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The Alliance’s key allies in Vermont are Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) and Voices for Vermont’s Children (VVC). LGK is a statewide movement to secure affordable access to high-quality child care for all Vermonters by 2025. LGK partners with local communities to strengthen the existing early childhood education system and mobilizes Vermonters to demand policy change and increased public investment in high-quality child care. VVC conducts research and analysis on policy solutions to improve the lives of children and youth, and advocates for those changes in the legislature and beyond. Their efforts focus on addressing equity through systemic change rather than individual-level interventions.

2023 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Early Childhood Landscape:

Research shows that family economic security is foundational to children’s overall wellbeing. Research also shows that widespread disparities in opportunity (especially by race) drive wide disparities in outcomes. States with policies that offer strong support to young children and their families are more likely to see 1) declining numbers of children in low-income households and 2) low racial disparity among those children. 

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 30% (15,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (2021). This number represents a decrease from 36% (20,000) in 2016.1

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Black, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native children aged 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Advocacy Landscape:

State General and Education Fund Appropriations: Growing 

Vermont Governor Phil Scott vetoed the state’s fiscal 2024 budget on May 27; the budget was subsequently enacted on June 20 after the state legislature voted to override the governor’s veto. The enacted budget calls for $8.5 billion in total spending in fiscal 2024, including a roughly 13 percent increase in base general fund spending. A July 2023 forecast estimates general fund revenue at $2.9 billion (a 3.6 percent decrease), education fund revenue at $736 million (a 1.0 percent increase), and transportation fund revenue at $353 million (a 3.1 percent increase).3

Largest FY 2021 Revenue Sources (after federal transfers):4

    • Property Taxes: $3,011 per capita
    • Individual Income Taxes: $1,918 per capita

Political Alignment: Divided

During the 2023 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Democrat controlled. The state’s Governor was a Republican.5

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:6  One

    • Legislature-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – A constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance coalition
Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:7

2023 Policy Progress:

Legislators were able to successfully override a gubernatorial veto to enact historic investments in Vermont’s child care system that will stabilize the child care sector and make a quantum leap forward in providing access to affordable, quality child care. Additional major investments were made in housing and universal state-funded school meals for all children, and crucial policy reforms will provide support to families receiving TANF and non-citizen families accessing key state programs.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include:8

Child Care Bill: The historic 2023 Child Care Bill makes Vermont’s child care system one of the most expansive in the nation.The legislation includes long-term, sustainable public funding that will make a difference for years into the future. On an annual basis, the bill will invest $125 million into Vermont’s child care system to make child care more affordable and accessible for over 7,000 additional children and their families, increase funding for child care programs, and grow the capacity and quality of child care in Vermont.

TANF (Reach UP): Vermont passed legislation that tasks the administration with submitting an actionable, phased plan to raise benefit levels in the Reach Up program to meet 100 percent of basic needs over a period not greater than five fiscal years. In addition, the budget includes increased funding for one-time expenses for Reach Up participants, and the creation of a pilot that will provide cash stipends to participants transitioning off the program as their earnings increase, to counteract the benefits cliff.

Universal School Meals: Vermont has become the sixth state to establish universal school meals. Advocacy partners Hunger Free Vermont led the campaign to ensure that every student will have access to breakfast and lunch, regardless of income.

Tax Credits: In addition to quashing a senate proposal to eliminate the new state child tax credit (CTC) as part of the child care funding package, Vermont’s Children and its economic security advocacy partners successfully extended eligibility for both the CTC and earned income tax credit (EITC) to all state residents, regardless of citizenship status.

Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantees in Vermont, Let’s Grow Kids and Voices for Vermont’s Children, are working to advance early childhood policies in several areas that align with the Alliance’s birth-through-eight policy framework

Early Care and Education

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

K-3rd Grade

Preschool and Pre-K

Child and
Maternal Health

Child Health

Early Intervention (Age 0-3)


Family Economic Security

Paid Family and Medical Leave


Early Childhood Finance and Cost Modeling

Early Childhood Governance 

Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.



1 Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, November, 2022 

2 National Center for Children in Poverty, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, March 2023, NCCP analysis of ACS 1-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2021

3 National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023.

4 Urban Institute, State Fiscal Briefs, July 2023

5 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2023 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 28, 2023.

6 Ballotpedia, Ballot Measures by State, Kids Count Data Center, retrieved May, 2023.

7 Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

8 Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-August, 2023.  

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: