Mayor Weinberger Calls for Long-term Public Investment in Child Care

Burlington, Vt. – Today, the City of Burlington calls on Vermont lawmakers to prioritize long-term public investment in Vermont’s child care system in 2023 to better support children, families, businesses, and early childhood educators statewide. The City Council passed a resolution that the Mayor will sign, which urges action from the Legislature to advance legislation that would make child care more accessible and affordable.  

“Our Administration has prioritized access to affordable and high-quality charity for years because without it, Burlington kids, families, and businesses, will fall behind,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The success and demand of our Early Learning Initiative in Burlington is proof that there is more the State can and should do to ensure that every child who needs child care has it. It is time for Vermont to get serious about fully funding an excellent early childhood education for all Vermont families – when we do, this will be one of the best and most impactful investments the state makes.”  

City officials -- who launched the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) in 2017 and the First Steps Scholarship in 2019 to help Burlington families with young children access quality child care – see its success as a demonstration of the impact that increased public investment in child care would have statewide. With City investment, ELI has helped fund three new child care centers, with up to 120 new high-quality spots for young children, and has stabilized 166 enrolled spots at quality Burlington centers to date.  

In Chittenden County alone, 43% of infants likely to need care lack access to regulated child care programs, and 94% of child care centers experienced staffing shortages within the past year. Statewide, three out of five of Vermont’s youngest children don’t have access to the care they need right now, according to an estimate by Vermont’s Child Care Campaign. Employers can’t fill positions because parents can’t work, parents who do have care can’t afford it, and early childhood educators can’t afford to stay in the field.    

“Barriers to child care have long-lasting impacts,” said Rebecca Resse, ELI Manager. “ELI helps families break through many of these obstacles by navigating the enrollment process and making care truly affordable. Parents are grateful and their minds are at ease knowing their children are being cared for in safe, enriching, and reliable environments. At the City level, 84% of 104 scholarship recipients stayed enrolled through three scholarship years, which increases their preparedness for Pre-K and Kindergarten. Statewide, there are nearly 9,000 children that don’t have access to child care, and this can have long-term effects on their development.” 

“In ELI’s 2021-2022 scholarship year, 82% of families said they needed child care to stay employed or to find employment,” says Kara Alnasrawi, Director of Business & Workforce Development. “The recently published Vermont Early Care and Education Financing Study confirms what we’ve already proven at the city level: investments in child care build a workforce, they support local businesses, and will grow the state economy.” 

“What Vermonters want and need is a fully-funded child care system that ensures every child has access to quality child care, families spend no more than 10% of their income on child care, and early childhood educators are fairly compensated,” says Aly Richards, CEO of Let’s Grow Kids. “We’re excited to have Burlington officials continue support for this cause, building upon the city’s success with its ELI program and the Vermont Mayors Coalition’s child care agenda.” 


The Early Learning Initiative (ELI) was founded by the Mayor Weinberger to help all Burlingtonians access high-quality, affordable childcare for its youngest residents (0-3 years old). It achieves this by directly supporting low-income families through the First Steps Scholarship, and supports childcare centers with growth grants and team trainings. Visit for more information. 

Let’s Grow Kids is a nonprofit organization on a mission: ensuring affordable access to high-quality child care for all Vermont families by 2025. With over 30,000 supporters from all walks of life, Let’s Grow Kids is facilitating the movement to strengthen the early childhood education system today and calling for lasting investments in child care. Together, we can give children a strong start and build a better Vermont for generations to come. Learn more at    



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