On March 23, Colorado began providing free emergency childcare for health workers, first responders, and staff at residential care facilities. This effort was originally set up to last two weeks and was paid for by state and private dollars.
On March 30, Gov. Polis expanded this list to include more essential workers identified in Updated Public Health Order 20-24, including the construction industry. This provides a 100% tuition credit for childcare through May 17. The program is administered through a collaborative called Colorado Emergency Child Care Collaborative. On the state side, this is administered by the Colorado Office of Early Childhood and the Department of Human Services. While guidance asks individuals to find child support in other ways, there have not been stories about individuals being denied access to this service.
How do I get care?
This public-private partnership is run through the COVID Child Care website. The steps below should help expedite the process.
- Fill out this parent survey. The survey will determine your family’s childcare needs, including location, time of day, age of children, and preferred structure of care. You can also call 2-1-1 for information and support.
- Once you submit your survey, the Colorado Department of Human Services reviews your application to determine eligibility based on your line of work.
- Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email giving you access to an online platform/web app, where you can provide a full description of the care you need.
- The care request is broadcast via text message to all eligible providers who have indicated they have the capacity to care for children in the age groups requested by the family.
- When a provider can accommodate the family at their facility, the provider texts back, and the app immediately sends the family and the provider full contact details.
- The family and provider make appropriate arrangements for full enrollment.
If you are unhappy with the provider you have been matched with, you can communicate with the provider that it is not a good match and use the app again to try to be matched with a different provider. Here is a list of current providers broken out by county. If your usual childcare provider is not on this list, you can encourage them to apply here.
How do I know it is safe?
The emergency childcare still follows Colorado child care licensing rules. Providers are required to follow state guidance around school and child care responses to COVID-19, rules stated by the Office of Early Childhood, and CDPHE.
For any questions about essential business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Dan Wenngole. This bog was co-authored by Bobby Dishell, Law Student Intern at Moye White.