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Vermont - Building Bright Futures
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ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
Vermont’s Building Bright Futures Initiative is working to ensure that the state’s children are healthy and successful by building a system of coordinated and integrated services and funding for children birth to age six. In June 2006, former Governor Jim Douglas signed an executive order creating the Building Bright Futures Early Childhood Advisory Council. The Executive Order was in place until June 30, 2010 when Building Bright Futures was established in Vermont statute, Act 104, protecting it from changing political climates. The State Council has worked to create a comprehensive system of early childhood care, health and education, and advise state administrators and the Governor on early childhood policy. The State Council established 12 Regional Councils to develop regional plans to address early childhood program and funding coordination and integration. In September 2006, the State Council approved the development of a primary school readiness indicator, with supporting indicators based on five domains of early childhood development, social-emotional development; approaches to learning; communication; cognitive development; and health and physical well-being. These indicators have helped to guide the development of regional plans, ensuring that all children are ready for school when they enter kindergarten.
The statewide BBF Council is comprised of 21 appointed members. Based on the Early Childhood Councils that existed in the 12 regions throughout Vermont, the Building Bright Futures Regional Councils worked at the community level to implement the State Council’s vision of a coordinated and integrated early childhood system. The Councils consist of members from both the public and private sectors, such as service providers, employers and parents. The Regional Councils have guided a planning process resulting in regional action steps as well as recommendations of action to the State Council regarding policy and funding barriers to effective program and funding coordination and integration. The regional plans served as a basis for a state plan to establish a coordinated and integrated early childhood system by addressing policy and funding issues.
On May 12, 2010, former Governor Jim Douglas signed Senate Bill 268, establishing the Building Bright Futures Council in state statute. The official duties of the Council include advising the administration and general assembly on the needs of young children based on reports they are to produce every two years; monitoring overall system performance; developing an early care, health, and education system plan that will serve as the basis for policy and funding recommendations; reviewing and formulating recommendations for amendments to policies that may be impeding the effectiveness of the early childhood system; working with local government and other stakeholders to develop an early childhood budget; and pursuing outside funding.
In 2012, the Council published a comprehensive assessment (entitled, ‘How are Vermont’s Young Children?’) of how Vermont’s youngest children are faring by year. The report is the first in a series of bi-annual reports from the Building Bright Futures Council that will be the framework, and an essential tool, to inform and guide policy design, implementation and resource allocation. The full document is available at http://cdn.buildingbrightfutures.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/BBF_Report_2012.pdf