I’m a speech therapist who has been in early education for the last decade, and I have seen over and over how the lack of early education is affecting our youth from a very young age. Many families are not able to be home with their children because today’s world requires two incomes. And if you happen to be a single parent, you are really trying to scrape, by all the while trying to have as normal a life as possible for the sake of your children. But many parents are not getting the support they need to be able to go to work each day AND be able to access affordable quality care for their children in their communities.
I have taken an extremely low paying job, nannying for a single mother with two children who are in need of my services as a speech therapist and qualified caregiver. I have grown to love this family as if they are my own and I want to help them now so they do have a good start in life. But the subsidy rate which this family qualifies for is not a livable wage and I cannot afford to keep doing this work and support my own family. Every child should have a strong start and it is often falling on the childcare provider to do that because of the economic changes that the country is going through. The state needs to recognize the need for early education and support the system that is already in place for families to access.
I believe joining with my fellow colleagues will only strengthen our field and give us the voice that we deserve so we can speak for ourselves and the families that we serve. That is why I have joined with Vermont Early Educators United in an effort to do exactly that.
I encourage my community and my legislators to also support this right and pass the bill S.316 that allows us to choose for ourselves what is best.