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Vermont has lost 25 of home-based child care capacity

December 5, 2018

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont has lost about a quarter of its home-based child care capacity in the past three years, according to a new report from the state’s legislative Joint Fiscal Office.

In 2014, then-Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, signed the universal pre-kindergarten bill into law that also increased regulations and standards for home-based care, Vermont Public Radio reported . Child care advocates had expected the law would force some home-based providers to close.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise, in general — just the scope of it is worse than we thought,” said Chloe Learey, director of Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Brattleboro. She said Winston Prouty has a waiting list for families wanting to enroll children, and she’s seen some home-based centers close in the area.

“The report definitely shows that in terms of access to child care, we are in worse shape,” she said.

The state has about 1,700 fewer slots today than when the law went into effect, Vermont Public Radio reported Tuesday.

Reeva Murphy, a deputy commissioner with the Department for Children and Families, said home-based centers are important to parents who want their kids in smaller settings or who live in rural areas.

“In a rural state, that’s quite alarming to us because we think it’s a critical part of supply in a rural state,” she said. “And the issue is we’re losing it and it’s not being replaced, right? So it’s not that family child care’s ever closed before, but there’s not new ones opening.”

A statewide survey is under way to determine what the need for such child care is, she said. The report from the Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office didn’t offer any suggestions on why the number of slots had decreased.

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