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Early Childhood Guide: Childcare tuition assistance for more Vermont families

Progress toward Vermont’s childcare solution is underway as Act 76 rolls out. This year, over 7,000 more families will become eligible for childcare tuition assistance from the state. Here’s what you need to know:

How Act 76 Lowers Childcare Costs:

Act 76 expands the income eligibility criteria for Vermont’s childcare tuition assistance program (known as the Childcare Financial Assistance Program, or CCFAP). Beginning in April 2024, the state will help more Vermont families pay for childcare as a result of this eligibility expansion. In October, the eligibility criteria will expand again. The result is more affordable childcare for the majority of Vermont families.

In April, eligibility expands from 350% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 400%. By October 2024, families earning up to 575% of FPL will be eligible for tuition assistance. That means a family of four earning up to $179,400 may qualify. Read more about the eligibility criteria online at tinyurl.com/ChildcareEligibility.

How Do I Access Lower Childcare Tuition Payments?

Newly eligible families will need to apply for tuition assistance (CCFAP). After a family enrolls, the state directly reimburses the childcare programs that their children attend. As a result, the family’s out-of-pocket tuition bills are lower.

Visit the state website tinyurl.com/ChildCareMoneyHelp to view the eligibility requirements and contact your regional community childcare support agency (CCCSA) for assistance.

What Else Do I Need To Know About Tuition Assistance?

The true cost of childcare is unaffordable for most families, and many childcare programs survive on tight margins trying to make their programs affordable to families. This is unsustainable for families and childcare programs, resulting in many parents leaving the workforce and program closures.

That’s why Vermonters asked for long-term, sustainable investments in childcare. It gives our youngest children the best start and provides families with access to a critical service so they can thrive and participate in the workforce.

Many families already qualify for Vermont’s tuition assistance program and use it to access more affordable childcare. With the expanded income eligibility, the state is helping thousands more families afford this essential service. And because Act 76 invests directly into childcare programs by reimbursing childcare providers closer to the true cost of care, program quality and capacity will also grow.

Investing in childcare is not only the right thing to do for our children, but it will also allow hundreds of Vermont parents to reenter the workforce, boosting the state’s economy in the long run as well.

Additional resources:

• Learn how Act 76 will impact your family online at tinyurl.com/Act76Vt. 

• Learn more about childcare financial assistance from the state and how to apply online t tinyurl.com/ChildCareMoneyHelp.

• Find your local childcare support agency here to help navigate Vermont’s childcare system online a tinyurl.com/AgencyParners.

• Learn about tax breaks, employer reimbursements, and other potential resources to help pay for childcare online at tinyurl.com/HelpPayingChildcare.

Editor’s note: This article came from Let’s Grow Kids.

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