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Free childcare guaranteed to all essential workers in Colorado through May 17

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Posted at 11:51 AM, Mar 30, 2020

DENVER — All essential workers will have the opportunity to get free child care through May 17, according to an announcement Monday morning by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).

On Monday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced that the state will extend a full, 100% tuition credit to anybody defined as an essential worker in the Colorado stay-at-home public health order.

The new Emergency Child Care Collaborative, which officially began on March 23, is available to any essential worker who needs help with child care.

Essential workers are identified those who work in health care, public safety, sanitation, groceries, child care, and education, among other industries.

Because schools and many child care facilities across Colorado have closed, workers in those fields now must find care for their children while they continue to work. In response to this hardship, Polis called multiple early childhood providers, advocacy groups, school districts and foundations to partner with Gary Community Investments and the Colorado Department of Human Services.

Together, they established a system of emergency child care for those in need. With the added support of Centura Health and the Buell Foundation, the Emergency Child Care Collaborative was born.

Through this collaborative, families can receive free licensed child care across the state.

According to the CDHS, there is limited availability, so anybody who can use other forms of child care or can work from home with their child should do so. Emergency Child Care Collaborative was created for those who have exhausted other avenues, are in need of financial help and don’t have any other options. Those who wish to use this service can fill out a form by clicking here.

“We know that this global pandemic is putting an unprecedented strain on Colorado’s health care and emergency workers,” Polis said. “More than 80,000 of our emergency workers have children under age 8, and without child care, many of these workers will not be able to perform the jobs that are most crucial to containing the spread of the virus.”

If you don't need financial assistance but would like help finding child care, you can contact Colorado Shines Child Care Referral for help by visiting their website, calling 1-877-338-2273, emailing childcarereferrals@unitedwaydenver.org, texting “child care referrals” to 898-211 or completing this form on United Way Denver’s website.

Polis announced last week that he wanted to prioritize child care for critical workers.