Hart on Quality Childcare

Brent Finnegan -- October 29th, 2009

Continuing your questions for Gene Hart and Matt Lohr from yesterday, hburgnews.com readers John Reeves and Dany Fleming asked questions of the candidates on Facebook relating to childcare.

Here’s Gene Hart’s response (Matt Lohr declined to participate).

Because they are related, I will [answer John’s and Dany’s questions] together.

John Reeves: “How can Virginia help provide high quality child day care to: a) single-parent/ low-income parents who need financial help and sliding-scale fees? And b) single parents at high school, who after screening, really need help from the “village” to earn their degree and to learn and utilize effective parenting and life-skills to escape cycle of poverty?”

3. Dany Fleming: (follow up to Reeves’ question) “How would Virginia support the availability of higher quality and properly funded daycare for every child and parent – those who may need a sliding-scale and those who don’t?”

John and Dany, in tight budget times (and they will get tighter in the next two years as federal stimulus monies cease) it will be difficult to maintain current levels of state support to these stressed parents. It will likely be impossible to provide increased state support. I wish it were otherwise but I refuse to promise beyond where I expect I could even attempt to deliver if elected.

With regard to the second part of John’s question, I expect that this is aimed at discussing programs such as Harrisonburg High School’s 4T program. A quick disclaimer: my wife, Jill, teaches at HHS and has taught in the 4T program. We know the program, we know the people who run it, and we know the students (male and female) who have benefited from its existence. We can have this program or we will have more dropouts. We can have this program or we will have more young parents (male and female) who have no idea how to live up to their responsibilities as parents even when they want to meet those responsibilities. Sure, their parents should have taught them; but, when they haven’t we as a society should not refuse to undertake efforts that can break that cycle.

4T is a great program and I would want to do everything I could to get funds to see it survive. However, again, I can’t promise that the money is there in the state coffers. I can suggest that HHS and the county schools consider whether they can come up with a regional funding plan and implementation plan. Build on the program at HHS, don’t necessarily try to replicate it in the county high schools. Perhaps young parents from across the region could be consolidated at HHS with funding from other localities (in addition to available state, federal and private funding).

Election day is Tuesday, November 3rd, at your regular polling location (where you voted last year).

2 Responses to “Hart on Quality Childcare”

  1. Renee says:

    It’s nice to hear a politician be honest about what he can and can’t promise.

  2. Lowell Fulk says:

    I agree Renee.

    Gene isn’t the usual politician. He will represent us very well.

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