Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Announce Support for Three-Year Child Care Campaign

February 12th, 2021 (Burlington, VT) – Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) today announced their support of Lets Grow Kids’ (LGK) Three-Year Child Care Campaign. The campaign has been launched in an effort to ensure that all Vermont children have access to high-quality early childhood education that meets the needs of children and their families.

VBSR’s members have seen the impact that a lack of high-quality, affordable child care has had on Vermont’s workforce first-hand. Business owners and employees alike have long struggled to access high-quality, affordable child care, which has a direct impact on the ability of businesses to succeed and Vermont’s economy to thrive. The lack of accessible and affordable child care forces many parents to leave the workforce altogether. Over time, a parent who leaves the workforce loses up to four times their annual salary per year. In a recent survey issued by VBSR and Main Street Alliance Vermont, 42.7% of business owners indicated that lack of child care is a challenge for their employee’s ability to return to work.

“High-quality, affordable child care is essential to Vermont’s families and businesses; never has this been more apparent than during the pandemic,” said VBSR Board Member and Head of Community Relations at National Life Group Beth Rusnock. “It’s time we work together to develop sustainable, realistic solutions to help make this happen.”

In the wake of the pandemic, it is clearer than ever before that child care plays a critical role in Vermont’s economy. Families who can’t afford child care have been forced to leave the workforce in droves. With four out of ten women in the United States leaving the labor force at some point to care for family members, the pandemic has had a particularly stark impact on Vermont’s women.

“The data has shown us what we suspected all along. That women bear the brunt of the socio-economic impacts when they can’t access child care,” said Sascha Mayer, VBSR Board Member and Co-founder and CEO of Mamava. “It’s women who, when the pandemic hit and their children were home, had to leave their jobs to care for their families. If universal child care was available to them, the economic impacts of the pandemic would look very different.”

The campaign will help the state reach the ultimate goal of high-quality, accessible child care for all Vermont children and families. It aims to make early childhood education more affordable, to fairly compensate and advance Vermont’s early childhood education workforce and to expand access to high-quality early childhood education throughout the state.

“Clearly, this has been an issue in Vermont long before the pandemic hit,” said VBSR Board Member Duane Peterson, Co-president of SunCommon. “But as is the case with many things, the pandemic really highlighted existing issues of inequity. As a Vermont employer, it’s critically important to me that my employees have access to child care so they can continue to play an important role on our team. Losing people from our workforce has devastating impacts on our company.”

The campaign will also focus on investing in new IT for Vermont’s early childhood education system and strengthening the early childhood education system governance and administration as well as identifying a long-term funding plan for the state’s early childhood education system.

“VBSR is committed to moving the state toward a fairer and more inclusive economy,” said Roxanne Vought, Executive Director of VBSR. “Providing access to high-quality affordable child care will make our state a more equitable place and allow both our economy and all of our people to thrive.”

Photo from Let’s Grow Kids.