United Way of Northwest Vermont
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Meet Caryl


“I’ve always loved my job, but running a childcare center is hard and many of the families we work with are struggling. It meant a lot that the Caring Collaborative was willing to work with our Center to figure out how to give our children what they need.

“Caring Collaborative created an opportunity to talk openly about our struggles and needs, and about how our community could come together to provide for children. As a result, our Center has been infused with training, resources, and the space to flourish. We can support the parents, which in turns supports the children being able to come and learn.

“The Caring Collaborative brought resources to us and now we are able to offer so much more, including therapeutic services and an on-site meals program.

“Everything has changed as a result of the Caring Collaborative. I’m proud of my Center and what it provides. We are part of a community where people are willing to help. Our teachers are supported, our families, and our children. Everyone is lifted up!”

Caryl Corbett, Owner & Director, Little One’s University


The Caring Collaborative is an innovative pilot project to develop a family-driven, comprehensive care model that works with and learns from parents, children and staff within a childcare setting. United Way is a lead partner and funder, along with Howard Center and University of Vermont Medical Center.

Caryl’s story is an example of how United Way supports families.

Thousands of Vermont children receive services to help them gain and maintain optimal social and emotional development. However, our community lacks an integrated delivery system for children’s mental health services. With a decreased resources and growing needs, it is becoming increasingly difficult for children and families in our region to access appropriate and timely services.


Driven by an alarming increase in referrals for children’s mental health services and the complexity of the problems, a multi-stakeholder group was convened in autumn 2013 to discuss the challenges of providing appropriate and timely services to children and their families. The primary question that emerged was: what would it take to meet the needs of families in a place and at a time that works best for them? 

The Caring Collaborative emerged as a family-centered service delivery pilot set within a childcare center that serves 80 children and their families.


Better outcomes can be expected when services are offered at a time and in a place that is convenient for families and when providers can work with families as a whole, identifying supports for both generations—the children and their parents. Effort within the Caring Collaborative is driven by needs and priorities identified by the Center and the families of the children. All services are provided on-site at the Center (whenever possible) where families already come each day, and the Collaborative offers “flexible funds” to address emergent or gap needs that cannot be met with existing resources.


United Way of Northwest Vermont has funded the Caring Collaborative pilot as a strategic initiative for three years (along with other partners), and our staff are an integral part of the collaborative backbone staff and Steering Committee.

United Way of Northwest Vermont*** October 14, 2022