Day-care money helps ski country families |

Day-care money helps ski country families

Lory Pounder
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Mark Fox/Summit DailyAris Stroeve entertains herself with abook in her preschool class at the Carriage House Learning Center, a day-care facility in Breckenridge.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado ” Before being awarded a child-care scholarship from the town of Breckenridge, Karen and Kevin Esposito considered rearranging their schedules to reduce the days their daughter spent at a day care center.

“It’s hard when you’re here and you’re trying to work and raise a family,” said Karen Esposito.

The Espositos just moved into a house and want to settle into raising a family in Breckenridge, but the cost of child care is something that could force them to move away, officials said.

Throughout the past year, the town has been working on childcare initiatives, and recently the first couple rounds of scholarships were awarded.

For the Espositos’ daughter, Isabelle, who is 21 months old, it means she gets to go to Little Red a couple days a week.

“She learns so much there,” said Karen Esposito.

The scholarship program kicked off a couple months ago. In the first round, 21 families applied and eight were granted scholarships. The second round that came through in January is still being reviewed, and three more rounds of applications will be accepted in March, June and September, officials said.

Some of the families who applied for scholarships did not qualify because they did not live and work in Breckenridge, which is one of the elements of the program the town plans to monitor, said Laurie Best, town planner.

In 2006, the Breckenridge Town Council began investigating the availability and affordability of quality child care in the community. What they found was that there was not enough room, staff turnover was high and facilities relied heavily on fundraising to meet daily expenses, Best said.

Marcy and Jason Neerhof have a 14-month-old daughter, Merrick, who attends Carriage House. They were one of the first few families to receive a child-care scholarship, which, they said, is going to help them save for their daughter’s future.

“It made sense for me and my husband to keep working. … It’s so expensive to live here, but we live in such an amazing place,” Marcy Neerhof said.

She believes the child care initiatives the town has taken will help people stay.

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