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Entries in Denver (1)

Monday
Oct082018

NW Aurora Child Care Co-op Pilot Proposed

Many families in Northwest Aurora are unable to take advantage of nearby employment opportunities with starting hourly wages as much as $14 an hour because they cannot find affordable local child care. Or any child care at all.  A coalition of non-profit organizations, including the Colfax Aurora Community Organization (‘Fax Aurora), wants to change that.


Proposed Project:  The development, launch and sustained operation of a child care providers’ cooperative pilot in Northwest Aurora (Yosemite St. to the west, E. 25th Ave. to the north, Peoria St. to the east, and E. Colfax Ave. to the south). The NW Aurora Child Care Co-Op Pilot aims to develop a successful, high quality, child care cooperative business model that will address the significant shortage of licensed child care services in Northwest Aurora (where several census tracts have been identified in the area as “child care deserts,” being that there is limited access to any child care). The majority of licensed child care in Metro Denver is provided by limited center care, which is costly and can be inconvenient with long waiting lists.


Cost is a substantial factor, especially for families residing in the proposed pilot area served (described below).  Oftentimes, families have to choose between cost and regulated care, resulting in less than ideal early childhood learning environments. We know that early learning experiences for children under the age of 5 are directly correlated with kindergarten readiness and The Colorado READ Act.  If this pilot is successful, we feel the outcome will increase school readiness for Aurora’s youngest residents, ages birth to 5 years old; and can be adjusted for use in similar urban and suburban areas of the state, and with some modifications to also be replicated in rural Colorado and the Western Slope.


Description of the Area To Be Served:  Northwest Aurora, with a population of almost 30,000 people (all within zip code 80010), is the most diverse area of Aurora with a large immigrant and refugee population (for example, there are more than 120 first-languages spoken in the local schools), and with 36% of the population at or below the Federal Poverty Level.  The population is approximately 55% Latino, 20% African-American and African immigrant, 20% white, and 5% other, significantly Asian-Pacific.


Participating Non-Profit Organizations:  Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Foundation, The Community Wealth-Building Network, Small Business Majority, Community-Campus Partnership, and the Colfax Aurora Community Organization.


Family Self-Sufficiency:  To develop a successful, high quality, child care providers’ cooperative to address the significant shortage of licensed child care services in Northwest Aurora, the solution has to be rooted in the local community. Cultivating a hyper local, affordable option for high quality child care, will allow more immigrant and refugee women, as well as other low-income women, to find employment and contribute towards family self-sufficiency. (There are significant employment opportunities in the immediate area with starting hourly wages nearly 50% greater than the state’s minimum wage because of the demand and competition for unskilled labor, including the three major hospitals on the Fitzsimons medical campus immediately east of the pilot area, in addition to an array of other businesses close to the medical campus, like the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Conference Center, numerous smaller hotels, and the soon-to-open Gaylord Resort to the northwest.)


The Providers:  Through the use of economies of scale and shared services in the co-op model, costs for individual licensed child care operators can be reduced, and the process to start and operate high quality, profitable child care services less complicated. It is the nature of the cooperative model to bring people together to meet common needs and for community benefit.  Each participating co-op member will be a part of the co-op’s board where they will engage in working with each other in a democratic manner to create the rules governing the co-op; collaborate in the governance of the co-op; to resolve challenges that arise; and to mutually support one other.