Clean Water and Air in Schools
- Lead Testing and Remediation – The Scott Administration worked with schools and child care providers to test 15,000 taps used for drinking and cooking for lead in nearly all schools and centers across the state. Removal or remediation of contaminated taps in response to this study is completed or underway, and as a result, levels of lead in school and child care drinking water have been reduced well below the federal action level.
- PCB Testing and Remediation – The Scott Administration and Legislature have allocated nearly $40 million to test Vermont schools for PCBs, and the Administration is implementing a plan to conduct this extensive testing program. In 2021 (FY22), the state also provided $3.5 million in funding to Burlington High School to help it respond to the contamination that resulted in closing the school.
- School Indoor Air Quality – The State allocated $15 million of federal pandemic recovery funds to a grant program to help schools make improvements to HVAC systems to address indoor air quality.
Providing Mental Health Supports
- Implementing Mobile Response Services – Proposed, passed and implemented a mobile response pilot program in Rutland (FY22), which will be expanded with additional funding in FY23. This initiative takes services directly to children experiencing a mental health crisis, in real time, providing critical care to families in need and reducing pressure on emergency rooms.
- Implementing a value-based incentive for screening children and adolescents – Beginning on January 1, 2023, all Vermont Designated Agencies will be able to earn a value-based incentive payment for providing screenings to children and adolescents (aged 12 and up) for depression and substance use. Screenings will improve our ability to engage in early intervention activities with youths experiencing mental health and substance use challenges.
- Implemented a Child Psychiatry Access Program, offering a consultation line for pediatricians statewide to help them access immediate psychiatric consultation to better care for child, youth and family mental health concerns during office visits. This program is providing training on mental health topics for PCPs and community providers, and trauma-responsive care trainings for emergency departments statewide to better support children, youth and adults waiting in EDs with mental health concerns.
- Secured federal resources and ongoing programming to strengthen prevention and intervention services related to youth suicide.
Encouraging Strong, Independent Families
- Pursuing a Voluntary Family & Medical Leave program that would allow employers and individuals to opt-in to a family and medical leave insurance plan. The program would be designed to achieve more affordable rates for employers and individuals by using state employees as the base. The Administration is awaiting the result of an Request for Proposals (RFP) process to identify a vendor for this service.
- Introduced and enacted legislation that made strategic changes to the Vermont Reach Up program to move parents towards sustainable employment and self-sufficiency by using goal-oriented approaches and expanding the definitions of workforce training and employment opportunities.
- Proposed and signed legislation establishing a prudent parent standard for foster parents, aimed at allowing children in foster care to have the same opportunities to participate in activities similar to their peers, including social activities such as sports and field trips.
- Reinforced ongoing work to support children and youth in foster care with safety, permanency, and well-being. Expanded efforts to ensure children and youth in out-of-home care experience childhood and adolescence in ways like their peers not in foster care.
- Proposed and passed investment of 5% increase in foster family payments and increased respite time for foster parents.
- Expanded intensive case management and service coordination to homeless families with children to now serve 10 of 12 AHS districts. Funding and technical assistance for the Family Supportive Housing program has supported providers to add staff, from 10 Service Coordinators to 19 Service Coordinators statewide.
- Expanded support for Native American children by including the new Indigenous People’s liaison, the Indian Child Welfare Act Coordinator. The new position will build collaborative relationships with native tribes, including the Abenaki, and will prioritize kinship care, advancing racial equity work and commitments, repairing harm, preventing future harm, and prioritizing our families’ heritage and culture.
- Supporting the expansion of the Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaborations for Everyone (DULCE). DULCE is an innovative approach based in the pediatric care setting that proactively addresses social determinants of health, promotes the healthy development of infants, and provides support to their parents, all during the precious and critical first six months of life.