions I have held in the field of mental health and addiction in my nearly 30 year career, I have always considered my work with children and adolescents to be among the most rewarding. This is one reason why I read a report released in May…

Stalled at the Start: Analysis reveals Vermont’s child care challenge

Burlington, Vermont—  A new report about the supply of and demand for child care in Vermont reveals that an alarming number of Vermont’s infants and toddlers likely to need care don’t have access to high-quality, affordable child care.  More than 70% of Vermont children under age 6 are likely to need…

St. Albans Messenger Editorial: A ‘two percent’ issue that is Vermont’s future

In Franklin County there are an estimated 1,200 children in need of child care and only four percent of them have access to high-quality programs, according to a report released this month by Let’s Grow Kids, which is a project of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children. Of the 1,200 children, 785…

Vermont Cannot Afford to Place the Healthy Development of Our Children on a Waiting List

Every Vermont child deserves a strong start.  However, 40-50% of Vermont’s children enter kindergarten unprepared.  Additionally, 1 in 4 of Vermont’s children do not have expected levels of social and emotional development and 1 in 6 of Vermont’s children rank below expected levels on communications…

Town Meeting Day Shows That Child Care is a Growing Concern for Vermonters

BURLINGTON—By early afternoon on Town Meeting Day 2016, it was clear that one challenge that’s quickly becoming urgent in Vermonters’ minds is the cost, availability and quality of child care for Vermont’s youngest children. The evidence? Hundreds of Vermonters showed up at 100 polling places in 90 cities…

Launch of Vermont’s Blue Ribbon Commission Hailed as Milestone in Building Quality, Affordable Child Care

BURLINGTON—Advocates for high-quality, affordable childcare are gearing up to support the work of a new Blue Ribbon Commission established by legislation Governor Peter Shumlin signed June 11 as part of Vermont’s 2016 budget bill. The job of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable…

Governor Shumlin Brings Attention to VT Childcare Challenge

BURLINGTON— In his 2016 budget, Governor Peter Shumlin has put a spotlight on a key issue facing Vermonters: the importance of high quality, affordable childcare. Let’s Grow Kids, a statewide public education campaign that aims to raise understanding of the importance of the earliest years in the lives…

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