Families & Communities Committee

What: We are a group of parents, guardians, caregivers, and professionals dedicated to improving systems and services for Vermont families and communities.


  • Those who join as parents, primary caregivers, or guardians are eligible to be paid for their time attending and preparing for the committee at a rate of $15/hour. Child care stipends also may be available.
  • We are particularly interested in having those with currently underrepresented experiences and identities join the committee, including: fathers and male-identifying caregivers; BIPOC parents and caregivers; parents and caregivers from the Indigenous community; families who participate in programs such as WIC/3Squares, the Child Care Financial Assistance Program, and Reach Up; and kin as parents.

When: We meet VIRTUALLY – twice a month

  • First Thursday from 10:00-11:30am
  • Second Tuesday from 8:00-9:00pm

Where: Join us virtually via Zoom.

Learn more:

The BBF Families and Communities Committee works to develop a statewide approach that enriches and expands family partnership and leadership at the provider, agency, and community levels. Our committee is entirely virtual and open for parents and providers to join anytime. You can call in via your computer or phone, from anywhere! All you need to do is show up with all of the knowledge and experience that you hold. We value your time. Parents and caregivers will be compensated for participating in committee meetings and activities. To learn more, email families@buildingbrightfutures.org or fill out the Join the Network Form


The Families and Communities Committee empowers families to participate in designing collaborative early childhood systems that represent the diverse needs of all families in Vermont.  We prioritize and elevate parent and caregiver voices while strengthening connections, providing leadership development opportunities, and offering mutual support by building a statewide community.

Featured Projects:

Family Needs Assessment Project

The Committee is newly charged with developing and circulating surveys called the Early Childhood Family Needs Assessments on a regular basis. This is supported by a five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to the Vermont Division of Family and Child Health and BBF, to support building upon and strengthening integration, family leadership work, and an equity lens within Vermont’s early childhood system. Responses to the survey were anonymous and will be analyzed and summarized to inform policy and decision-making in Vermont’s early childhood system. The 2022 Family Needs Assessment Report has been released, read it here.  The Committee hosted a virtual report briefing on Wednesday, May 17 view the recording or presentation slides below.


Family Needs Assessment Briefing Slides Family Needs Assessment Briefing Recording


Jenifer Fortman

Jen Fortman was born and raised in Central, VT. She moved to Lamoille County for college where she continues to reside with her two children, 7 Year old son, Jayden, 5 year old daughter, Eva, and dogs, Gunner & Ruger. Jen is Building Bright Futures Family Lead and co-chair of the Families & Communities Committee. Jen supports families as leaders in the committee by increasing family participation, holding space, and strengthening connections between system creators and families/caregivers. She enjoys being outside and exploring nature through biking, hiking, camping, paddleboarding, snowboarding and gardening. She also enjoys reading and relaxing with her friends and family.

Sarah Morrison

Sarah Morrison grew up in Western Massachusetts, just across the Vermont border. After high school she moved north, and currently lives in Lamoille County where she and her husband chose to put down roots because of the sense of community they found there. They have two boys, two dogs, two cats, and 22 chickens. Sarah first got involved in the Committee during the Family Engagement Survey project in 2020. Following the project, she joined the Committee and began attending Regional Council meetings, stepping up as F&CC co-chair in 2022. Involvement in the BBF Network eventually led her to her job with WIC as a breastfeeding peer counselor. Sarah is passionate about her family, and wants to be a part of making sure Vermont families are supported with the resources they need. She enjoys time with family and friends, knitting, crocheting, baking, reading, swimming, skiing, and relaxing.

Upcoming Meetings

Family Leadership Webinar

July 18 at 10:00 am

The F&CC is hosting a panel of family leadership experts from Vermont, Maine, Missouri and Pennsylvania. During this free, virtual session we learn about promising practices, accomplishments and strategies to engage parent leaders.


Families & Communities August Daytime Meeting

August 1 at 10:00 am

Meeting Minutes

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