Whether you work in construction or healthcare, you have likely been impacted by childcare issues, either personally or as a result of a co-worker. One in 5 Coloradans need childcare in order to work–an estimate that is likely conservatively low. Yet, in Larimer County, 4 out of 5 families do not have access to licensed childcare for their infant and 3 out of 5 families with toddlers cannot find licensed care. This leaves many families scrambling to find quality care for their children and unable to participate fully in the workforce. In fact, 10% of Colorado residents quit a job, didn’t take a job, or made significant changes to their job responsibilities because of childcare problems. And across the nation, $3 billion is lost annually by U.S. businesses due to employee absenteeism resulting from childcare issues.

Early Childhood Council of Larimer County has been working for years alongside business leaders, community members, government officials, and other nonprofits to create solutions for solving our childcare crisis. Our partnership with the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce has helped us ensure that childcare is considered from a business perspective. For decades, childcare has been deemed a personal issue. Yet, it affects everyone in every single industry. Cost of living, cost of childcare, lack of childcare availability, low pay for the early childhood workforce, an increase in population, and inadequate state and federal funding are all contributing to childcare being a market failure here in Fort Collins and Larimer County. Learn more about the issue and sign up for updates at LarimerThrivebyFive.org.

While we work on larger initiatives and partnerships to solve the childcare crisis at a systemic level, Early Childhood Council of Larimer County continues to pilot initiatives and provide innovative resources to improve the early care and education sector in our community. One of the resources we offer for families is LarimerChildCare.org, a free website for local families to find childcare based on their preferences, including proximity to home or work, program type, program season, and more. The site includes information supplied and regularly updated by early care and education providers as well as their Colorado Shines quality rating, which is given by the state based on the licensed provider meeting basic health and safety standards.

This past fall, the Larimer Child Care Fund scholarship application was added as an additional

option on the website to streamline the process for families. The fund currently has a waitlist for families with low-to-moderate incomes who do not qualify for Colorado Child Care Assistance (CCAP) benefits.

Larimer County recently limited CCAP enrollments due to the loss of federal pandemic funds. As a result, we expect to see more families seeking assistance through the Larimer Child Care Fund. To support these families and address the mounting waitlist, we need your help. You can support a child care scholarship today by giving to the Larimer Child Care fund  through United Way of Larimer County.

LarimerChildCare.org has helped hundreds of families find licensed childcare, preschool, and out-of-school care.

Everyone depends on someone who depends on childcare. Please get involved in helping us solve the childcare crisis here locally by visiting LarimerThrivebyFive.org. And share LarimerChildCare.org with any families looking for childcare options that work best for them.


To comment, ask a question or learn more please email Christina at [email protected]
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