Eagle & Gypsum Childcare | VailDaily.com

Eagle & Gypsum Childcare

Cindy Ramunno
Students from Eagle Valley High School work with kids from Red Hill Preschool.
Special to the Enterprise |

Anyone who has ever parented an infant or toddler in Eagle County knows how hard it is to find good day care.

Likewise, anyone who has ever been in charge of a day care facility, understands the difficulties of keeping good workers and paying them what they are worth.

Although there are options for infant and toddler day care in Eagle and Gypsum, it’s always a struggle for those who are seeking, and those who are providing that care.

“Consistent with the trends we continue to see in the state, Eagle County child care programs continue to struggle with attempting to keep the cost of child care as affordable as possible for working families, while attempting to achieve the highest possible quality of care, which comes at a cost,” said council coordinator for the Rural Resort Region Eagle Childhood Council Liz McGillvray. “The business model is not sustainable, and the dichotomy continues to threaten the existence of numerous child care centers in Eagle County. Child care tuition seldom covers operating costs of child care centers.”

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Infant/toddler care in short supply

Infant and toddler care are tough to come by in the lower end of the valley. The cost is usually high, yet childcare providers are by no means showing huge profits – if they are profiting at all.

Many of Eagle and Gypsum’s child care facilities are fighting to stay open. Barbara Hogoboom, who works with an Eagle facility, says it’s a difficult issue in the lower valley.

“Like many of the centers, we are struggling with retaining staff and making ends meet, even though child care rates are out-of-sight for the families who have to pay to have their children watched,” said Hogoboom.

The on-going child care crisis for the younger bunch is an issue that Eagle County is constantly monitoring. Through Eagle County Economic Services, the county administers the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).

“The CCAP is a financial assistance program that helps pay a portion of child care costs for low income families,” said Megan Burch, economic services manager for the Eagle County Department of Human Services. In addition, the various local agencies are constantly working together to provide the very best for Eagle County kids. For example, the county and the council recently came together to win a lucrative, competitive grant.

Eagle County and some of its municipalities have attempted to address the issue with providing space for child care centers rent-free. But that isn’t always enough. In addition, the regional Early Childhood Council continues to actively seek funding opportunities to provide quality improvement dollars for programs, and Eagle County continues to work with the state to find ways to provide tuition assistance for working families, and stipends for programs achieving high quality standards.

“Currently, there are a variety of agencies and individuals collaborating about the need for both operational dollars and quality improvement dollars to keep child care centers open, and able to provide the quality of care that every child deserves to assure healthy development,” said McGillvray. “If we lose child care programs in the community, our work force will undoubtedly suffer.”

For more information on early childhood resources in Eagle County, visit http://www.earlychildhoodnet.org or rrrecc@mtnvalley.org.

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