Mar 25, 2021

Landmark Child Care Bill Sails Through Vermont House with 146 Votes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 25, 2021

Media Contact: Nicole Haley, 802-391-0545, nicole@letsgrowkids.org

Today the Vermont House passed landmark child care legislation that includes immediate investments to support Vermont’s economy and our children, helps families return to work, and lays a foundation for Vermont to achieve affordable access to high-quality child care for all families who need it.

The 146-1 House vote in favor of H.171, An Act Relating to the Governance and Financing of Vermont’s Child Care System, is a major win for children, families, and early childhood educators as well as Vermont’s workforce and businesses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic underscored what we already knew: access to affordable, reliable, and high-quality child care is critical for Vermont's youngest children, our families, our workers, and our employers. H.171 will help working families while bolstering our essential early childhood education workforce. The bill also takes a significant step forward toward long-term transformative change,” said Representative Ann Pugh, a bill sponsor and Chair of House Human Services, the committee that led the House’s work on H.171.

H.171 takes crucial steps toward ensuring Vermont’s child care system supports children’s healthy development, working families, and our state’s early childhood educators—the workforce that supports every other workforce in Vermont.

This bill makes critical investments in stabilizing the system now, and puts Vermont on a path to achieve access and affordability for families, fair compensation and adequate supports for early childhood educators, well-coordinated and transparent governance and accountability structures, and sustainable, long-term funding for our child care system.

H.171 calls for the following child care investments in the 2021 budget:

• $5.5 million to increase funding for Vermont’s Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP) by implementing Year 3 of the Legislature’s 5-Year CCFAP Redesign Plan. This funding enables expanded eligibility for critical child care financial support and will reduce out-of-pocket costs for Vermont families that currently participate in the program.
• $2.5 million in investments to support and strengthen Vermont’s early childhood education workforce through student loan repayment and scholarship programs.
• The bill also charges experts to convene two studies to examine and identify strategies for effective governance of and sustainable funding for a truly affordable, high-quality child care system for Vermonters.

“Let’s Grow Kids is incredibly grateful for the House’s work on this transformational legislation. Their steadfast commitment to the children, families, child care programs, and businesses of Vermont shines through in this bill. Our movement of 30,000 Vermonters from all sectors have been working toward this kind of change for many, many years and it’s gratifying to see this important legislation moving forward,” said Let’s Grow Kids CEO Aly Richards.

H.171 is an important first step of a 3-year legislative campaign that starts with two of the most pressing needs of the child care system: family affordability and an early childhood education workforce that is skilled, stable, and fairly compensated.

“Three out of five of Vermont’s youngest children don’t have access to the child care they need, and the COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed that child care is essential. The House’s work on this bill and the resounding vote this week demonstrate that investing in child care is one of the most important things we can do to build a better Vermont for generations to come,” said Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski.

H.171 will soon make its way to the Vermont Senate, where Senate committees will begin their work to ensure this bill is as strong as possible to support Vermont’s children, families, early childhood educators, child care programs, businesses, and continued economic recovery.

“We know families with young children and early childhood educators are struggling, so we look forward to advancing this important legislation in the Senate,” said Senate Pro Tempore Becca Balint.

About Let’s Grow Kids
Let’s Grow Kids is a nonprofit organization on a mission: ensuring affordable access to high-quality child care for all Vermont families by 2025. With over 30,000 supporters from all walks of life, Let’s Grow Kids is facilitating the movement to strengthen the early childhood education system today and calling for lasting investments in child care. Together, we can give children a strong start and build a better Vermont for generations to come. Learn more at www.letsgrowkids.org.

Back To Top