Colorado families continue to face child care challenges; advocacy remains essential
Families across the country are facing continued challenges in accessing consistent, affordable child care. Extreme decreases in available programs, staff shortages, and disruptions due to the pandemic have impacted all parents, but have disproportionately impacted women, Black and Hispanic/Latino families, and families with low incomes. Lack of access to reliable child care has a range of negative impacts on children and parents. Recent data from Child Care Aware of America, the Colorado Health Institute, and the RAPID Survey Project make the case for continued state and federal advocacy for additional funding for child care.
Facing widespread resource shortages, staff burnout and turnover, and pandemic-related disruptions, many licensed child care programs have not been able to stay afloat. As a result, over 16,000 licensed child care programs in the U.S. have closed their doors in the past three years alone.
From January to October 2022, over three-fourths of parents struggled to find any center-based, home-based, or other types of care. In Colorado, nearly one-third of parents who reported having trouble accessing child care listed affordability as the main barrier. Infant care in Colorado remains, on average, more expensive than annual rent or in-state college tuition.
The impacts of this lack of access to child care are wide-ranging. Disruptions in routine, inadequate resources, low wages, and burnout limit providers’ ability to offer high-quality care to children. Almost 40% of parents who had trouble accessing child care reported poor mental health, and about one in 20 were unable to schedule necessary medical appointments due to their lack of child care.
The parents experiencing these challenges also reported facing housing insecurity, food insecurity, and difficulty paying medical bills. These barriers were more likely to impact women, Black and Hispanic/Latino parents, parents in low-income households, and families living in the southwestern part of Colorado. Child care is an essential support for families, allowing parents to go to work with the peace of mind that their children are safe and supported.
The Colorado Children’s Campaign remains committed to prioritizing access to child care during the 2023 legislative session and in our new strategic plan. We are working in partnership with Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) and other advocates to reauthorize the Child Care Contribution Tax Credit (CCTC), which brings an estimated $60 million to providers throughout the state each year. Through this tax credit, individuals and businesses can claim a 50% state income tax credit for eligible contributions to licensed child care providers, enabling those providers to stay open, train staff, purchase enrichment materials, and more.
Please contact your representatives and tell them to support the reauthorization of the CCTC. Contact our Early Childhood Policy Analyst, Lauren Corboy, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information about other advocacy opportunities to support child care.