STATEMENT OF LT. GOVERNOR MOLLY GRAY ON H.171, RELATING TO VERMONT’S CHILD CARE SYSTEM
Montpelier, Vt—Today, Lt. Governor Gray released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of H.171:
“Today, I applaud the Senate’s unanimous passage of H. 171, an act relating to child care in Vermont.
I congratulate the Senate and House committees of jurisdiction as well as Speaker Krowinski and President Pro Tempore Balint on their leadership, as well as the many tireless advocates who helped make this historic child care and early childhood education legislation a reality.
This pandemic has further exposed what we’ve always known: women continue to take the lead in caring for loved ones and here in Vermont have stepped up to care for children and families at great economic loss. On average, Vermont families spend $20,000 a year on child care. What is more, we continue to struggle to recruit and retain child care providers and early childhood educators and to meet their basic needs.
This legislation supports families, children and child care providers. It expands access to child care for families by expanding eligibility under the Child Care Financial Assistance Program. It increases compensation for providers, and supports workforce development opportunities for current and future providers. It also supports student loan repayment for providers and seeks to modernize existing technology to establish a more user-friendly, state-wide child care system.
With further support for child care in the American Rescue Plan Act and President Biden’s American Families Plan on the horizon, H. 171 establishes important infrastructure to fully transform Vermont’s child care system to support access to affordable, quality care for families. No Vermont family should have to choose between caring for children and paying the bills.
I commend the legislature for its action to address the urgent child care needs of Vermont families and I am hopeful the House will swiftly send the amended bill to Governor Scott for his full support.”