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The average cost of center-based care for children ages 0-5 is nearly $1,200 per month per child in Larimer County. For many families that amount is simply not possible. At United Way of Larimer County, we believe investing in children is not only the right thing to do, it is also the best way to ensure a strong community and healthy local economy. This month, we spoke with an in-home child care provider about the importance of early education.
When Cheryle Moser began caring for children in her Loveland home nearly 40 years ago, she did not realize that her career would touch the lives of hundreds of families. Since the birth of her second daughter, she has provided licensed care to children ages 0-5, opening her doors as early as 4 a.m. to meet the diverse needs in her community. Many of the families are grandparents raising grandchildren. Others are single parents with limited incomes.
Moser typically has a full roster of children and rarely sees turnover as she not only provides loving, high-quality care but also accepts payment through the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP). However, many families do not qualify for CCCAP as they earn just over the income limit and are responsible for full tuition they often cannot afford. One mother with a child in Moser’s care worked tirelessly to achieve self-sufficiency only to decline a well-earned pay raise at work to keep her childcare benefits.
When asked what motivates Moser to continue her work long after her own children have grown, she responds, “The kids and the need for consistent care.” As humble as she is kind, she repeatedly notes that all people in our community providing child care should be recognized as the heroes they are.
Some of her favorite moments are when former students knock on her door as full-grown adults and enroll their own children in her care or when she notices a developmental issue in a child and makes a referral for screening services. Parents have told her that her care has completely changed the course of their child’s life. Moser smiles modestly, “All of the kids are one little family here.”
Through generous community donations, United Way of Larimer County has more than quadrupled its investment in childcare access and affordability over the last five years. All donations made to the Larimer Child Care Fund are eligible for the Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit. This credit allows individuals and businesses to claim a 50% state income tax credit for qualified contributions. Visit www.uwaylc.org/ChildcareFund to learn more.