LAKEWOOD, Colorado (CBS4)– Child care providers across the state have the opportunity to get state emergency funding. Gov. Jared Polis, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Social Services, will use nearly $300 million in stimulus funds to help stabilize the child care industry.
“For Colorado to move forward, we need to make sure that hard-working parents and those returning to the workforce have peace of mind that their children are receiving high-quality care and that our amazing daycares can thrive,” Polis said in a statement.
Aimee Dixon and Mara Hackett together own the Colorado Kids Academy. In the six years they’ve been open, they’ve had their share of ups and downs, but nothing could have prepared them for a pandemic.
“We literally had to change the way students entered the building, every step of the day and every step of our day we had to reevaluate it,” Dixon said.
For almost two years now, they have occasionally had to deal with temporary closures, increased costs and fewer student enrolments.
“I think for a while you start to feel like someone could see us? We need help here and we are small and unique in that regard, but everyone is affected equally,” said Hackett.
They were able to keep their doors open, but many facilities did not.
The state hopes the Early Childhood Recovery Fund will ease some of that burden.
“I think the key here is that everyone depends on someone who depends on child care when families have access to high quality child care, they can go to work and go to school. ‘School and Strengthen Colorado’s Economy,’ Colorado Principal Mary Alice Cohen. says the Office of Early Childhood.
According to Cohen, the silver can be used to support business operations. Things like paying rent or a mortgage, buying supplies, or paying employees.
“In addition to vendors having to close, another big challenge for vendors is not having enough staff, many are not operating at full capacity,” she said.
There are approximately 4,700 licensed child care centers statewide, and everyone is eligible to receive a grant.
The amount will be based on size and quality of care, with payments spread over nine months.
The Colorado Kids Academy submitted its application on day one and there’s no doubt for Hackett or Dixon where that money will go.
“We really believe that teachers are the heart of our school, so how can we make their lives a little easier,” Dixon said.
Eligible child care providers should have received an email with a unique link to the grant application. Applications are ongoing and vendors can apply anytime by September 30, 2022 to begin receiving monthly payments. The first payment will be made by February 11, 2022. Suppliers must apply by January 28, 2022 to be included in the February 11 payment.
Additional information about Child Care Stabilization Grants and other early childhood stimulation opportunities can be found at coecstimulus.com.