My family lives in Craftsbury where finding childcare has become a struggle for many families. Those of us in small towns have no access to large childcare centers and our registered home daycares have been forced to shut down due to expensive and sometimes ridiculous regulations set by the state. Our kids are bouncing from one caregiver to another because we both need to work. Our children have spent more time with aging and exhausted great grandparents and this means more screen time. We hired a very expensive nanny for the summer but she is moving on to further her education in the fall. We've spoken with several mothers in town who intended to start registered home daycares but when they start the process they back out because it requires too many changes to their homes at their expense. When did parents lose their ability to approve caretakers for their children? Why is the state telling providers that they can't serve juice? I should make that choice. WHY are they required to rinse clean dishes in bleach? Hospitals don't even follow this practice. There used to be plenty of good daycare providers available. The state is pushing them out of business and Vermont families are struggling. My husband and I have one month to find another childcare provider. If we can't, my husband will be forced to quit his job.

A Note from Let's Grow Kids:

In recent months, Let’s Grow Kids has been hearing concerns from child care providers and parents about the state’s updated regulations for regulated child care programs, some of which go into effect September 1. Providers are reporting that the updated regulations pose additional cost burdens to already financially-strapped programs, causing some programs to close their doors. These reports are prompting valuable discussions about the importance of high-quality early care and learning programs and how the chronic underfunding of our early childhood system has been negatively impacting Vermont’s families, child care providers, communities, and especially children. The revised rules establish minimum requirements in areas such as health, safety, nutrition, staff qualifications and developmentally-appropriate program activities.

The updated standards are a necessary step forward in establishing quality early childhood programming—but they are only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to addressing Vermont’s child care challenge.

Vermont faces an alarming shortage of high-quality, affordable child care programs. This is due to the fact that even though on average middle-class parents pay 28–40% of their income on child care, the average income for providers is less than $25,000, usually without benefits or access to professional development opportunities, causing high rates of turnover. Supporting our providers’ success is critical to supporting our children’s future success.

Let’s Grow Kids and our sister organization, Vermont Birth to Five, are in close conversation with the Department of Children and Families Child Development Division (CDD). We understand CDD is working on a plan to provide training on the updated regulations so they can address providers’ questions and respond to any concerns. We also recognize many providers will need mentoring and financial support to implement the updated regulations successfully.

Our hope is the state will recognize that providers need financial support in order to increase program standards and meet updated child care regulations. Vermont’s future prosperity depends upon increasing access to high-quality, affordable child care for all families who need it.

Read our full statement on the new child care regulations here.


When the new rules requiring daycare teachers to have more then a CDA to be a head teacher, the child care center I work at will have to either close or hire an entirely different staff. Many of our staff members have been working there for more then ten yrs and are not able to pay for a college degree or are close enough to retirement age that they don't want to go through the effort. I have a BA in education and it does not make me a better teach then these ladies that have been in childcare for thirty years. We are required to take 24 hrs of development classes every yr. If they counted those classes as credits towards a BA all our staff would have one by now. me

I was a registered family daycare provider for 18 years. I was the second provider ever in Vermont to become nationally accredited, which required standards far beyond state regulations at the time. The new regulations are ridiculous; written by people who sit behind a desk and do not work in the real world, with an agenda to make everyone dependent on, and ruled by the government. The government is taking over our freedoms, and parents are allowing it because they want everything to be "free." There is a price to pay. Home day cares are the best of both worlds...preschool and a family environment. But government will ruin that because they want to take the home out of home daycare. If I was going to do childcare today in my home I would not even register! Parents need to revolt!

Why dont the moms in question just hire one of the other moms as a "babysitter" or caretaker? Regulation only becomes so daunting when you decide to only take your kids to a registered and regulated facility. IMO, people shouldn't have to jump through hoops to take care of kids, but with so many people who are happy to sue over anything in Vermont, it makes sense to be regulated - for their own protection. Can't they just have the parents sign some kind of waiver?

Update to our story.
We have a new registered home daycare who provides part time care for our youngest. Our oldest attends the afterschool program 4 days a week and we have a few family members to fill in the gaps. It's not ideal but we are comfortable with it. We hire extra help for school vacations and we will probably be looking for another nanny next summer.

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