Colorado is using more than half the $42 million it received in federal early childhood relief money to cushion child care providers from the coronavirus pandemic’s full financial blow, especially those who serve children from low-income families.
While a good share of the money has already been spent, up to $9 million will be used for a program set to roll out in August that will award sustainability grants to child care providers. Another $1.4 million will be used to hire mental health specialists tasked with helping providers serve children returning to care with anxiety, trauma, or other challenges.
Several early childhood advocates praised the state’s plan for spending the $42 million, saying it addresses the most urgent needs using a variety of strategies. But they also warned that the money — part of a $3.5 billion pot of federal COVID stimulus money for early childhood efforts nationwide — won’t be enough to sustain the state’s fragile child care industry long term.
-Ann Schimke, Chalkbeat Colorado