Delivering on the Promise of Act 76

The 2023 Child Care Bill – now Act 76 – makes Vermont’s child care system one of the most expansive in the nation. The bill includes long-term, sustainable public funding that will make a difference for years into the future, not just for young children, their families and early childhood educators, but for businesses and our state’s economy. On an annual basis, the bill will invest $125 million into Vermont’s child care system. This historic investment will help families to afford care and will help child care programs to improve quality and early childhood educator recruitment and retention by increasing compensation, resources, and professional training.

The Alliance supports Let’s Grow Kids and the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children in their work to monitor implementation of Act 76 with the goal of making it work for all Vermont families, and to ensure that funding gets into the hands of those who need it most – child care programs and early childhood educators, families and kids.

Results: Act 76 fully funded and strengthened

This was a historic legislative biennium for progress on child care, with the passage of Act 76 in 2023. This year the Legislature strengthened and fully funded Act 76. While the Governor initially proposed reducing base funding for the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP), the Legislature took a different approach and strengthened the law by amending the language in statute to ensure that any child who qualifies for child care tuition assistance from the state will receive financial assistance.

The state’s early childhood education system is already seeing very promising early results as Act 76 rolls out. Thanks to increases in CCFAP reimbursement rates, child care programs are stabilizing or expanding and many programs are increasing compensation for early childhood educators. At the same time, families are also receiving significant support. In April, Act 76 expanded income eligibility for CCFAP and adjusted financial assistance levels, helping more Vermont families pay for child care. A second, even bigger expansion is coming in October. By the end of 2024, over 7,000 additional Vermont children and their families may be eligible for tuition assistance.

Lead Organizations: Let’s Grow Kids and the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children

Data and Talking Points

  • In 2023, Vermonters worked together with lawmakers to pass Act 76! This new law makes Vermont a national leader in child care. The law’s historic investments will stabilize our child care sector; providing access to affordable, quality child care for thousands of Vermont kids and their families and increasing compensation for essential early childhood educators. Act 76 proves that solving our state’s child care crisis is within our reach.
  • In 2024, the Vermont Legislature must deliver on the promise of Act 76, which will invest an additional $125 million a year into Vermont’s child care system. Our primary policy goal this year is to make sure Act 76 is fully funded and properly implemented. We owe it to Vermonters to get this right!
  • This year, we’ll work with policymakers to continue improving our child care system, including allocating funding for Act 76 and ongoing child care supports in the State Fiscal Year 2025 Budget.