Next steps for Colorado’s early care and education sector
Child care providers across Colorado are currently at risk of permanent closure as their already thin profit margins before the pandemic have disappeared. On Monday, the Colorado Children’s Campaign, along with more than 25 partners, submitted an advocacy letter to state policy makers on next steps needed to ensure the survival of Colorado’s early care and education sector. In Colorado, 33 percent of providers who responded to national survey said they would not survive closing for more than two weeks without significant public investment and support that would allow them to pay staff, rent, and other fixed costs. Some 22 percent would not survive a closure of any length of time without financial supports, and 29 percent did not know how long they would be able to close their doors and reopen without these investments. Currently, many providers have been closed for almost a month and may not be able to reopen.
The early care and education industry provides critical support to Colorado’s economy, and its survival is necessary for Colorado’s successful economic recovery. Colorado’s working parents can’t get to work without early childhood educators. Access to affordable, quality child care is a limiting factor that will either allow workers to reenter the workforce and remain employed, or keep many families from fully recovering.
The advocacy letter suggests many short and long-term strategies for supporting the ECE sector in Colorado, including:
- Compensate both child care providers who take public subsidies and those who don’t for their loss of income due to this crisis.
- Ensure early care and education providers have access to a variety of benefits to support their viability including mortgage forbearance, rent deferral, access to Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and incentives for providers who retain and pay staff during the pandemic.
- Ensure the health and safety of children and providers as demand for care increases throughout the crisis.
- Ensure providers who are currently open have consistent, reliable access to food and needed supplies.
- Permanently shift the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) to pay providers based on enrollment, not attendance.
- Make long-term structural reforms to the sector, such as additional public investment, cost modeling for service delivery that supports high-quality care and retention of skilled educators, shared services, and smarter regulatory structures.
To read the letter and learn more about what’s needed to support the early care and education sector in Colorado, click here. We welcome feedback on these strategies and welcome any additional ideas that could best support the long-term viability of Colorado’s ECE sector. To contribute feedback, please e-mail Melissa Mares at firstname.lastname@example.org and join our bi-weekly calls on the impact of COVID on the ECE sector by filling out this form to sign up to join the conversations if you’re not already a part of them.