Focus

There is an inTense Need for this work in Vermont.

Child care is a necessity for most Vermont families, allowing parents to go to work or school. 

According to the Census Bureau, 7 out of 10 Vermont children under age 6—about 18,000 children—have all available parents in the labor force, meaning they’re likely to need child care.

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of Vermont kids under age 6 have all available parents in the labor force.

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of infants and toddlers likely to need child care in Vermont do not have access to high-quality programs.

The availability and accessibility of child care in Vermont has not kept up with this demand.

A supply and demand analysis of child care in the state finds that half of infants and toddlers likely to need child care don’t have access to any regulated programs. The situation is even more bleak when quality is introduced into the equation: nearly 80% of infants and toddlers likely to need child care in Vermont do not have access to high-quality programs, as defined by Vermont’s quality recognition and improvement system.

For those families who are fortunate enough to find child care, affordability becomes the next challenge.

On average, middle-income Vermont families are paying up to 40% of their income to child care, and a recent legislative study found that high-quality child care is not affordable for 90% of families in the state.

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of household income goes to child care for many Vermont families.

These child care challenges present major obstacles for parents who depend on it to go to work. Forced to choose between work and family, many parents opt to drop out of the workforce, losing needed income and benefits, not to mention retirement savings and long-term earning power. Meanwhile, businesses lose talented employees and, overall, Vermont is experiencing a rapid loss of young, talented people who are in search of an affordable lifestyle.

Furthermore, Vermont is in the midst of an opiate crisis and more than half of the children in state custody are there because of substance abuse at home. Without better access to support, the likelihood that these children facing hardship will become lifelong financial burdens to the state is high.

The dire need to support our workforce of today and ensure healthy development of the workforce of tomorrow makes access to high-quality child care a social and economic imperative for Vermont.

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