Thoughtful Parenting: Help exists to offset child care expenses
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Every child deserves the best start in life. Research shows 90% of all brain growth occurs by the age of 5. High quality early childhood care and education experiences increase the likelihood that a child will succeed in school, get better grades and graduate from high school.
Early childhood care that provides a nurturing, enriching environment also improves social and emotional skills and helps children develop into healthy, successful adults. Parents should have access to inclusive, family-centered, early education options that best meet the needs of their child. Without dependable and affordable care, parents cannot be a part of the vital workforce in our community.
However, the reality is that child care is expensive, especially in Routt County. Now more than ever, parents are struggling to afford the basic costs of living, and child care expenses continue to grow. Fortunately, there is help available to eligible local families to help offset these costs.
First Impressions of Routt County serves as the community’s early childhood council and works to ensure that young children will be provided adequate resources and quality programs to promote healthy development and school readiness. Tuition assistance is available for children who are already enrolled or eligible for enrollment in a participating, licensed, child care center, family child care home or preschool program in Routt County. The amount of potential assistance is determined by a variety of factors, including gross monthly income, child care costs, the number of child care days needed and the number of children in care.
Tuition assistance is paid directly to the child care center/provider on behalf of approved families. This funding is limited to working families who are not eligible for the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program. The child care provider must also accept CCCAP funding and participate in First Impressions’ programming.
Before applying for First Impressions tuition assistance, parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Routt County Department of Human Services at 970-870-5280 to determine their eligibility for CCCAP. If they are not eligible for CCCAP, parents may then apply online at routtcounty.smapply.io.
High quality early childhood care and education has a tremendous impact on the lives of children and prepares them not only for school but also teaches valuable life skills. The inability for parents to afford this valuable experience should never be a barrier.
For more information on tuition assistance and other early childhood resources, please contact First Impressions of Routt County at 970-870-5270.
Angela Pleshe is the program leader for First Impressions. She has been a member of the Early Childhood Council for many years, served as a co-chair for the Child Health Advocacy Team, was a licensed home child care provider, and most importantly, is the mother of two children, ages 12 and 17.
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