Child care investment

To the Editor:

Vermont Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (VACCRRA) wholeheartedly supports Gov. Shumlin's proposed $17 million investment in the child care system. The governor's education agenda shines a spotlight on the importance of high quality child care and education for our children and communities.

An infusion of funding into the current child care financial assistance benefit program is long overdue. Today the state pays less than half the cost of child care so low income parents must choose programs based upon affordability rather than quality. The Governor's proposal would increase the number of families able to access assistance paying for child care by updating the eligibility criteria; would increase the benefit level for those who participate creating greater access to quality child care choices and; will increase reimbursement rates for child care programs which will provide greater stability for the fragile child care system. This will be an important leap forward that will help us reach the Governor's education and workforce goals and create a brighter future for Vermont.

VACCRRA appreciates that the Shumlin administration is responsive to the tax burden concerns of Vermont's citizens and is seeking to fund this initiative within current state resources. Understandably, many questions have been raised about the consequences of shifting funding from within the portfolio of resources that make it possible for low-income Vermonters to survive in a difficult economic environment. VACCRRA is interested in learning more about the impact that the proposed funding shift from the EITC to the CCFAP would have on families participating in both programs as well as the impact on all low-income Vermonters who depend upon the EITC.

We are actively working with local and state partners to clarify information and seek answers to these questions. Regardless of the funding source, we applaud the Governor's proposed investment in child care as smart, strategic investment in our future.

Elizabeth Raposa

VACCRRA Secretary, Executive Director, Windham Child Care Association

Kingdom Child Care Connection at Umbrella

St. Johnsbury, Vt.

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