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Early Childhood Education is expensive to provide for many reasons; childcare is regulated by the State of Colorado and must follow rules regarding staffing ratios and group size, and teacher qualifications for example that have a direct effect on the budget. Many programs work to improve the quality of their services by lower ratios and group size, or hiring more highly qualified teacher which also costs more money. In our resort area it is very difficult to be competitive in the job market and pay a living wage to staff. Programs also have rent or building expenses.
Kids First has Financial Aid available to working families who live or work in Aspen's Urban Growth Boundary, who use licensed childcare in Pitkin County and who meet the financial qualifications. You may find that application on this site or ask your childcare provider for one. We can also refer some families to other sources of childcare assistance with different qualifications; if you need some direction email or call us at 970-920-5363.
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You can contact us, or go online to find licensed childcare. On our home page click on the link to "find childcare ". If you are looking for care in a different region in Colorado go to Colorado Shines for information anywhere in Colorado. If you are looking for a different childcare arrangement such as an au pair, or babysitting while you are visiting Aspen, your best bet is the yellow pages or an online search for other services that are not licensed in Colorado.
Kids First and Aspen Family Connections have resources and materials that may help you talk to your employer about your childcare needs. Most employers do not realize how difficult it is for families with young children to maintain stability in both their home and work lives. You may also contact us by email or at 970-920-5363 and ask one of our staff about your particular concern. Most of us have been there and understand how challenging this time is for you.
Your first call should be to the director of the early childhood program you are concerned about. They are the person who can do something about the issue and most of them truly want to know your concerns. If you are not satisfied you may contact us about a concern you have; you may also want to call Colorado Childcare Licensing if it is a safety, abuse or neglect issue. Kids First may be reached at 970-920-5363 or email and to reach Colorado Division of Childcare - licensing call 1-800-799-5876.
Kids First has information and start up funding if you are interested in running your own business as a family childcare home provider. We welcome your questions, explain the benefits, and guide you through the steps necessary to become licensed. You may also call our local licensing specialist, Mark Lapka at 970-945-9191 ext. 3068 or email for more information and for information about the required pre-licensing training.