Chittenden County Regional Council Recap – January 2018
ACCESS Reviews the BBF Substance Use and Opiate Task Force Report
The ACCESS team is a cross sector group convened by the Howard Center with a leadership team including leaders from BBF, AHS, DCF Family Services, and CIS. The mission of ACCESS is to promote the health, mental health, and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in Chittenden County. ACCESS works to achieve its mission by strengthening the systems providing timely, integrated, and family-centered supports and services in the community.
In January, the group reviewed recommendations from the BBF Substance Use and Opiate Task Force Report. The group considered implications and actions for Chittenden County. This follows a series of four meetings reviewing systems of care as experienced by children and families. The group invited guests and discussed complimentary practices and gaps from these systems of care:
- Substance use disorder treatment and prevention
- Child welfare
- Early childhood
- Developmental services
- Mental health
The group is diverse with representatives from many of the youth and family serving agencies in the region. These topics and discussions highlight primary activities, challenges, and priorities across the systems serving youth and adults.
Chittenden County continues to experience strain from the limited number of infant and toddler childcare spots. The limited availability of qualified early childhood professionals also frustrates providers. Due to staffing shortages, some providers have unfilled spots and temporarily ‘closed’ rooms because they do not have sufficient staff.
Winooski has a Promise Community grant to open a new childcare program in the O’Brien Community Center. The first round of proposals did not identify a viable program to partner. However, recent conversations with the City and other partners have yielded alternative options to consider.
Recently, the City of Burlington launched a grant program to distribute $400,000 to centers to increase the number of infants and toddlers they are serving. Recipients will need to comply with the Burlington Livable Wage ordinance paying $14.24 if health insurance is offered and $15.83 if it is not. Vermont Birth to Five is contracted to manage the grant program and the first round of recipients will be announced later this winter.