New surveys highlight ongoing need to improve families’ access to child care
Two new reports highlight the continued child care crisis in Colorado. A survey conducted by Early Milestones Colorado in spring 2022 found that 73% of Colorado families continue to have difficulty finding child care, and that child care remains particularly hard to find for families with infants and toddlers. In addition, families continue to struggle to find care in a setting of their choice and struggle to afford their care arrangements. Among families who reported having a child care arrangement that allows them to work, 59% reported having care that does not match their preference.
Providers also continue to struggle to keep their doors open. A November 2022 survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) found that low early childhood educator compensation is a main cause of the ongoing child care crisis. We remain unable to attract and retain enough educators nationwide to meet families’ need for care.
NAEYC also found that the impact of federal stimulus relief dollars on child care was extensive and positive, revealing the following data:
- 75% of child care directors and 86% of family child care owners who responded to the survey had received stabilization funds.
- Of those who reported receiving these funds, one-third said that their program would have closed permanently without them.
- Half of survey respondents indicated that they had received more money from a wage increase or supplement as a result of the stimulus in the last year; and those who worked in programs receiving stabilization grants were twice as likely to report an increase than those who did not.
Without additional action taken to invest in early childhood by the federal government, however, this essential financial lifeline for providers will run out. Though Colorado’s new Department of Early Childhood is doing everything possible to support families and providers, sustained and significant federal funding remains an essential part of the solution to the child care crisis. Please consider reaching out to your representatives to let them know about the importance of funding for early childhood. Find the contact information for your Senators or Representative here.