COLORADO SPRINGS — The forced shutdown of two childcare centers in Colorado Springs leaves a lot of families suddenly without a place for their kids while they go to work for the day. El Paso County's, Alliance for Kids is taking urgent measures to help. Jackie Florendo, Alliance for Kids, Council Coordinator, told her team to clear their schedules. “Let’s put together a plan on how we can offer additional support.”
The staff’s been working the phones contacting daycare providers near the impacted area. " Do you have any slots available? How many slots? What age is available? As well as the rating, how it rates to a quality rating." A list is being compiled and will go on the Alliance for Kids website. Parents can also sign up for one on one session for guidance and coaching on finding quality childcare.
Finding childcare in Colorado is tough. "There is a childcare crisis at this point and time,” said Alliance for Kids, Program Manager, Kelly Hurtado, “It's really statewide where there's limited access and affordability is a huge issue for families."
Hurtado, an early child development specialist says childcare is more than a place to drop-off kids.
"The quality of the interaction that happens during that time of a child’s life actually impacts the way their brain develops." The human brain grows fastest in the first five years.
So many people are looking for daycare, getting into a high tier center is difficult. "There can be extensive wait lists for high quality programs," said Hurtado. The issue is so challenging, legislation aimed at creating a strategy for improvement is in the works.
In the meantime, Alliance for Kids works as a resource. Guidance to parents on things like childcare, is also advocating for the future of kids.