Childcare in Colorado
By Jane Goey
On the heels of an Economic Policy Institute survey that found childcare for babies in Colorado costs 60% more than public university tuition, MyVillage has announced that it will give away a year of free, high-quality childcare to a deserving family, valued at more than $13,000.
MyVillage is a Colorado-based in-home childcare startup that is harnessing the power of community to create exceptional care for every child. The company seeks parent stories about the struggle to find adequate childcare through a video contest that runs until August 26. Visit myvillage.com/freechildcare to nominate a Colorado family or submit your own story by uploading a one-minute video.
Catherine Bishop is a parent who submitted a video to the contest. Bishop struggled to find affordable, quality care for her son from infancy until preschool.
“It was so much harder than it should be,” Bishop said. “It is like a Jenga puzzle for busy parents as they try to figure out all the enrollment dates and time windows that are out there, and you have to cobble so many pieces together to try and make it work.”
“During the stressful back-to-school season, most working Colorado parents are piecing together childcare but facing wait lists that are one to two years long and costs that are among the highest in the nation,” said MyVillage co-founder Elizabeth Szymanski, who lives on the Front Range. “Colorado businesses face lower productivity and struggle to find employees when one parent is forced to stay home due to the cost and quality.”
Szymanski and co-founder and CEO Erica Mackey personally experienced the struggle to find high quality, affordable care when their babies were born. The company has helped about 70 home-based educators across two states launch thriving, high quality childcare businesses that can earn 30-50% more than the national average for childcare workers.
Parents seeking the advantages of smaller, home-based programs no longer have to sacrifice quality for affordability thanks to MyVillage’s educators being fully trained, certified and licensed through the company.
Childcare supply is especially low among certain populations in Colorado, including 53 percent of rural families, and among low-income families. Of placements that do exist, less than 10% are considered high quality.
MyVillage is a Frontiers of Innovation partner at the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard, leveraging the knowledge of early childhood experts to provide ten child-led, research-backed curricula to all MyVillage educators. Educators also receive front- and back-office tools like accounting, marketing and scheduling to make it easy to launch and run an in-home child care program. Personalized support and guidance from the nation’s best early childhood educators help new providers along the path to becoming a licensed provider, increasing supply to meet demand.
“We hope the video contest will bring more attention to the need for high quality, affordable childcare for the average family in Colorado and beyond,” Szymanski said.