Child Care 8,000
Child Care 8,000
Mesa County, Colorado is facing a severe shortage of early childhood education services. The lack of available child care is impacting the ability of families to work and to effectively provide quality early childhood education for their children.
What is CC8K?
Child Care 8,000 is a community initiative to increase capacity to serve children in child care and support parents to work. Together, we will work to maintain current facilities at capacity, add additional slots, and license new facilities until we reach 8,000 slots for children (0-13 years). Visit Mesa County’s Public Health site to learn more about the initiative.
There are approximately 150 child care providers that offer 4,893 openings in Mesa County. Since CC8K was envisioned in 2018, ECE availability has grown by 20%. Unfortunately, even this expanded capacity has the ability to serve less than 20% of the children currently aged 0-5. While child care varies greatly, the focus of this effort is on quality, licensed child care providers who are trained in child development and early education to support brain development, optimize learning, and support healthy families. This approach is known as a two-generation approach because the work is designed to break cycles of poverty by building the assets of both the current and the next generation.
- Quality child care gets kids ready for school, leading to successful careers later in life.
- An increase in licensed, quality child care slots means 300 additional jobs in Mesa County, which will boost our economy by about $9 million annually.
- Affordable, quality child care alleviates stress on families, allowing our community to grow.
Create a hub for ECE employment and operations
House the shared services, provide ongoing staff training and development, screen and train substitutes, and potentially create a shared food service within a central resource center.
Sustain a substitute or temp-to-hire pool
Substitute pools both support staff retention and ensure that classrooms are covered. Use of substitutes can help decrease staff burnout, allow more time for teachers to engage with parents, and be a pipeline for recruitment by ensuring appropriate classroom coverage and increasing coverage for key events.
Expand staff development and training opportunities
The staffing needs in ECE will require a coordinated effort from recruitment, training, and development to the creation of a substitute and temp-to-hire pool. This effort develops a strong workforce of staff, starting with credentialed Child Development Associates (CDAs). Online courses, in-class instruction, and tutorials have been designed and delivered to grow the ECE workforce. These efforts also lead to improvements in quality standards, ratings, and reimbursement/payment rates.
Increase efficiency and support expansion
Providing quality ECE is costly. Nationally, state and federal child care subsidies are not keeping pace with teacher wages, and parents are unable to make up the difference. Shared services have been proven to help improve quality, teacher retention, workforce development, and child growth, while also improving the efficiency of operations.
Expand the Child and Adult Care Food Program
CACFP can expand care while also improving food and nutrition for children. The CACFP program is located within the United States Department of Agriculture and provides financial reimbursement to ECE providers who have at least 25% of their enrollment composed of children from low-income families.
Aid in COVID19 Recovery
CC8K is poised to support the re-opening of centers as well as prevent closures, and has been working diligently on both efforts. In addition to statewide efforts, they have instituted changes in payment systems to help preserve centers. The goal is to keep centers open, ensure that staff are retained, and keep children safe.