United Way News
It’s a real issue in many communities across rural America: There is a need for licensed child care providers and a real shortage of them.
In fact, there’s even a term for the challenge. “It’s called a ‘child care desert,’ where the demand for licensed child care is significantly greater than the number of licensed providers,” said Sheri Hannah-Ruh, director of United Way of Weld County’s Promises for Children/Weld County’s Early Childhood Council.
To address this need, United Way of Weld County and Weld County Department of Human Services have partnered to help more people become child care providers. “We’re launching a major campaign in Weld County, designed to recruit candidates to become licensed child care providers,” said John Kruse, assistance payments administrator for the Weld County Department of Human Services. “The county-wide campaign is in both English and Spanish and includes billboards, radio and television commercials, social media, newspaper and other marketing tools.”
To become a licensed child care provider, a candidate must complete 28 hours of required training established by the state of Colorado.
“Candidates will be trained in early childhood development, safety, health, nutrition, CPR and more,” Hannah-Ruh said. “They also will receive training information on grants available that support child care providers to increase their level of quality care.” Licensed child care providers must be a legal citizen of the United States, a legal permanent resident or be lawfully present in the United States pursuant to federal law. They must also pass a background check, be fingerprinted, get a health physical and complete a health evaluation form. The licensing process costs $200-$350.
“In addition to recruiting candidates, we’re trying to make the whole process easier,” Kruse continued. “United Way of Weld County is hosting two orientation sessions in Weld County, so those who are interested can find out more about the process and benefits of becoming a licensed child care provider before they commit.”
The first orientation session is scheduled from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Family Resource Center, 330 Park Ave., in Fort Lupton. The second orientation will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at United Way of Weld County, 814 9th St., in Greeley. Should an attendee decide to enroll in the licensing course, they will be able to pay the $65 course fee and purchase the course notebook for $25 that day.
To become a licensed child care provider, individuals must attend two full-day pre-licensing training sessions, offered by Kid Care Nutrition, and take classes in medication administration, CPR and First Aid. All of these are being scheduled through United Way of Weld County. “The ideal candidate loves to work with children, and is interested in acquiring new early childhood development skills,” Hannah-Ruh said. “They will be interested in being their own boss, and potentially running their own licensed child care operation out of their home. It is great for either men or women who want to be able to provide for their families. We see a lot of parents and grandparents interested in the program. It often enables them to stay home and watch their own children or grandchildren, and make money caring for other children, as well.”
To find out more about the program, visit www.childcare4weld.net or call United Way of Weld County’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral program. Funding for the campaign has been provided by Weld County through the Department of Human Services.