The Alliance's weekly newsletter includes policy updates, legislative news, and events related to the Alliance's Legislative Agenda. Stay informed by checking the Alliance's Facebook page. To share early childhood advocacy news with the Alliance to be included in future updates, email Sarah Galbraith at  

2019 Vermont Legislature Convenes; Governor Scott Highlights Early Childhood Issues in Inaugural Address

The 2019 – 2020 Legislative Biennium began last week with new and incumbent legislators gathering at the State House in Montpelier for ceremonies and speeches to kick off the Legislative Session.

In their comments, Governor Phil Scott and legislative leaders House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe included numerous early childhood priorities that are on the Alliance's 2019 Legislative Agenda. These included early care and learning, affordable housing, and paid family leave.

Early Care and Learning

In his Inaugural Address on January 10, the Governor voiced support for strengthening early care and learning programs, and said he would provide details in his budget address on January 24 on a plan to use new revenue for that purpose.

Affordable Housing

In his speech, the Governor highlighted the need for more affordable housing in order to recruit young workers. He pledged that his budget will "propose a package focused on growing the housing supply by revitalizing properties and investing in existing neighborhoods."

Paid Family Leave

The Governor also referenced a voluntary paid family leave plan in his Inaugural Address. On Wednesday, he further described details for a joint program with New Hampshire during a press conference with Governor Chris Sununu in Littleton, NH.

The Governor's concept has elicited responses from legislative leaders and advocates over the past week.

Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe stated in a January 10 VTDigger story that, "most experts believe that you cannot have a successful program if it's voluntary because too few people would participate and there won't be enough funds for people to benefit." House Speaker Mitzi Johnson had already identified paid family leave in VTDigger back in December as one of her priorities this session.

Additionally, early childhood organizations, including the Alliance, responded to the Governor's idea by publishing a statement supporting the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance campaign's (VT FaMLI) proposal for paid leave as outlined in the Alliance's 2019 Legislative Agenda.

VT FaMLI held a press conference on Thursday, January 17 at the State House to hear from legislators and businesses on why a universal family and medical leave program is essential for the health, wellbeing, and economic security of Vermonters. Stay tuned for upcoming news from this event. 


Legislative Committee Changes

The new biennium brings changes to Legislative committees to adjust for retirements and newly-elected members. Committees have begun meeting to hear reports from Agency officials and to discuss their priorities for the session.

Search the Vermont Legislature website to find the new makeup of committees, as well as bills and documents, that have early childhood as an issue of jurisdiction (primarily education, human services, economic development, and appropriations). Look up your legislator by name or town.

Upcoming Activity

  • Mark your calendar to listen to the Governor's Budget Address, where he will provide details of his proposals, tentatively scheduled for Thursday, January 24 at 2:00 pm.

  • Mark your calendar to speak at a joint hearing by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on the FY'20 state budget during the evening of Monday, February 25. The Alliance is monitoring state budget conversations as the lead on this priority issue in the 2019 Legislative Agenda.


Visit the State House! 

Staff from the Alliance and lead organizations of the priority issues on the Alliance's 2019 Legislative Agenda are available to support your visit to the State House. Contact Kelly Ault at to discuss a group tour, or interests in observing a committee discussion or talking to your legislator.


Two New Reports from Building Bright Futures

Building Bright Futures released two reports last week intended to inform state leaders as they act to support children, families and early childhood professionals in Vermont. The sixth edition of How Are Vermont's Young Children and Families is a data-rich look at the well-being of children in Vermont that covers topics including health, communities, economics, and early care and learning. The Building Vermont's Future from the Child Up Think Tank Report is the result of a multi-year effort involving hundreds of stakeholders statewide that reimagines the future of early care and learning in Vermont.

Both reports can be found at


Advocacy Days


Coordinated by the National Alliance on Mental Illness 

January 30, 8:00 am

Join a day of advocating to improve mental health policies and urging lawmakers about the importance to "Support Vermont Communities ~ Invest in Mental Health". The agenda includes activities that will be of interest for every mental health advocate and supporter including advocacy training, opportunities to interact with legislators, providing testimony, and listening to personal stories of lived experience.

See the website for more information.  


Coordinated by VT FEED, Hunger Free Vermont

February 6, 8:00 am

Join advocates at the State House on February 6 to celebrate and raise awareness of Farm to School and Early Childhood in Vermont. More details and RSVP link coming soon!

Visit the website for more information.


Coordinated by Voices for Vermont's Children

February 2, 8:00 am

Stay tuned for more information on their website coming next week.


Coordinated by Vermont Afterschool  

February 14, 8:00 am  

Join advocates at the State House for a day of action to advance afterschool and expanded learning policy in Vermont. This statewide event brings together afterschool program providers, partners, and parents to inspire awareness and action. 

Visit the website for more information. 


Coordinated by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition

February 19, 8:00 am

Join housing and conversation advocates to show support for projects that help fight homelessness and create affordable housing. 

Get more information and register on the Vermont Land Trust website

Early Childhood Day at the Legislature - 3/13/19

Mark your calendar for the 25th Annual Early Childhood Day at the Legislature at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Vermont State House in Montpelier on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm! Registration will open in late January, but in the meantime, see a recap of ECDL 2018 on our website

Early Childhood Day at the Legislature (ECDL) is an annual day of advocacy, education, and networking co-hosted by the Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance, Let's Grow Kids, and Building Bright Futures, that brings together early childhood professionals and providers, parents, employers, business owners, and policymakers to engage on early childhood issues.

The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a statewide coalition formed in 2000 of early childhood professionals, parents, organizations, businesses, and strategic partners committed to improving public policies that impact young children between birth and age eight in the areas of health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education.

The Alliance crafts an annual Legislative Agenda in partnership with early childhood organizations, provides year-round advocacy support, and facilitates meaningful interactions with policymakers at key times during the decision making process.


Alliance Releases 2019 Legislative Agenda

Happy Holidays, 2019 Advocacy Days

Public Meeting on Poverty, Pre-K Conference and Report 

15 State Street | Montpelier , Vermont 05602

The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a program of the Vermont Community Loan Fund.

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