AMBITIOUS PLAN FOR CHILD CARE IN VERMONT
Vermont Houses grants preliminary approval
H.171 is a landmark bill with an ambitious goal: that no family receiving subsidized child care spend more than 10 percent of its gross annual income on child care. With $12.5 million in state and proposed federal funds, H.171 continues the redesign of childcare subsidies to help more low- and middle-income families, updates the IT system that supports this program, and invests in the early childhood workforce through scholarships and student loan repayment.
It also kick-starts a study on how our state’s childcare system is governed and organized, with recommendations on a stable, long-term funding source to meet the bill’s goals.
Three out of five of Vermont’s youngest children don’t have access to the childcare they need. Yet the average cost of childcare for a Vermont family is more than $20,000 a year, with middle-income households spending more than 40 percent of their income on this basic necessity. Meanwhile, the median annual income for a childcare worker is only $27,600, often without benefits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed what we already knew: Accessible, affordable, reliable and high-quality childcare is critical for Vermont’s youngest children, for our families, and for our workers and employers. H.171 is a childcare bill that will help put our state on the path to economic recovery and vitality.
With this strategy in place workforce participation will surely increase. Many employers are frustrated that workers seeking employment are very few. This should help that shortage.