Families & Communities Committee

What: We are a group of parents, guardians, caregivers, and professionals dedicated to improving systems and services for Vermont families and communities.

Who: ALL ARE WELCOME

  • Those who join as parents, primary caregivers, or guardians are eligible to be paid for their time attending and preparing for the committee at a rate of $15/hour. Child care stipends also may be available.
  • We are particularly interested in having those with currently underrepresented experiences and identities join the committee, including: fathers and male-identifying caregivers; BIPOC parents and caregivers; parents and caregivers from the Indigenous community; families who participate in programs such as WIC/3Squares, the Child Care Financial Assistance Program, and Reach Up; and kin as parents.

When: We meet VIRTUALLY – twice a month

  • First Thursday from 10:00-11:30am
  • Second Tuesday from 8:00-9:00pm

Where: Join us virtually via Zoom.

Learn more:

The BBF Families and Communities Committee works to develop a statewide approach that enriches and expands family partnership and leadership at the provider, agency, and community levels. Our committee is entirely virtual and open for parents and providers to join anytime. You can call in via your computer or phone, from anywhere! All you need to do is show up with all of the knowledge and experience that you hold. We value your time. Parents and caregivers will be compensated for participating in committee meetings and activities. To learn more, email families@buildingbrightfutures.org or fill out the Membership Form

Mission:

The Families and Communities Committee strives to be made up of majority parents and caregivers, with providers in partnership, to help create an early childhood system that mirrors the diverse needs of Vermont families. By providing parents and caregivers with opportunities to bring forward thoughts and concerns, and to partner in systems conversations and decision-making processes, families become leaders in designing a responsive system that works for them.

Featured Projects:

Family Needs Assessment Project

The Committee is newly charged with developing and circulating surveys called the Early Childhood Family Needs Assessments on a regular basis. This is supported by a five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to the Vermont Division of Maternal and Child Health and BBF, to support building upon and strengthening integration, family leadership work, and an equity lens within Vermont’s early childhood system. Responses to the survey were anonymous and will be analyzed and summarized to inform policy and decision-making in Vermont’s early childhood system. The Family Needs Assessment Report is currently in development by the Committee and the BBF Data Team and will be available and promoted as a key data source to inform policy and decision-making in early 2023.

Co-Chairs

Jenifer Fortman

Jen Fortman was born and raised in Central, VT. She moved to Lamoille county for college where she continues to reside with her Partner, Jeff, 5 Year old son, Jayden, 3 year old daughter, Eva, and dog, Gunner. Jen is a full-time stay at home Mom and is beginning their homeschooling journey. In addition to being home and homeschooling, Jen is Building Bright Futures Parent Lead and co-chair of the Families & Communities Committee. Jen supports families as leaders in the committee by increasing family participation, holding space, and strengthening connections between system creators and families/caregivers. She enjoys being outside and exploring nature through biking, hiking, camping, paddleboarding, snowboarding and gardening. She also enjoys reading and relaxing with her friends and family.

Sarah Morrison

Sarah Morrison co-chairs the Families and Communities Committee alongside Jen Fortman. Sarah first got involved in the Committee during the Family Engagement Survey project in 2020. Following the project, Sarah joined the Committee, and began attending Regional Council meetings. Involvement in the BBF Network eventually lead her to beginning a job with WIC as a breastfeeding peer counselor. Sarah is passionate about her family, and wants to be a part of making sure Vermont families are supported with the resources they need. Sarah lives in Lamoille County, where her and her husband chose to put down roots because of the sense of community they found there. They have two boys, one dog, two cats, and 10 chickens.

Upcoming Meetings

Families and Communities Committee

February 2 at 10:00 am

Meeting Minutes

Families and Communities Committee

January 10 at 8:00 pm
January Evening Meeting Notes

Families and Communities Committee

January 5 at 10:00 am
January Daytime Meeting Notes

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