Hundreds rally to support Vermont children, families

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Hundreds gathered at the Vermont Statehouse Wednesday for the annual Rally for Kids.

Early childhood advocates called on lawmakers to spend more on Vermont's children and support laws to make child care more affordable and accessible for Vermont families. They also want more financial support for early educators to attract and retain more qualified people.

House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski vowed support but didn't outline a plan to boost funding.

Early educator Jen Olson says early child care workers earn a median pay of $12.71 an hour and most leave the job because it does not pay enough.

"I love what I do but I cannot afford to start my own family and stay here in Vermont on an early educator's salary. I've seen too many dedicated professionals leave this field because they couldn't make ends meet," Olson said.

"Strong families also means everyone has access to high-quality, affordable child care, no matter what," said Krowinski, D-Burlington.

Olson says kindergarten teachers make about $24,000 more than early care workers.