In September the Rutland Building Bright Futures Council was visited by Charlie Gliserman from the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance, who gave us a review of the past legislative session and spoke about advocacy via the Alliance.
During the 2019 legislative session, children were a clear priority in the State House. While not every program tracked by the Alliance saw increased funding, the FY20 budget passed by the Legislature includes the largest investment in child care in years. The Legislature also passed legislation protecting children from lead exposure.
Areas of importance to the council that saw increases were:
- Reach Up
- Child Care Financial Assistance Program
- Workforce Development
- Parent Child Center Master Grant
The Council was reminded that continued advocacy is necessary. The voice of educators and others who work to support children must continue to be heard strongly to benefit our youngest Vermonters.
Please visit the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance website for more information: https://vecaa.org/ or to discuss ideas, contact Charlie Gliserman, Public Engagement Director: 802-595-9913; email@example.com.
The Council also reviewed the action plan and identified professional development as a key priority. The council will encourage and support trainings in Early MTSS, trainings to help staff become more trauma informed, suicide prevention as it pertains to early education, gender identity, and early literacy. Emergency planning and training will also be addressed.
Council support for WIC and the WIC-sponsored Baby Showers continues. These events have become very popular and are well attended. They include all of the traditional elements of a baby shower including games, gifts for baby and Mom and delicious healthy food. A local children’s shop donates lots of clothing and other baby items that Moms can take home for free. The difference in this baby shower is that education is included, delivered by a guest speaker. Often this is a local pediatrician who will talk about postpartum depression, taking care of yourself as a new mom or what to expect during your stay at the hospital. There is also a resource table packed full of information about available services for children and families.
An idea being explored by the Council is the promotion of “baby wearing” and its benefits. Medical professionals agree that infants thrive through touch; “wearing” your baby is another way to meet this need. The council will be seeking ways to make simple slings available to new mothers and opportunities to educate them as to the benefits of baby wearing. One idea is to create a sewing group to make slings. Stay tuned to see how this effort develops.