Vermont expanded child care subsidies now in effect

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 5:42 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont’s groundbreaking Childcare and Early Childhood Education law, or Act 76, is now in place for Vermont families and providers, doubling the amount of financial assistance for families.

The act makes a major investment in child care with the goal of increasing access, quality, and financial stability for child care programs and families.

DCF Deputy Commissioner Janet McLaughlin says imminent changes will impact child care programs directly and parents indirectly.

In July, most programs began to receive increased payments from the state on behalf of families eligible for the state’s financial assistance program. There will be an additional rate increase in January.

By October of 2024, eligibility for families to receive financial assistance will be availbale to those who are at 575% of the federal poverty level. Right now, you’re only eligible if you’re at 350% of the poverty level, which is based on monthly income.

“With more families receiving those resources, the hope is that it becomes much more affordable. But it also means that programs have the resources that they need to step up to hire staff with the qualifications and training that are needed to provide high-quality care, and that it begins to strengthen and grow the system, so that more and more families are able to have their needs met,” said McLaughlin.

At the end of August, the state will launch the Readiness Payment Program, which is $20 million of state funding set aside to stabilize and expand child care centers.

This law added a payroll tax of .11% to go towards a child care contribution fund to be collected next July.

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