DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed two bills into law that will help Colorado families save money on child care.
SB22-213, sponsored by Senator Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, and Representatives Alex Valdez, D-Denver and Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood, will boost Colorado’s economy and make it easier for families to access child care by increasing provider capacity across the state and better developing and training the early childhood professional workforce to provide high quality care to our youngest Coloradans
“The pandemic exposed glaring gaps in our state’s child care system, and it’s hurting Colorado’s families and our economy,” Fields said. “Increasing our state’s child care capacity and helping more folks train for jobs in the child care field will allow us to provide critical support for working families across Colorado who have been doing their best to make sure their children have a safe place to learn and grow during the workday.”
“By boosting funding for child care providers, we’ll create more child care options for parents, save families money and help people get back to work,” Valdez said. “Not only will this help parents, but it will help Colorado’s employers as well as they deal with workforce shortages and rising costs. This law is great news for families with young children, child care providers and small businesses across Colorado.”
“Child care is one of the largest costs families have to deal with, and many of us juggle between multiple providers to find reliable care for our kids,” Tipper said. “Too many families cannot go back to work because they simply can’t afford child care or cannot find a provider to care for their children. This new law will boost our state’s child care capacity and builds on our work to make child care more affordable and available for families across our state.”
The law directs $50 million in federal economic relief funds to boost child care capacity, including providing $16 million in grant funding to open a new child care center or expand capacity at an existing licensed childcare facility. It also invests $10 million to support the employer-based child care facility grant program, which will help business owners and other employers provide convenient, high-quality child care on-site while parents are at work.
SB22-213 also adds $15 million to a successful workforce recruitment and retention grant program, and provides $7.5 million to support and train license-exempt informal caregivers working with young children in their communities.
Polis also signed HB22-1010, a bipartisan bill championed by Senators Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, and Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-Weld County, and Representatives Emily Sirota, D-Denver, and Tonya Van Beber, R-Weld County, which creates the early childhood educator tax credit to help save early childhood educators money and encourage new providers to enter the field.
“Colorado currently does not have enough early childhood educators, which limits options for parents and makes it more expensive to provide care to our youngest learners,” Sirota said. “This law will save educators money and create an incentive to enter the early childhood education profession. By attracting more educators and working to retain the teachers we already have, this law will lower the cost of early childhood care and help parents get back to work.”
“Early childhood educators are among the lowest paid professionals in every state, including Colorado,” said Buckner. “As the demand for quality early childhood educators rapidly increases, we must do all we can to ensure it is a viable, attractive career path for Coloradans, and this new law will do just that.”
Boosting pay for the child care workforce and making the profession more sustainable will expand child care options in Colorado and ultimately lower the cost of child care. Child care providers are facing significant workforce challenges as workers leave the field for higher paying, less stressful jobs.