Build Our Future



Vermont’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care reported that equitable early care and learning for all children ages birth to five is the most significant investment Vermont can make to provide the greatest positive impact for future generations. The Commission’s research revealed that Vermont needs to increase investments in the state’s early care and learning system and recommended that BBF engage diverse stakeholders in a design process to develop a comprehensive, high-quality, affordable system of early care and learning for all children birth to five. As of May 2017, we will begin a statewide design process looking at new opportunities in the way Vermont delivers, funds and governs early care and education.

Build Our Future is an opportunity for Building Bright Futures to meld action from the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations while focusing on Goal 3 from the Early Childhood Action Plan: “High-Quality Opportunities for All Children.” Build Our Future will address this goal by leading diverse stakeholders through an Appreciative Inquiry process to design and implement Vermont’s future early care and learning system. The Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children supports Building Our Future as a pathway to high-quality, affordable child care for all Vermonters by 2025.

The Process: Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to complex systems change that emphasizes working from strengths to find new directions for growth, rather than focusing on weaknesses or problems to be solved. Build Our Future will be led by Building Bright Futures in collaboration with the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College. It will engage statewide, cross-sector stakeholders in a collaborative design process of Vermont’s future early care and learning system. The process will launch in May, 2017 and conclude in time to deliver proposed legislation to the state legislature no later than January 2019, per the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendation.

As a result, Vermont will have a clear path to achieve an integrated system of early care and learning, all young children and their families will have access to high-quality, affordable opportunities that meet their needs, and the state will demonstrate that investing in children and families is the pathway to economic and community wellbeing.

Key Activities And Timeline

Throughout this process, stakeholders will engage in the following activities:

1. Steering Committee (June 2017 – December 2017) – A group of key stakeholders will serve as the core planning team, meeting monthly to define the process, recruit and coordinate stakeholders, plan the Design Summit, coordinate Implementation Teams and track project progress.

2. Stakeholder Outreach (June 2017 – August 2017) – Stakeholders across the state will participate in community meetings, facilitated interviews, and surveys to collect feedback on successes and opportunities in the early care and learning system, which will be captured in an online database. Feedback will be analyzed to identify key themes to inform the Build Our Future Summit. 

3. Build Our Future Summit (Fall 2017) – The Build Our Future Summit will convene 300 participants in a two-day, intensive co-design session using an Appreciative Inquiry process. As a result of the Build Our Future Summit, stakeholders will agree on a blueprint for Vermont’s future early care and learning system, and Implementation Teams will be charged with carrying out the design.

4. Implementation Teams (Ongoing) – There are currently ongoing efforts to improve Vermont’s early care and learning system, including Building Bright Futures’ Implementation Teams and existing committees under the Early Childhood Action Plan (ECAP). Community Outreach will capture the successes and opportunities related to these efforts to inform the Build Our Future Summit. As a result of this Summit, and in coordination with the ECAP, the Implementation Teams and initiatives will be reoriented to accelerate successes toward implementation of the new early care and learning system. 

Quick Links

Build Our Future Overview 

Blue Ribbon Commission Final Report

VBSR/PF Economic Report

Stalled at the Start Report

The Permanent Fund

Want to Learn More?
Join us for an informal Q&A Conference Call with Sarah Squirrell, Executive Director of Building Bright Futures.

Conference Call Options:
June 1st 12:00 – 1:00 pm or 3:30 – 4:30 pm
All are welcome to call in: 802.231.1385 (no pin needed)

Help us Build Our Future! Contact Building Bright Futures today to see how you can get involved in the process.