On October 23rd, 2007, the Kids Are Priority One Coalition launched a new multi-year campaign aimed at increasing the state's investment in Vermont's Child Care Financial Assistance (Subsidy) Program. This program, which is funded through a combination of federal and state funds, helps thousands of low- and moderate-income working parents in Vermont pay for child care.
As a result of the effective advocacy of parents, early childhood professionals, employers and community leaders across the state, policymakers delivered three significant policy accomplishments regarding investing in Vermont's Child Care Tuition Assistance (Subsidy) Program.
- In 2009, the legislature increased the state's FY10 investment in early childhood education by $5 million. This increase includes funding for the Vermont's Child Care Financial Assistance (Subsidy) Program.
- In January 2010, the Department of Children and Families significantly updated the income eligibility guidelines beginning in January 2010, supporting families up to 200% of the federal poverty level ($44,000 for a family size of four). This resulted in reducing the co-pay from families by an average of 10% and increased the reimbursement rate to providers of higher quality ratings.
- In May 2010, the legislature adjourned without any budget cuts to the subsidy program after heavy cuts were proposed and made throughout the legislative session to Human Services. Although it feels counter-intuitive to consider this a victory, the fact that legislators protected the subsidy program from being proposed as a possible budget cut in the current climate of state fiscal crisis is significant.
While generally supportive of the changes to the Child Care Financial Assistance Program, the Kids Are Priority One Coalition still has some concerns regarding the potential impact of these changes on programs' ability to meet the needs of children who need extra support and on program quality. We will continue to monitor this. Our newly-launched campaign to improve the quality of early care and education in Vermont will also focus on increasing funds available to reward programs that achieve higher quality standards.
Ultimately, the Kids Are Priority One Coalition would like to see the program's income eligibility guidelines increased to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (which would align them with the income eligibility limits for Dr. Dynasaur, Vermont's health insurance program for children). We will continue to advocate for this change.
To become involved in the campaign, contact Kim Friedman, Organizing Director, at (802) 348-9879 or email@example.com.
CAMPAIGN TOOL KIT
- Child Care Subsidy Fact Sheet
- Chart Comparing Existing & Updated Subsidy Eligibility Guidelines and Market Rates
- Letter to the Editor (Caledonian Record)
- Vermont's 2008 Child Care Market Rate Survey
- Summary of Statewide Meeting (8/13/09) to Discuss DCF's Proposed Changes to the Subsidy Program (version #2)
- Coalition's Response to Version 2
- DCF's Final Proposal (version 3)