Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: ECE must reconsider COVID-19 guidance

To the Vermont Agency of Human Services and Child Development Division:
First we’d like to thank you for the support you are providing in order to maintain the early care and education system in Vermont. We are proud to be part of the Vermont system holding Early Childhood Care and Education (ECE) as essential to our communities’ economic and social well being. That said, we are writing to let you know how uncomfortable it feels to have to un-enroll a child who has been attending our program and offer their spot to another family, in order to have the family’s tuition covered at 100%. 
The Childcare Stabilization Program has been developed and enacted as part of the COVID-19 response in Vermont. It unfairly punishes families who cannot afford to pay tuition and places unnecessary stress on families at a time when they are already experiencing unprecedented amounts of stress, both financially and emotionally. It also places additional stress on program directors who do not want to see their families lose the important support they receive from teachers and do not want to see families lose their connection to their child care community at a time when connection and support are more important than ever. If the state can afford to pay 100% if a family unenrolls their child, it stands to reason they can pay to support families who stay enrolled in their current program. 
This guidance outlined by the program doesn’t fit with the state’s mission to support children and families, nor does it comply with licensing regulations, which require programs to provide consistency and continuity of care. 
We implore the Child Development Division and the state of Vermont to reconsider this seemingly contradictory guidance and provide financial support for those families who are unable to continue to pay tuition due to loss of employment while still enrolled in their current program. 
In order to keep our Early Childhood programs intact and ready for children and families to return, we need to keep our program communities intact and connected. This is vital for supporting the young children and families in our care through this traumatic time.
Thank you.
Amethyst Peaslee (New Haven) 
Su White (Lincoln) 
On behalf of the ECE Network in Addison County 

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