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Colorado launches emergency child care for those on the front lines of coronavirus — and it’s free for now

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A new effort to provide care for the children of thousands of hospital staff and emergency responders in Colorado kicked off Monday with around 900 children linked up with nearby child care providers.

The initiative covers a small slice of the tens of thousands of young children estimated to need care so their parents can work at essential jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, but leaders and participating child care providers say it represents an impressively fast response that will grow in the coming days.

State officials and more than a dozen early childhood groups spearheaded the emergency child care campaign last week after a wave of school and child care center closures set off fears that health professionals and first responders wouldn’t be able to do their jobs without a safe place to send their children.

Child care at the more than five dozen participating centers and licensed homes — most in the Denver metro area — is free for essential workers this week and next week because of funding from the state and several private companies and foundations. In future weeks, parents may be charged on a sliding-scale basis, but the details are in flux.
 
 
 
 
 
-Ann Schimke, Chalkbeat; photo Erin Einhorn
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