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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Lack of Available Child Care Impacts VT Economy, Families

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Thursday, June 15, 2023   

Vermont ranks fourth in the nation on measures of child well-being, according to a new report.

The 2023 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation gives the state high marks for economic well-being, education and health, but a lack of affordable and accessible child care continues to impact families and ultimately the state's economy.

Sarah Teel, research director for the nonprofit Voices for Vermont's Children, said even if families can afford child care, they may not be able to find it.

"It's really a significant burden to just not have choices, and on another level on the choices that families do have, are those the choices that really suit the needs of their particular children?" Teel asked.

Gov. Phil Scott recently vetoed what Teel called a historic child care bill to improve access and affordability, saying he objects to the payroll tax to partially pay for it.

The report ranked Vermont eighth in the nation for economic well-being but Teel emphasized there is room for improvement.

Twenty-four percent of Vermont children lived in households spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs in 2021. Teel noted even more children are living in households struggling to find full-time, year-round employment.

"When all the expenses are too expensive it just doesn't add up," Teel asserted.

Teel added lawmakers can help improve kids' outcomes by ensuring an equitable and comprehensive economic safety net to provide families with the resiliency needed to navigate today's economy.

Disclosure: The Annie E. Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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