On September 27th, 67 early childhood leaders representing all levels of the BBF Network (Regional Councils, VECAP Committees and SAC members) gathered for the State Advisory Council meeting to review both state and federal policy that could improve the lives of children and families. You can view the recording from the September 27 meeting here. The meeting opened with a mindfulness activity led by Emmy Harvey from the Counseling Services of Addison County. Emmy and Darla Senecal, BBF Regional Manager presented about the ‘OK You’ve Got This’ Resilience Campaign led by the Addison BBF Regional Council to promote resilience in children and families.
The SAC took a moment to explore early childhood policy development at the federal level. Ever since the Build Back Better Plan was introduced with a proposal to expand universal pre-K and make child care more affordable to families, early childhood partners across the country have been buzzing. Dr. Morgan Crossman presented components of the current proposal included in the legislation. Over the last few weeks, Building Bright Futures has been closely monitoring the reconciliation bill and preparing for how Vermont can leverage this opportunity to strengthen our system.
The SAC shifted to review state policy recommendations. Policy Recommendations are one tool the SAC uses as the primary advisory body to the Governor and Legislature on the wellbeing of children and families. Recommendations are developed with input gathered from the entire BBF network.
The 2021-2022 Policy Recommendations fall into five themes:
- Respond to Vermont’s mental health crisis
- Address chronic inequities in Vermont’s early childhood system
- Elevate families as decision makers
- Develop a well-resourced early care and education system
- Evolve the early childhood data system and infrastructure
Participants provided input on how to strengthen the draft recommendations in small groups. A new draft of the policy recommendations is now available for review and a final version will be presented to the SAC at the upcoming October 25th SAC meeting.
The October 25th SAC meeting will focus on the state’s current workforce crisis that is impacting children and families across sectors. There will also be a brief presentation on what to expect from this year’s State of Vermont’s Children Report. Please register here to receive the Zoom link for the meeting.