Vermont Afterschool, along with key partners at the Vermont Department for Children and Families and Let’s Grow Kids, will coordinate Governor Phil Scott’s recent directive to increase school-age child care this fall.
Last week Governor Scott announced that the state would direct $12 million in federal coronavirus relief funding to increase the capacity of the school-age child care system in Vermont (which includes afterschool and out-of-school time programs). This expansion will support thousands of children and youth in grades K-6 who need a safe place to be during remote school learning days, not to mention peace of mind for working families who need the care.
Approximately $6.9 million of the funding will be used to create regional childcare hubs for remote learning days and almost $5 million is for expanding the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP). The money set aside for the school-age programs would cover start-up and expansion costs but not tuition for children. All programs must adhere to COVID health care guidance and staff must undergo background checks.
“There is an incredibly vibrant and dedicated network of afterschool and out-of-school time programs across Vermont,” stated Executive Director Holly Morehouse. “These programs stepped up over the summer to serve children and youth in person, and we look forward to working with them this fall to serve even more kids who need a safe, supportive, and enriching place to be while their parents and caregivers are working on remote school days.”
In addition to identifying regional “hubs” of out-of-school time programs, Vermont and Let’s Grow Kids will also be identifying new locations to accommodate increased need for school-age care. The governor’s order also lifts restrictions on home-based care providers, allowing them to be reimbursed for more than four hours of childcare.
What happens next?
Currently, here at Vermont Afterschool we are assessing the field’s reopening plans and capacity. Our goals are to work with existing programs to expand their number served and/or hours, as well working with partners to help launch new child care hubs for school-age youth. It’s an exciting time and we are moving full steam ahead!
Want to get involved?
Are you an existing afterschool, out-of-school time, or youth-serving program who can scale up capacity to serve more kids and/or increase hours or program sites on remote learning days? If yes, please fill out this survey:
Are you interested in starting a new school-age child care program this fall to serve K-6 youth on remote learning days? If yes, please fill out this survey:
Are you a business, municipality, or other organization wanting to host a hub or school-age child care program on your site? If yes, please fill out this survey:
Are you a small enrichment afterschool or out-of-school time program (i.e. arts or mountain biking) wanting to partner with a hub? If yes, please email us here:
Are you a parent or caregiver seeking a safe, engaging, and supportive place for your kid(s) to be on remote learning days? Come back soon to see an updated map of hubs and programs in your region.