Early Childhood Policy
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_0877-768x1024.jpg

Why is the Early Childhood period an important focus for policy-makers?

Impacted by the ever-growing fields of neuroscience, child development, education and family resilience, policy and decision-makers in Vermont, and nation-wide, have recognized the importance of investments supporting the healthy development and well-being of children and families. The positive returns on early childhood investments are well-documented. Emerging science clearly shows that the most critical and rapid periods of brain development happen within the first few years of life. The patterns of development set the stage for future development, lifelong learning and health, strong communities, and much more. What can we do in Vermont to support this critical period of early childhood development so that our children and their families have a strong foundation? 


Vermont’s Early Childhood State Advisory Council (SAC)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vecap.png
Click to View the 2020 Vermont Early Childhood Action Plan (VECAP) Data Dashboard

The Building Bright Futures State Advisory Council (SAC) is Vermont’s public-private partnership mandated by state and federal law to be the primary advisory to the Governor and Legislature on the well-being of children and families. The Early Childhood State Advisory Council brings together up to 23 Governor appointed and at-large public and private early childhood leaders and decision-makers from across sectors to issue recommendations and increase coordination and collaboration to advance a more connected, integrated and evolving early childhood system.

The BBF SAC is charged with holding the vision and strategic plan for Vermont's Early Childhood System - The Vermont Early Childhood Action Plan.

On an annual basis, the SAC works with VECAP Committees and the Regional Council Network to make recommendations based on identified needs, gaps and priorities. The 2020 SAC recommendations are outlined below. Click the link in each sub-section for the full recommendations by topic.

2020 SAC RECOMMENDATIONS OVERVIEW

This 1-page overview of the 2020 SAC Recommendations includes information on the process of development and alignment with the VECAP.

RECOGNIZE VERMONT’S EARLY CARE & EDUCATION SYSTEM & WORKFORCE AS ESSENTIAL

A well-prepared, well-compensated ECE workforce is essential to both health and economic prosperity.

MITIGATE COVID IMPACTS ON FAMILY ECONOMIC STABILITY & MENTAL HEALTH

Early childhood mental health is the foundation of all future child development.

RECOGNIZE CHRONIC INEQUITIES & RACISM AS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS 

It is critical to elevate the focus on equity for Vermont’s young children and their families 

EMPOWER FAMILY VOICE TO REBUILD A STRONGER SYSTEM 

Partnership ensures families become leaders in designing a responsive system that works for them.

EVOLVE OUR DATA SYSTEM TO ADDRESS GAPS

Vermont has recommitted to using evidence and data to inform service provision and policy. 

Vermont's Early Childhood State Advisory Council (SAC) Priority and Recommendations Process

SAC Annual Implementation Cycle

The Vermont Early Childhood Action Plan (VECAP) committee network alongside Vermont’s Early Childhood State Advisory Council (SAC) and regional network, uphold the Early Childhood Framework and vision for Vermont by setting a strategic plan and priorities, engaging over 300 early childhood and cross-sector leaders on committees and executing measurable change in early childhood outcomes. The seven VECAP committees are guided by the goals and objectives that Vermont has identified as essential in the strategic plan and follow an annual implementation cycle (see Figure 4). The cycle begins and ends with evaluation and celebration of accomplishments. The VECAP indicators inform priorities. Next, VECAP committees use this data to do planning and implementation by creating a work plan which articulates an approach to engage stakeholders and utilize resources to make progress on identified VECAP objectives and strategies. Annually VECAP committees and early childhood partners elevate gaps and barriers impacting children and families and bring them to the State Advisory Council to make policy recommendations. Committees are each led by public and private volunteer co-chairs. Committees meet monthly or as needed. Membership is composed of key stakeholders in the early childhood system; most committees are open to non-members/broader EC partners. BBF is tasked with supporting the VECAP and creating a strategic approach across the VECAP committee network.


What are other ways Vermont’s cross-sector partners work to create positive change in programs, service provision, and policy impacting children and families?

Reports, Publications, Policy Briefs, and Policy Statements

In collaboration with statewide early childhood stakeholders, BBF and partners produce a range of reports, publications, policy briefs, and policy statements to inform the Governor, Administration, and Legislature about key topics impacting children and families. The Publications page captures the most recent documents produced by partners in Vermont's Early Childhood System. Three documents of note are:

Vermont Early Childhood Policy and Advocacy Partners

National Early Childhood Policy Landscape

*For reports and resources produced by these organizations, please see the publications section.

Vermont's General Assembly

Direct links for House and Senate policy and financial committees most often discussion early childhood agendas can be seen below.