Bipartisan bill seeks to invest $100 million in Colorado’s child care industry | Legislature

As Colorado struggles through an unprecedented child care shortage, state lawmakers seek to invest $100 million into the industry with a new bipartisan bill.

Introduced on Tuesday, Senate Bill 213 would use $50 million of economic recovery and relief money and another possible $50 million in federal funds to pay for staffing, training and expansion of child care facilities. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee is scheduled to consider the bill on Monday.

Bill sponsor Rep. Kerry Tipper said rising child care costs and shrinking availability have made life extremely difficult for Colorado parents, including herself. The Lakewood Democrat said the financial burden of child care has led her to question the feasibility of her political career.

“I thought it’s not worth it for me to be in the legislature because I barely make the money that I need to cover child care,” Tipper said. “I know that a lot of women feel that.”

In Colorado, an average family with two young children spends $28,600 — or 14% of their income — on child care annually, according to federal data. Single parents fare even worse, paying on average 49.5% of their income on infant child care at Colorado centers, according to a Child Care Aware of America report.

Some families can’t find child care at all. In Colorado, 51% of residents live in “child care deserts” where there are more than three times as many children as there are licensed child care slots, according to Mile High United Way.

Access to child care is a priority of the Polis…

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