Kicking off the 2024 Legislative Session
The following is a statement from Aly Richards, CEO of Let’s Grow Kids, on the start of the 2024 legislative session:
“In this second session of what has already been a historic legislative biennium for Vermont’s families, children and our workforce, the Child Care Campaign is laser-focused on supporting policy-leaders in making Act 76 work for all Vermonters. As Speaker Krowinski expressed today, through Act 76, Vermont has established itself as a national leader in child care, and that’s something we can all be proud of. More work is needed to ensure successful implementation of this new child care law, as well as to make the continued investments necessary to fully fund this groundbreaking new legislation and the system overall.
“Implementation of Act 76 is already underway and on January 1, the state began rolling out the next wave of critical funding – a 35% rate increase in child care financial assistance reimbursement for all child care programs. Certainty around this new, sustainable funding has instilled confidence in Vermont’s child care sector. This winter, communities have celebrated child care program expansions in Cabot, South Burlington, St. Johnsbury, Stowe, and Wilmington among others. We know programs are also using new state funds to institute meaningful compensation increases for early childhood educators. This is only the beginning, and these profound and early signs of progress will only multiply in the months and years ahead as we realize the full potential of an equitable and sustainable child care system.
“This new law brings us as close as we’ve ever been to achieving our mission — where all Vermont families have access to affordable, quality child care; every child has access to skilled and professionally compensated early childhood educators; and families spend no more than 10% of their household income on child care.
“We have to keep the momentum going to get this right. We owe it to all Vermonters to continue the hard work of building a system that works for everyone. We know there are significant demands on our lawmakers to tackle the many tough challenges we face as a state, and we are grateful for their ongoing focus and energy on child care. As we solve the child care crisis, we’ll also reduce the burdens and barriers for Vermonters in other areas. Fully funding a quality and affordable system for all strengthens our economy and lifts all Vermonters.
“Once again, thank you to our elected officials for their service and their history-making work last year. Let’s work together in the months ahead to deliver on the promise of Act 76 and help our state thrive.”
Read our full 2024 Policy Agenda here.