Category Archives: Front Page News

Burlington Free Press, Opinion: Vermont needs family leave insurance

As a family educator and lifelong advocate, I have long been concerned about the challenges faced by Vermonters who don’t have access to paid family and medical leave.

While may employees nationally and in Vermont are eligible for unpaid family leave through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or the Vermont Parental and Family Leave Act (PFLA) leave remains inaccessible for those who cannot afford to take time off unpaid.

I have known far too many new mothers who find themselves unable to take time off after the birth of their babies to experience the bonding that is essential to positive early attachment and socio-emotional development, let alone begin the process of post-partum physical healing. Invariably, these mothers are returning to jobs in the service industry where they are required to stand for long periods of time and are challenged to find adequate break time to rest, let alone pump breast milk for their newborns.

These circumstances begin a cycle in which many mothers are forced to abandon their intentions to provide breast milk to their babies, the form of nutrition best able to support infant growth and known to increase immunity from illness. Children who are denied this tailor-made nutrition are then more susceptible to illness, and have parents who are (again) unable to take time off to care for them. We then see the unnecessary spread of infections that run through early care and education environments, and into our workplaces through parents who are themselves forced to go to work sick. Without job-protected, paid time off, parents face an impossible choice between their families’ health and their income.

Currently, Vermont has been considering implementing a statewide family and medical leave insurance program that would allow Vermonters to have access to paid, job-protected leave for to take time to bond with or care for a newborn, recover from a serious long-term illness or injury, or care for a family member with a serious long-term illness or injury.

Creating a statewide insurance program not only would provide relief to families, but to employers who would no longer have to make the choice about whether or not to provide maternity, paternity, or disability leave to their employees. Programs such as this help boost our economy by attracting more young talented people to the state and encouraging young families to stay in Vermont, which ultimately helps attract new businesses here and helps our current small business community thrive.

Samantha Stevens lives in Winooski.

S.20 has been officially signed into law.

Governor Shumlin has officially signed S.20 into law, establishing dental therapists in Vermont! Vermont Digger article: Gov. Shumlin Celebrates Law to Expand Dental Services to More Vermonters “The new law creates a licensing level of dental care providers that is mid-way between a hygienist and a dentist, and sets high standards for education, testing and supervision.Continue Reading

Vermont ranks 6th for child well-being in annual KIDS COUNT Data Book

The 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a state-by-state index of the well-being of America’s children, ranks Vermont 6th in the nation for overall child well-being. Vermont’s ranking has fallen in recent years; in 2013 and 2014 the state was ranked 2nd but in 2015 it fell to 5th place. The Data Book determines a state’sContinue Reading

Equity In Vermont Education System Requires Multi-Level Approach

Equity In Vermont Education System Requires Multi-Level Approach

Voices for Vermont’s Children, an independent child policy research and advocacy non-profit, released a new report today. Education Matters: The Impacts of Systemic Inequity in Vermont examines the impacts of rising social inequality on Vermont students and student achievement by looking at indicators like standardized test scores, school size, disciplinary practices, out-of-school time, and graduationContinue Reading

VT Digger: Patrick Rowe: Dental therapists could boost access to dental care

Patrick Rowe: Dental therapists could boost access to dental care Apr. 26, 2016, 6:55 pm by Commentary 1 Comment Editor’s note: This commentary is by Dr. Patrick Rowe, a dentist at Red Clover Family Dentistry in Bristol.   When I started practicing dentistry in 2003, the only thing I focused on was providing theContinue Reading

Budget Update

Voices for Vermont’s Children stands with the many organizations serving and giving voice to Vermonters who are being left behind by an uneven economic recovery in asking the legislature to increase investments in children and families. Almost 16% of Vermont children (more than 18,000) are living below the poverty line, a higher rate than whatContinue Reading

Increasing access to oral health care in Vermont

Voices has long been concerned with health disparities that are masked by Vermont’s relatively good record on providing health care. One of the most significant disparities exists in access to oral health. Because oral health is integral to overall health, the lack of access to dental care in Vermont undermines the health and well beingContinue Reading

We need dental therapists in Vermont. Read Megan’s story:

We are advocating for increased access to oral health care in Vermont. One Vermonter shared how helpful this will be for her, read her story below: We are a self-employed family of six—my husband works as a carpenter. We grow our own food and are thrifty in every possible way. Yet, we cannot afford healthContinue Reading

Paid Sick Days Testimony 1/20/16

Annie Accettella of Voices for Vermont’s Children testified to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. Read her testimony here:   January 20, 2016 To: The Senate Committee on Economic Development Re: Testimony on H. 187 Healthy Workplaces Bill Provided by: Annie Accettella Campaign Director, Voices for Vermont’s Children   Good MorningContinue Reading

JOIN US for our conference!

Advocacy Matters: Transforming the State Together Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM - Montpelier, VT What would happen if the people devoted to serving Vermont’s most vulnerable people came together, created a shared vision and worked together to make that vision a reality? What if we really could change the world? Get tickets now! At thisContinue Reading