As many of you know, Vermont is on a path to create universal afterschool and summer for all Vermont youth. More than $12M in federal funds have been invested in the state’s afterschool and summer field over the past several years.
We have been steadily making progress and this year, we took two very giant leaps forward!
With the passage of Act 78, funds from the Education Fund “shall be used to fund grant programs for the expansion of summer and afterschool programs with an emphasis on increasing access in underserved areas of the State.” What this means is simple: there is now a dedicated annual funding source to increase afterschool and summer program capacity, expanding access to these programs for Vermont’s youth. The Agency of Education recently shared in its Weekly Field Memo that it has been “working diligently to develop an initial pilot grant program using a portion of these funds, with a goal to release an initial competitive grant round in the latter portion of Fall 2023.”
If you’d like to learn more about the development of this grant program, we encourage you to follow the Afterschool and Summer Advisory Committee and/or attend their public meetings. Members of the public are also able to participate through the public comment section of each meeting.
The second victory for universal afterschool in Vermont came with the passage of the state’s historic Child Care Bill, Act 76, which makes major investments in Vermont’s child care system, the Child Care Financial Assistance Program, and mandates policy changes that will impact child care in both early childhood and school-age settings.
School-age child care providers are essential in the tapestry of Vermont’s future universal afterschool system, and this investment will go a long way to ensuring they are adequately supported.
These two investments from the State are an acknowledgement of the importance of the work you do every day to support children, youth, and young people in Vermont. With your continued dedication and support, we’ll continue to build from these milestones until the day all Vermont youth are active, engaged, connected, and heard.
Thank you so much for all that you do!
Please reach out to us if you have any questions about these policy updates.