On Oct. 23, the State Advisory Council (SAC) formally endorsed the Policy Recommendations of the Vermont Early Childhood State Advisory Council Network for 2024! These recommendations represent the most pressing and actionable priorities for early childhood stakeholders throughout the Building Bright Futures Network. We also released a new Policy Playbook explaining what the recommendations mean, why they matter, and some of the ways they can be put into action.
The SAC is Vermont’s Governor-appointed, primary advisory body on the well-being of children from the prenatal period to age 8 and their families. In partnership with Vermont’s Early Childhood Action Plan (VECAP) Committees and the Early Childhood Regional Councils, the SAC sets priorities and strategic direction for statewide initiatives using the VECAP and the most high-quality, up-to-date data.
The annual recommendations are developed based on the priorities elevated at all BBF Network gatherings over the course of the year. They seek to identify the current gaps and needs in policy, promote and monitor action in strategic areas for the coming year, and move Vermont toward a more equitable early childhood system.
This year’s policy recommendations focus on a wide array of priorities for improving the well-being of young children and their families, strengthening the quality of the settings and services in which they spend their time, and ensuring families have the resources they need to thrive. These recommendations represent needs and emerging priorities from across the state’s early childhood system. Priorities include:
- Investing in the mental health workforce
- Investing in strategies to support families during the perinatal period, including after experiencing the loss of a child or loss of a caregiver
- Enacting a paid family and medical leave insurance program to support caregivers with caring for and bonding with a new child or while navigating illness
- Increasing access to affordable housing
- Responding to inequities in data collection and reporting in order to better represent and understand the intersectional experiences of people of color, children with disabilities, and other marginalized communities in Vermont
- And many more: read the full recommendations here
I’m proud of the work the BBF Network—including countless state leaders, parents and caregivers, early childhood professionals, regional partners, and others—put into elevating and formally endorsing the 2024 Policy Recommendations of the Vermont Early Childhood State Advisory Council Network. We look forward to monitoring progress on implementing these recommendations as Vermont strives toward building the highest quality, most inclusive and equitable early childhood system possible.