Danielson: Expanding Colorado’s child care options

Column by State Rep. Jessie Danielson

Many hard-working parents across Colorado are struggling to find quality, affordable child care that meets their needs. While there are wonderful daycare centers, early learning centers and other licensed child care facilities that serve families very well, some parents need or want other options.

In a time where child care costs are high and day care center wait lists are long, child care deserts have become a statewide problem.

That is why I just passed SB17-110, a bipartisan measure to offer one solution to increase access to child care and ensure our children are safe. This new law makes it possible for friends, relatives, nannies, and nanny-shares to care for up to four unrelated kids. It will increase access to child care and lower costs for parents.

The bill will also increase kids’ safety. With this new law, people will come out of the shadows and seek the resources that are available to them such as free training in home safety, sleep safety and school readiness.

In rural, suburban and urban communities, the lack of access to child care has become so significant that nearly 100,000 kids lack access to licensed child care.

Some communities have no day care center to care for children. Many parents are facing problems of long waitlists and astronomic expenses for day care. In Colorado, child care can cost more than a family’s rent or mortgage. Parents can be forced to leave the work force because child care is so inaccessible.

For some families, a relative or friend who provides child care is the best option for their schedule, budget or the well-being of their child.

Availability of child care will increase by allowing parents to network openly in their communities, which means more options and less stress on families.

This legislation was signed into law by Gov. Hickenlooper on March 30th, increasing the quality and availability of child care, lowering costs for hard-working parents and helping providers with school readiness skills that will give kids a head start when they get to school.

State Rep. Jessie Danielson serves House District 24, which includes Golden, Wheat Ridge, Edgewater and other Jefferson County communities. She is Speaker Pro Tem of the State House. To find out more about Rep. Danielson’s community events or to talk to her directly, call her cell at 720-276-3468 or visit www.jessiedanielson.com.

op-edRachel Caine