Make Way for Kids

Expanding Access to High-Quality Child Care in Vermont Communities through Grants and Technical Assistance

The goal of Make Way for Kids is to create 500 high-quality child care spaces in Vermont annually. To achieve this goal, VB5’s work will be tailored to the local needs of communities across the state to increase the availability of high-quality early care and learning programs through two strategies:

  1. Program Expansion and Start-Up Assistance (Grants and technical assistance)
  2. Workforce Development (Coaching and technical assistance)

Make Way for Kids is the next phase in VB5’s efforts to ensure that all children have access to high-quality, affordable early care and learning by 2025.


Over the last decade, VB5 helped jump-start the quality of early care and learning programs in the state. Thanks in part to the incredible success of the VB5 mentoring program, more than 75% of early care and learning programs in the state now participate in the state’s quality recognition system (STARS) and 51% of programs have 3–5 stars.

We trained thousands of early educators in developmental screenings, prekindergarten assessments and the Strengthening Families framework and, thanks to the groundwork done by our Vermont Community Preschool Collaborative, Vermont became the only state in the nation with publicly-funded pre-K for all 3- and 4-year olds. Today, nearly 70% of 3- and 4-year-olds are accessing publicly-funded pre-K.

Unfortunately, though quality of child care in
Vermont is increasing, availability of child care is not.

What’s leading to this gap?

  • Family child care operations are closing faster than they are opening. There was a net loss of 286 registered home-based providers since June 2012 and a net loss of 1,338 licensed child care spaces since 2012.
  • While high-quality spaces are increasing, there’s not enough of them.
  • Although policy changes, like Act 166, have been a step in the right direction, and enrollment of children in pre-K has dramatically increased, many communities still experience a lack of access to pre-K.

The solution

Statewide investments and programs have laid the quality groundwork but it’s clear, to ensure that high-quality programs can thrive and that more families can access them, targeted efforts are needed.

Through Make Way for Kids, VB5 will work with communities across the state—with projects such as the Burlington Early Learning Initiative—to increase the availability of high-quality early care and learning programs, and our work in each area will be tailored to local needs.

Program Expansion and Start-Up Assistance

To ensure that high-quality (4–5 star and accreditation) programs can thrive and more families can access them, VB5 will develop partnerships in communities to create new high-quality child care spots for kids by offering short-term financial support and technical assistance that supports local expansion, quality improvement, or program start-up.

Make Way for Kids Grant: VB5 is now accepting applications for Make Way for Kids Grants from:

  • Organizations, schools or agencies that currently operate or plan to operate a licensed child care/early education program.
  • Currently registered family child care programs planning to expand to a licensed program.
  • Individuals planning to open a registered family child care.
  • Organizations, schools or agencies with projects or programs that will increase the capacity of high-quality child care/early education for children ages birth through five years.

The total grant pool is $300,000 and Vermont Birth to Five expects to fund six to ten projects of a variety of sizes. Funding at higher levels may be considered for exceptional project proposals as identified during the consultation process between VB5 and the prospective applicant.

Applications are due no later than February 22, 2018. For more information on grant eligibility, the grant process timeline, and to request an application and to schedule a grant consultation meeting, please contact Sherry Carlson.

Workforce Development

To reach our goal and get kids what they need, the early care and learning field must attract, train, and retain skilled educators. VB5 will continue to provide support to providers working to increase their skills and qualifications through individual and group coaching and technical assistance from skilled, experienced early childhood professionals as well as support of local and regional professional development opportunities and professional networks.

To learn more and to schedule a workforce development consultation meeting, please contact Didi Harris in northern Vermont (Franklin, Grand Isle, Essex, Orleans, Caledonia, Lamoille, Washington, Addison and Chittenden Counties) or Sharron Harrington in southern Vermont (Bennington, Windham, Rutland, Windsor and Orange Counties).