Across the country, afterschool programs have been chronically underfunded for decades, and the unmet demand among families has reached an all-time high. In Vermont, more than 26,000 youth are waiting for an available program. This growing need, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, has had policymakers in Vermont concerned for the well-being of our children, youth, and families.
In 2020, Governor Phil Scott announced his goal to offer universal afterschool across the state—meaning afterschool and summer programs would be accessible and affordable for all families and youth who want to enroll, particularly those who have low incomes and/or live in rural locations. And once this vision is realized, Vermont will be the first state in the country to offer such a model to children, youth, and families.
The governor’s vision is unprecedented, bold, and attainable. Now, we all need to work together so that by 2025, Vermont will be well on its way to ensuring access to high-quality afterschool and summer programs for every child in our state.