I provide care for my grandchildren, one of which requires a great deal of specialized care. I am thankful for having the opportunity to take care of them but it entails a great deal of work and many long hours. Being able to provide a safe and healthy environment for them gives their parents a peace of mind that their children are being cared for well and by someone they trust.
However, since this has become my full time profession, I have continuously struggled to make ends meet because of the wage paid through subsidy. I pride myself in the care I provide and often times don’t have anything to show for it because I invest so much of what I make back into the kids through transportation, art supplies, books, toys and food. Costs are continuously rising as every Vermonter can see. But would you work for less than $2 an hour? I feel that our children’s welfare isn’t taken very seriously by the state when subsidy rates have failed to go up over the last 10 years. But if I can not afford to provide this care, then the children’s parents will not be able to afford childcare elsewhere and therefore will not be able to work. Thus, forcing them to be completely reliant on the state to help them survive.
I have been working with Vermont Early Educators United to improve our situation and allow our voices to be heard. But something has to change for the sake of our communities, families and children. I urge my legislators to support this fundamental right and let childcare providers choose for themselves what is best by passing Senate Bill 316.