The economy is still hurting — and so are Vermont’s children and families. Thousands of families are struggling economically and thousands of children are growing up in poverty. Governor Shumlin recently stated in his inaugural address, “The objective is simple: every Vermonter must have the same opportunity for success…economically, intellectually and socially. Part of achieving that success is ensuring that our children don’t grow up in poverty. Almost one in three Vermont children live in low-income households. Without proper nutrition, quality early education, or a stable home, these children too often enter kindergarten far behind their peers, and the spiral begins. They are more likely to drop out of school, abuse substances, and become statistics later in life. We can make a difference in their lives, and we will.”
This Spotlight on Vermont’s Kids features Voices’ two page fact sheet on the economic well-being of children and families in Vermont. Highlights include:
- 19% of Vermont children under the age of 6 live in poverty – a 26% increase since the start of the Great Recession
- 14% of Vermont households are food insecure – a 42% increase since the start of the Great Recession
- In 2009, on any given night, almost a third of the people staying in homeless shelters were children
Our kids can’t wait for the economy to rebound to grow up. We need to make sure we support them now by continuing to fund programs and services that allow them to develop and thrive.
Vermont has choices in responding to the budget deficits brought about by the economic downturn. The fact is we cannot have economic growth in the future if so many of tomorrow’s workforce start out in poverty now. Investing in our kids and families is the best way to ensure a bright and prosperous future for Vermont.