Vail Daily letter: Early childhood support | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Early childhood support

We know there are many in the community who are disappointed there will not be an initiative specific to early childhood on the November ballot. We want to assure you the availability and affordability of quality early childhood programs remain top priorities for both Eagle County government and Eagle County Schools, and let you know of our plans to address the issues our children, parents and caregivers are facing.

We are acutely aware that families are grappling with the high cost of child care and a lack of quality options. Businesses are feeling the pinch due to their employees' inability to find reliable care. Providers are unable to hire qualified staff and pay them a livable wage. Dedicated teachers struggle to offer children the educational programs they deserve while working long days for low pay.

This summer, our two organizations partnered on a comprehensive plan to address all of these critical issues. The Early Childhood Roadmap provides a clear path forward to help our children succeed, to help our parents with the cost of care, to help teachers advance their education, and to support child care programs in providing the highest quality education to our youngest children. You can view the roadmap at http://www.eaglecounty.us/HumanServices.

Together with our partners in both the Eagle River and Roaring Fork valleys, we will be advancing the recommendations laid out in the roadmap. We will be looking to community advocates to flesh out the plan, identify priorities, build community coalition and create a well-designed early childhood system that supports our children's health and education, as well as our parents.

We believe high quality early childhood development programs are important to our economic prosperity, to our children's future prosperity and to the betterment of society. We also believe our best way forward is to proceed thoughtfully, with a well-defined plan, and in concert with the community.

Jeanne McQueeney

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