Weld County: A Licensed Child Care “Desert”

Like many rural counties in Colorado and across America, Weld County has a severe shortage of licensed child care providers. So what does this mean for our community?

Frankly, a great deal. You see, licensed child care providers aren’t just providing a babysitting service. They are highly trained caregivers who help our children, and especially our most vulnerable children, to be better prepared for kindergarten which can lead to lifelong success.

Licensed child care providers receive training in early childhood development, First Aid, CPR, medication administration, nutrition and more. They pass stringent requirements in order to provide licensed child care in their homes. They know how to help children learn, discover, grow and become their best. And they complete all the requirements of a state of Colorado licensing process and must work to maintain the license.

Research now shows that the first three years in a child’s life are pivotal to their lifelong success and happiness. When a child gets the right stimulation, support, nurturing and education during these years, they thrive.

A large proportion of children who enter kindergarten in Weld County do not have the skills and learning they need, and are behind before they even begin formal schooling. This stresses our education system, and our children. More licensed child care providers will help address this challenge.

When there is a shortage of licensed child care providers, it means parents who want child care for their children have a challenge finding the few available spots, especially for infants and toddlers. Sometimes it means one parent can’t go to work as they must stay home and care for and teach their child themselves.

When a child care provider is licensed, they can provide child care for other children, while staying at home with their own children. This means they can run their own business out of their home and earn money for their families.

There is a concentrated effort under way by United Way of Weld County and the Weld County Department of Human Services to recruit and train men and women who are interested in becoming a licensed child care provider. If you are interested in becoming a child care provider or know someone who might be, I encourage you to call United Way of Weld County’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral program or visit www.childcare4weld.net.