May 13, 2022

Blog: That's a Wrap on the 2021-2022 Legislative Biennium

On May 12, 2022, the Vermont Legislature concluded its 2021-2022 legislative biennium. The 2021-2022 biennium saw major momentum on child care, charting a course for lasting child care transformation and making strategic investments to sustain Vermont’s child care system through the pandemic.

In 2021, the Vermont Legislature passed H.171/Act 45, which laid the foundation for our future work to achieve equitable, high-quality, affordable child care for all Vermont children birth to five. This year, the Legislature made incremental investments to stabilize the child care system, while continuing to work toward the goals outlined in H.171/Act 45.

2022 victories/successes included:

  • $7 million in retention bonuses for people working in regulated child care programs to help retain these essential employees
  • A $4.9 million increase to the Child Care Financial Assistance Program to raise rates paid to child care programs on behalf of families and to expand the number of days that families can be absent from care and programs can be closed without losing tuition support
  • $3.44 million to expand Vermont’s Child and Dependent Care Credit, providing a refundable tax credit equivalent to 72% of the federal credit for all Vermont families paying out of pocket for care
  • $800,000 to increase child care capacity for infants and toddlers
  • $100,000 to support high school students interested in careers in Early Childhood Education through the Pre-apprenticeship program
  • Language authorizing funding for the Child Care Financing Study outlined in H.171/Act 45
  • Language directing the Department for Children and Families to work with stakeholders and legislative committees on redesigning Vermont’s child care quality improvement system (STARS)

Thanks to your efforts, this biennium was a HUGE success for Vermont’s child care system. Together, we have laid the groundwork for our biggest ask yet in 2023 – securing the final changes needed to fully implement the promises established in H.171/Act 45: that no Vermont family spends more than 10% of their income on child care, early childhood educators are fairly compensated, and our child care system has the funding and resources necessary to ensure that all children birth to five have access to programs that best meet their needs.

So let’s take a moment to celebrate the amazing victories we achieved this biennium and let’s get ready to get out in our communities this summer and fall as Vermont prepares for statewide elections. Together, we can ensure that ALL of Vermont’s elected officials understand that child care is essential to Vermont’s children, their families, our communities, and our economy.

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