The West Steps: What is happening with child care in Colorado?
The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that the adage “everyone relies on someone who relies on child care” is more true than ever. Both our emergency response and economic recovery hinge on child care. When our essential workforce lacks access to child care, staffing shortages in health care, food service, agriculture, and emergency response are likely. Yet, our child care providers have worked diligently to remain open safely throughout the pandemic so that parents can work and children can benefit from stimulating early care and learning environments. Similarly, Colorado’s economic recovery will hinge on ensuring people can get back to work. Access to child care is a necessary work support and disruptions in care arrangements or inability to find child care disproportionately harms workforce participation among women and people of color.
Unfortunately, the higher costs of operation, the reduced revenue due to payment policies tied to child attendance, and low levels of public investment have pushed the child care industry to the brink. Many providers are struggling to keep their doors open and, sadly, many have closed their doors permanently.
This week on The West Steps, we are joined by Bill Jaeger and Melissa Mares, who discuss the need for a more accessible systems approach to early child care. Want to learn more about ways you can engage and advocate for better early child care and education in Colorado?
Listen to the new episode here or anywhere you find your podcasts,