Summit County leaders point out that $ 30 million in child care funding in the state’s proposed budget for 2022-2023 has one of the biggest impacts on the local economy

Preschoolers play at Little Red Schoolhouse on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, in Breckenridge. Lucinda Burns, executive director of Early Childhood Options, said the ’30s theft’ phenomenon is common in Summit County, where young adults will leave the community in search of available child care and support. affordable housing, straining the local economy.
Hugh Carey Archives / Summit Daily

When Governor Jared Polis released the state’s proposed budget for 2022 to 2023, the Colorado Chamber of Commerce identified some of the elements which could have the greatest impact on the state’s economy.

According to a press release from the chamber, some of these included:

  • $ 600 million to ease pandemic unemployment insurance burdens to save employers money and protect workers’ wages
  • $ 104 million in expense relief for individuals and businesses, including free business start-ups, premium relief for paid family and medical leave and more
  • $ 5 million to help workers find in-demand opportunities
  • $ 51 million to help businesses find workers and help workers find well-paying jobs through short-term credentials and apprenticeships
  • $ 30 million to create more daycares
  • $ 200 million in Economic Recovery and Relief Fund investments to be used to leverage local and other funding to reduce homelessness

The proposal was released on November 1 and relates to the state’s next fiscal cycle, which takes effect on July 1. The budget is usually not approved until spring.

While things like allocating funds for workforce training are a given, Corry Mihm, project manager for the Summit Prosperity Initiative, said there was an element budget that could prove to have one of the biggest impacts on the local economy in Summit County.

“Of these, those that will obviously help (help) support day care centers,” Mihm said. ” … It’s really important. “

The lack of child care services in Summit County has always been a problem, but the pandemic has highlighted just how closely intertwined the local business community and child care centers are. When children couldn’t attend school in person, it meant they were learning or needed care at home. Families who did not have additional help were then forced between looking after their child and going to work.

Local businesses have struggled to recruit staff in the months following the worst of the pandemic. While much of this phenomenon is related to housing, Early Years Options Executive Director Lucinda Burns stressed that it is just as important to look at child care.

“When people hit their 30s they start thinking about having kids and buying a house, and if that gets too difficult, then a lot of times they move out,” Burns said. “So very often there is what we would call the ‘1930s theft,’ where people in their 30s are fleeing Summit County. “

According to the Colorado Chamber of Commerce press release, the state budget proposes $ 30 million to create more child care centers. Colorado can create more child care options for hard-working Coloradans by renovating existing public buildings, including higher education institutions, so that these facilities can be used as child care centers for the public, state employees and students, ”the statement said.

Burns said the county has such a high level of need that it would put the money to good use if it received some of the funding.

“In terms of money to build new facilities or to increase capacity, the bottom line is that I think we know we have a need in Silverthorne, in the north of the county, but, really, we have needs in across the county, “she said.” So the main thing to do is look at a combination of service delivery options: new child care centers, new family child care centers and see if there is an opportunity to ‘expansion into the Summit School District. “

Although there are many projects underway to strengthen the local community childcare services, such as increasing the salaries of daycare teachers, providing tuition assistance and opening of more facilities, Burns said that in the future she would like to work with larger employers. collaborate and meet some of the needs of the community.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to work more closely with our employers, especially our larger employers, on how they can play an important role in resolving this issue so that we can make sure that their employees can go to work and know their children are safe and well cared for, ”Burns said.


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