Advocates seek to make childcare a licensed profession, say families should pay only 10 percent on care

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CHILDCARE: Statehouse lawmakers about to start a new session are considering introducing legislation that would make childcare a licensed profession.

Speaking at a legislative summit on paid family leave and childcare this month, the director of the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children said one of the goals for the upcoming session is to make childcare a state-licensed profession.

“There is a consensus and a recommendation to establish early childhood care as a registered profession, moved to individual professional licensure,” Janet McLaughlin, executive director of the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children said. “… We’re excited about looking at what the legislation might be for that.”

She talked more about what such as licensing system would imply.

“It’s what will create the system to allow the people to enter the profession and to move up — it provides a framework for us to hang compensation on to in a way that’s meaningful,” McLaughlin said.

“It allows for higher education institutions to know what skills they are supposed to be training.  … It allows their employers to know what potential applicants has their skills, and so it will really allow us to unwind some of the complexities in this sort of top-down approach that we have right now.”

More than 2,500 childcare workers, McLaughlin added, are already working toward professional licenses.

She also noted many of those in the early childcare workforce have advanced degrees in early childhood development, so the profession should be taken more seriously.

“The work that early childhood educators take on, you know we have a code of ethical conduct, there’s position statements on equity, there’s position statements on developmentally appropriate practice in the State of Vermont, there are other Vermont guiding principles for the full and equitable participation of each and every child. … And we know that they are compensated nowhere near the value that they are bringing.”

Equity is front and center for all policies

The theme of ‘equity’ took center stage as conversations progressed. Aly Richards, chief executive officer at Let’s Grow Kids, was among the attendees at the summit who emphasized the term.

“This movement was founded on the principles of equity — it ripples through every possible mention of this,” she said. “… The equity issue has even crept into our business conversations recently. These large employers, they see this as a crisis. They are maybe able to push a little bit here and there [but] not solve the systemic problems of supply, quality and access.”

Good for the economy?

Richards made the argument that paying for childcare now will boost the economy by up to $270 million by allowing parents to get back to work.

“That’s the economic boost that we get when we put thousands of Vermonters back to work. Wnd we know they will go back to work when they have access to high-quality and affordable care,” Richards said.

Richards, who has a young child, said her employer allows employees to bring kids to work, but that not all employers allow for that.

“My friends, my colleagues, my peers, who’s going to stay home? Who’s going to watch my child? Again I’m here because I’m the lucky one,” she said.

She said her household currently pays about 29% of their income on childcare.

The 10% goal for family childcare expenses

House Speaker Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, who moderated the summit, said families should not have to pay more than 10% on childcare.

“We are on the path of trying to figure out how can we make this happen,” she said. “We know that there are families that are paying over 30% for childcare costs, and that is simply unacceptable.”

Parts of the legislative summit can be viewed online here.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

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10 thoughts on “Advocates seek to make childcare a licensed profession, say families should pay only 10 percent on care

  1. The State know best … If you get elected to public office, you somehow become the holder of wisdom far beyond the rest … so of course you need to bless the rest your wisdom. Maybe this will help parents make the decision to raise their own children instead of paying others to. Don’t be fooled by state funding that makes the equation for two-parent’s working seem like it make sense. Any child given to the state to raise, which is the case when the state sets the standards, including in public schools, will not be nearly as well prepared for the realities of life, than if the parents who love their child taught them.

  2. So they want everyone to be able to afford it but the caregivers need to be teacher type qualified. Who’s going to pay the care givers a wage equal to their education to give care if they don’t want the parents to pay? Sounds like another boondoggle gov tax plan to me.

  3. Most responsible citizens see the importance of a publicly-funded K-12 education system. Recently, the Vermont Legislature also saddled the taxpayers with funding “pre-school”…and they have the audacity to call that “early childhood ed”. If it’s “ed”, then isn’t it just “school” and not “pre-school”? That also must of course be provided by trained professionals since the teachers union OWNS the democrats in Montpelier. Again, if it’s PRE-school, then why is it being taught by trained education professionals? Now they want to expand that even further back to what anyone with common sense would simply refer to as babysitting. Many qualified and caring people provide this service in their homes for a reasonable cost, and there are already programs to subsidize it for the needy. Mandating this level of babysitting be in the hands of “trained professionals” is a slap in the face to those who already provide the service and dont really need any “advanced degrees”. We voted for this constantly-creeping socialism.

    • Those who pay the bills determine the outcome. If a parent wants to guide the education of their children, they need to pay for it. Public-funded is state-funded and makes the state, not the parent, the director of what is pushed into the heads of their children. Publicly/state-funding creates greater inflation. It is not cheaper in any respect, including the cost on the lives of our young people who are being fed a lot of lies. It is time to stop pretending to be asleep on these realities.

      • When I went to school. I was fortunate enough to attend a private co-ed day school and I had to work my ass off including hours long homework assignments. Homework allows a student to achieve a better understanding of the topics being addressed by a teacher. Mere class time is totally insufficient.

  4. The last time the legislature “fixed” daycare regulations, many daycares went out of business and
    costs increased exponentially for parents. Then the push for preschool and more mandates.
    Vermont’s legislature didn’t fix the problem then and it’s very doubtful things will improve now.
    We will, as taxpayers foot the bill for socialized daycare, the administration to “regulate” them, the consultants to tell the Agency of Education how to do their job, the Agency of Human Services to add in their requirements….shall I continue? krowinski needs to explain what happens when these day care professionals unionize and what those costs will be- and what exactly will be the plan when these workers strike?
    Let me put it another way- krowinski will need to raise taxes to pay for increased day care costs that the state mandates, wants to subsidize with more taxes to pay for, and is required because so many families need both parents working to live in Vermont and pay the exorbitant taxes.
    Only a socialist would agree to such logic.

    • Exactly! And thank you for including the unionizing component – the NeA is salivating with the thought of fresh meat for their dinner (aka, Union dues and control!).

  5. Who will pay for this? State requirements to get a license and education will mean fewer childcare workers and higher cost per child.

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