Vermont Ranks Third in Latest National Rankings for Child Well-Being

Vermont ranks third in the nation for child well-being, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT® Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Vermont continues to lead the nation on key indicators of child well-being.  “This is a time when we have to refuse to compromise what we have worked toward and built,” said Sarah Teel, research director at Voices for Vermont’s Children. “Vermont’s commitment to children has always been strong — a great public education system, very good access to health care, and a reliable economic safety net. This is something we can work to protect.”

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book focuses on key trends for children in the post-recession years and uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being, and family and community — that represent what children need most to thrive. Vermont ranks among the states:
  • First in family and community. The teen birth rate decreased by 33 percent between 2010 and 2015, but 28 percent of children are in single-parent families.
  • Fourth in health. Vermont has the second lowest child and teen death rate in the country, but 6 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 abused drugs or alcohol in the past year.
  • Fifth in education. 42 percent of eighth-graders score proficient or above in math, and 12 percent of high school students in the state do not graduate on time.
  • Ninth in economic well-being. At 4 percent, the state has the lowest percentage of teens ages 16 to 19 not attending school and not working. However, more than a quarter of kids (26 percent) live in families in which no parent has full-time, year-round employment.

Despite progress, there remains room for improvement in the economic well-being of children in Vermont. Fifteen thousand kids live below the poverty line, and almost a third of children are in households that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Voices for Vermont’s Children recently released a state data book, Seeing the Whole Child, with data and research that places each of the national Data Book indicators in a Vermont-specific context. Seeing the Whole Child also provides rankings for each indicator, suggests numerical goals to help bring Vermont to the number one spot, and makes policy recommendations for achieving this.

Providing an adequate safety net, establishing family-supporting workplace policies and recognizing the power of community-wide investments would help to address disparities and reduce the impact of poverty in our communities, according to Carlen Finn, executive director at Voices for Vermont’s Children.

“We all have a stake in making sure our children are safe, healthy and supported,” Finn said.

Additional information is available at,  which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at

Burlington Free Press, Opinion: Vermont needs family leave insurance

As a family educator and lifelong advocate, I have long been concerned about the challenges faced by Vermonters who don’t have access to paid family and medical leave. While may employees nationally and in Vermont are eligible for unpaid family leave through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or the Vermont Parental andContinue Reading

S.20 has been officially signed into law.

Governor Shumlin has officially signed S.20 into law, establishing dental therapists in Vermont! Vermont Digger article: Gov. Shumlin Celebrates Law to Expand Dental Services to More Vermonters “The new law creates a licensing level of dental care providers that is mid-way between a hygienist and a dentist, and sets high standards for education, testing and supervision.Continue Reading

Equity In Vermont Education System Requires Multi-Level Approach

Equity In Vermont Education System Requires Multi-Level Approach

Voices for Vermont’s Children, an independent child policy research and advocacy non-profit, released a new report today. Education Matters: The Impacts of Systemic Inequity in Vermont examines the impacts of rising social inequality on Vermont students and student achievement by looking at indicators like standardized test scores, school size, disciplinary practices, out-of-school time, and graduationContinue Reading

VT Digger: Patrick Rowe: Dental therapists could boost access to dental care

Patrick Rowe: Dental therapists could boost access to dental care Apr. 26, 2016, 6:55 pm by Commentary 1 Comment Editor’s note: This commentary is by Dr. Patrick Rowe, a dentist at Red Clover Family Dentistry in Bristol.   When I started practicing dentistry in 2003, the only thing I focused on was providing theContinue Reading

Budget Update

Voices for Vermont’s Children stands with the many organizations serving and giving voice to Vermonters who are being left behind by an uneven economic recovery in asking the legislature to increase investments in children and families. Almost 16% of Vermont children (more than 18,000) are living below the poverty line, a higher rate than whatContinue Reading

Increasing access to oral health care in Vermont

Voices has long been concerned with health disparities that are masked by Vermont’s relatively good record on providing health care. One of the most significant disparities exists in access to oral health. Because oral health is integral to overall health, the lack of access to dental care in Vermont undermines the health and well beingContinue Reading

We need dental therapists in Vermont. Read Megan’s story:

We are advocating for increased access to oral health care in Vermont. One Vermonter shared how helpful this will be for her, read her story below: We are a self-employed family of six—my husband works as a carpenter. We grow our own food and are thrifty in every possible way. Yet, we cannot afford healthContinue Reading

Paid Sick Days Testimony 1/20/16

Annie Accettella of Voices for Vermont’s Children testified to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. Read her testimony here:   January 20, 2016 To: The Senate Committee on Economic Development Re: Testimony on H. 187 Healthy Workplaces Bill Provided by: Annie Accettella Campaign Director, Voices for Vermont’s Children   Good MorningContinue Reading

JOIN US for our conference!

Advocacy Matters: Transforming the State Together Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM - Montpelier, VT What would happen if the people devoted to serving Vermont’s most vulnerable people came together, created a shared vision and worked together to make that vision a reality? What if we really could change the world? Get tickets now! At thisContinue Reading