On Jan. 9, 2023, Building Bright Futures and Vermont’s Early Childhood Data and Policy Center released The State of Vermont’s Children: 2022 Year in Review. The report provides an objective, data-driven assessment of the well-being of young children and families in Vermont and includes the 2023 Policy Recommendations from Vermont’s Early Childhood State Advisory Council Network on how best to improve outcomes for each and every child in the prenatal period to age 8 and their family.
Child care, mental health care, and housing are expected to be a major focus of the Vermont General Assembly in 2023. As the primary advisor to Vermont’s Governor and General Assembly on early childhood, BBF publishes The State of Vermont’s Children annually in early January to give Vermont’s policymakers a robust snapshot of the early childhood data they need at the start of each session. While the full report contains over 100 contextualized indicators, six highlights are captured below.
- There has been a 60% increase in the proportion of children in Vermont ages 3 to 8 with an emotional or mental health condition, while at the same time there was no change for the U.S. as a whole.
- Vermont currently has the lowest number in over two decades of out-of-home residential treatment beds for children.
- There were 16,381 children enrolled in child care in 2021, but 76% of infants, 54% of toddlers, and 52% of preschoolers likely to need care still do not have access to high-quality programs.
- Vulnerable students (ages 5 to 8) are excluded from their classrooms at higher rates:
- Students eligible for free and reduced lunch make up 35% of the student population but account for 72% of suspensions.
- Children receiving special education services make up 15% of the student population but account for 36% of suspensions.
- A family of four needs almost $110,000 to meet its basic needs.
- There has been a striking increase in the number of homeless children under 9 enrolled in school, from 268 during the 2020-2021 school year to 398 in the 2021-2022 school year.
This year’s report marks the 10th annual release of The State of Vermont’s Children (formerly known as How Are Vermont’s Young Children and Families?). We are proud of our 10 years of building Vermont’s capacity to prioritize data-driven decision-making!