Vermont Childcare Workers Fall to Regulation

December 31, 2018

By David Flemming

Last month, Vermont’s Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) released a disturbing report about the state of home-based childcare in Vermont. According to the report, Vermont parents have 26% fewer home based childcare providers to choose from than they did in 2015, due in large part to over-regulation.

Act 166 is known mainly for funding universal public school pre-K in Vermont. But it also requires home-based providers to meet heightened safety standards, take classes on childcare, and hire licensed teachers to teach children. “A registered home provider that is not licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or early childhood special education shall receive regular, active supervision and training from a teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education.”

This has caused childcare workers like Lisa Harris of Windham County to close down her home-based childcare. “There need to be standards, but they’re often applied with no regard to all the red tape that’s involved and all the cost,” Harris said. Harris had run her home-based child care center since 2001, but shut it down after the new regulations went into effect.

According to the JFO’s report, Harris and 203 other providers registered in Vermont have since closed their doors, a decrease of 26.6% between December 2015 and June 2018. There were also nearly 2000 fewer childcare slots during that time, a decrease of 25.5%.

With Act 166, our government has crippled a profession that gave Vermont childcare workers the flexibility to operate out of their own homes. Some may comply with the regulations through clenched teeth. Others may decide to find less enjoyable jobs that require more travel. And then there is the group that may stop working altogether. Small wonder that our workforce has been declining.

David Flemming is a policy analyst at the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Celia Winters January 1, 2019 at 2:58 am

The Legislature is destroying some wonderful environments for children to be nurtured in. The home based child care that I saw some of my Grandchildren attend were wonderful and cannot possibly be duplicated in a public facility. It is an atrocity for the Legislature to destroy these choices for parents.


Mary Daly January 1, 2019 at 1:32 pm

What a crying shame. When are our legislators going to learn that all their paranoia is causing such harm? If one person does wrong, discipline that one person. Not the whole industry.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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