Apr 16, 2024

Act 76 is Working as Intended and Moving my Community Forward

A classroom at the newly opened ABC Academy East in Milton

Authored by Lisa LaBelle, owner of ABC Academy in Milton and St. Albans.

There is significant demand for child care in northwest Vermont, and access to child care has a ripple effect on the whole community. For my program and my community, the new, sustainable funding from Act 76 is working exactly as intended and moving us forward.

As the owner of ABC Academy, I’m celebrating the recent opening of a third child care location— ABC Academy East in Milton! Act 76 funding has allowed us to expand and create 50 new child care slots, totaling 187 spaces across Milton and St. Albans locations.

This historic legislation has also allowed us to better compensate educators. Due to increased investment from the state, we’re able to provide staff with higher wages, more benefits and time off, retirement contributions, and supplemental insurance. As we hire early childhood educators to staff our new program, we’re interviewing qualified candidates that wouldn’t have applied in the past: people looking for a change, more work-life balance, or the ability to be with their kids. We’re finally able to offer pay and benefits comparable with a job in a public school or health care.

Act 76 is also making child care more affordable for families. The income eligibility expansion that went into effect this month has benefited many of our families. One of our families has even reenrolled their child after leaving for personal reasons; the family now qualifies for child care tuition assistance, which has helped them access care and brought them peace of mind.

Our story is proof that Act 76 funding is reaching those who need it most – our educators, our families, and our kids – and it’s having profound impact in our communities. As a program owner, I’m so pleased to see this progress, to see that we’re doing right by Vermonters, and to keep tackling the child care crisis so we ensure a better future for Vermont.

Please take a minute to share how Act 76 has impacted you and your community here, so we can continue our momentum and deliver on the promise of this historic law.

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