Child care hub planning moving forward quickly

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 6:35 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - We are learning more details about the child care hubs Vermont is creating.

They will be made available to parents whose students are returning to school through a remote or hybrid learning model.

During the governor's Friday coronavirus news conference, Vermont Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said plans are moving forward in a "very fast manner."

The Department for Children and Families has appointed a project manager. At this time, we don't know her name.

But Smith says they are identifying which locations would be easy and which would need zoning and licensing to implement the hubs.

Perspective hub sites are being surveyed to know how many students they can serve, their costs and the location.

DCF is also meeting with community partners to lead regional hubs as part of a public-private partnership.

At this time, Vermont Afterschool is the lead community partner and Let's Grow Kids is assisting.

Smith says within hours of announcing this project, potential sites began reaching out to him.

Each hub will have to meet all health and safety requirements.

"The grant agreement that we put together with these regional hubs will stipulate these requirements. And regional hubs will have to follow VDH's health guidelines as related to operating a child care system during COVID," Smith said.

Smith says the child care system reopened in June and saw success without any major outbreaks.

But, with about two and a half weeks until students return to school, this still leaves many unanswered questions. Like how much will it cost families? Where will the hub spots be? And will there be enough open slots for students?

DCF tells me, they hope to have more information next week. That's when I am scheduled to speak with the project manager.

I also reached out to Vermont Afterschool, the lead community partner and did not hear back before this story was published.

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