This week, Building Bright Futures’ Executive Director Morgan Crossman had the opportunity to give testimony to the Vermont Senate Committee on Health and Welfare on a new child care and early education bill introduced in the Senate, S.56. Building Bright Futures does not endorse or oppose any component of legislation; our responsibility is to provide data and stakeholder feedback to help guide decision-making to promote the well-being of Vermont children and families.
On Monday, February 13, BBF held a State Advisory Council meeting focused on discussing legislative priorities, during which stakeholders were able to provide feedback either verbally or anonymously (through jamboards) about what they were most excited about in this legislation, and identify questions and considerations for policy. Between this meeting and other stakeholder feedback, we received almost 200 responses in under one week sharing key questions and considerations about the proposed legislation.
BBF’s testimony this week elevated this stakeholder feedback, along with existing data and research, such as enrollment data across the mixed-delivery system and the 2022 report Vermont’s Child Care and Early Childhood Education Systems Analysis, all of which should help inform the legislation.
A few of the key themes shared by stakeholders included questions about:
- Providing high-quality education that is developmentally appropriate
- Capacity and infrastructure of public schools
- Special education and the needs of children on IEPs (Individualized Education Programs)
- Possible financial impacts on private child care programs
- Equity and access
- Ensuring integration and unity in early childhood governance
- Afterschool and out-of-school time care
- The role of Head Start programs