Letter: Tough choices for parents


Lack of high-quality, affordable child care forces tough choices for parents.

My husband and I are full-time working parents because we need two incomes to support our family. We have a five-year-old son and twenty- month old twin girls and like so many Vermont parents, we've had to make tough choices because high-quality, affordable child care is so hard to find.

As an early education professional myself, I know that the first five years of child development are crucial. During this time the child's brain is rapidly absorbing and developing, laying the foundation for social-emotional development, learning, and skill-building. Knowing this, my husband and I strived to find a nurturing and safe environment for our children.

In October of 2011, we joyfully welcomed our son into the world and proceeded to spend the next six weeks in a panic as we struggled to find affordable high-quality child care, within the vicinity of our home. We researched and visited several centers but the one we chose had a mile-long waiting list. We were able to get slot for part-time care at that center and had to piece together other arrangements for the rest of the hours. It wasn't ideal but it's what was available at the time.

Fast forward to March 2015 when we welcomed our twin daughters into the world. This time, after much discussion with my husband, I made the tough decision not to return to work because my paycheck would have been going to child care and we were really struggling to find a place that could take two full-time infants. It was a bittersweet time for me, as I loved being with my children, but I missed my passion of teaching.

One of the reasons for this is that child care is too expensive for families, and the cost of providing care is too high for the providers. In Rutland County, where I live, 89% of infants likely to need care don't have access to high-quality, regulated child care programs and 63% of infants likely to need care don't have access to ANY regulated care, according to research by Let's Grow Kids. This is way too high of a percentage.

This is why it's time that our state commits to investing in the early years. We need to change the way we're doing business in Vermont and that's why I signed the petition at www.letsgrowkids.org to show my support for prioritizing kids and increasing public investments in high-quality, affordable child care so every Vermont child has a strong start. Will you join me?

Laura Dailey



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