Growing up, Camila took care of her younger siblings; later on, she began caring for nieces and nephews. Eventually Camila opened up her child care to other families. Without a formal education, Camila felt she could do better. She heard about United Way’s programs for those interested in becoming licensed providers. With help and perseverance, she obtained her license.
In 2016 in Weld County there were 14,249 children with both parents in the workforce, yet there were only 6,400 licensed child care slots – creating a critical child care desert. When there isn’t child care available, parents are forced to leave the workforce or children don’t receive adequate care. It will take a combination of licensed, exempt (or FFN), and school age providers to fill the current shortage. The importance of
high quality care cannot be overstated.
Children who have high quality early childcare (versus those who do not)…
- have higher cognitive skills with achievement gains persisting into adulthood
- complete more years of schooling and have a higher graduation rate
- demonstrate less aggressive behavior and higher motivation
- have higher income well into adulthood
- have improved health outcomes
Child Care Provider Recruitment at United Way of Weld County works in partnership with Weld County Department of Human Services’ Weld Child Care initiative to increase the number of child care providers – both licensed and unlicensed. This is done through social and print media campaigns that educate people about the need for more child care slots and the benefits of being a child care provider.
Additionally, this initiative increases the number of providers who accept CCCAP (Colorado Child Care Assistance Program – a subsidy that allows lower income families to be able to afford child care). For family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) providers, an incentivized program with five tiers walks providers through the steps necessary to begin accepting CCCAP. For example, one tier requires the provider to complete a CPR/First Aid course; once she completes the requirement, she’s provided with a first aid kit and fire extinguisher, and she’s one step closer to being able to accept CCCAP.
The effort also:
- works with those with a beginning interest in becoming a home-based child care provider all the way to taking in their first child
- encourages professional development for school-age child care center staff and taking on families that use the CCCAP subsidy
“Everything changed for the better. I was no longer just the ‘aunt’ or lady that babysits. Now, my work was appreciated and respected. I was seen as a professional, from the home environment I provided to how the families treated me personally, and the way I was now working with the kids.”recently licensed child care provider