Highland Children’s House Awaits Funding from Youngkin’s State Bill

In December, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin proposed nearly half a billion dollars in funds to support the state’s early childcare system. These funds aim to replace pandemic-era federal dollars that are about to dry up, while also addressing concerns from parents and childcare providers.


I spoke with Callie Smith, Executive Director of The Highland Children’s House, the only childcare option here in Highland, for her take on the proposal of this new bill. Smith said that the first thing she would do with support of this nature is to increase the rate of pay for childcare workers in her facility.


“Our biggest need right now would be staff,” said Smith. “And staff that is able to do training and put the time in for professional development.”


The $448 million is scheduled to be part of Youngkin’s bi-annual budget, which the state legislature will have to come to an agreement on by the end of the 2024 session. With this, there is hope to expand several of the state’s existing childcare programs including facilities like The Highland Children’s House.


“Our mission is to support working families through providing quality child care. And we do that by providing affordable care in a homelike setting,” said Smith. “So everything we do, the environment is prepared for the children.”


This commitment from the state would give her teachers the ability to make a living wage locally.


“I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what funding we will receive through this bill, but we never do know,” said Smith.


And until the full bill language is ready for review, Smith will continue to be creative, by seeking ongoing support from the local community.


“Our rates are very much under the market rate,” said Smith. “We are committed to supporting working families, and the only way we can do that is with direct public support.”


This story will continue to develop as state bills go through layers of review.

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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