City of Steamboat Springs aims to create more child care centers
To learn more about starting a licensed, home-based child care center, call Sharon Butler of the Child Care Network at 970-879-7330.
Steamboat Springs — Community members who want to start home-based child care centers in the Steamboat Springs area will soon be able to access a lot more financial help to get their businesses going.
Concerned about the lack of child care capacity here, the city of Steamboat Springs is investing $20,000 in a project aimed at increasing capacity by making it easier for people to start licensed home-based child care centers.
City officials see the home-based centers as the quickest way to increase capacity in a city where dozens of parents are stuck on waiting lists to get their children and infants into existing centers.
With the city’s investment, the maximum reimbursement for startup costs at the centers will increase from $500 to $5,000.
“I would encourage people to think of this as a business opportunity,” government programs manager Winnie DelliQuadri said of the home-based centers.
Startup costs for home-based centers include such things as licensing costs, fingerprinting, background checks, training and child-safety modifications for the home.
These costs can range from $3,000 to $5,000.
The home capacity building project is being overseen by the Child Care Network and First Impressions of Routt County.
The city administration decided to invest in the child care program after results from recent community and business surveys showed access to child care is an issue.
Only 17 percent of community respondents said the access to affordable, quality child care and preschool in Steamboat was good or excellent.
The city’s investment in the program could help create an additional four home-based centers in the Steamboat area.
If the investment sees results, city officials said more money could go toward the program in the future.
Each center can host up to eight children, including two under the age of two.
In order to receive city funding, the home-care center must accommodate some children under the age of two.
Parents of this age group are currently having an especially difficult time finding care in the city.
Kim Martin, director of Young Tracks child care center, said there are currently about 20 parents on the center’s waiting list seeking care for their infants.
“Some of the people on our list have been on it since last February when they were pregnant,” she said. “We also have wait lists for every age group. We’re really in a crisis, and we need to look at some alternative ways to help these families.”
GrandKids Child Care Center at Yampa Valley Medical Center also is full.
Because of the lack of open spots, the waiting list there is limited to hospital employees.
Director Joyce Delancey said 17 hospital employees are currently waiting to get their infants into the center.
“It’s a record, I think,” she said.
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