B.O.L.D. Bites | Healthier Colorado’s Parents Survey Highlights Childcare Needs

March 24, 2024

By Tess McShane, Director of Housing & Childcare

The B.O.L.D. 2026 Childcare Initiative seeks to increase childcare capacity to enable caregivers to join or re-join the workforce. It is estimated that families lose approximately $78 billion annually and small businesses lose $23 billion annually due to unstable and unaffordable childcare across the county.

Healthier Colorado, in partnership with Open Answer and the Colorado Gives Foundation recently surveyed 423 Jefferson County parents on their experiences with childcare. The report helped to explain the critical challenge so many Jefferson County parents face: the current childcare capacity leads to limited access and higher costs, resulting in parents making significant financial and employment sacrifices. 

  • 65% of families rely on non-parental childcare arrangements such as childcare centers, family childcare homes, grandparents, friends, or neighbors, while 35% of children are cared for by a parent.
  • One-third of families noted that they are not using their preferred childcare arrangement, and one in five parents reported utilizing a combination of childcare options for their child.
  • When asked about the most important factors in selecting a childcare arrangement, respondents most commonly cited cost, quality rating, and proximity to home.
  • Childcare-related issues led more than half of parents with children in external care to utilize paid leave to take time off work, while 31% reported having taken unpaid leave at some point to care for their child.
  • The majority of respondents typically spend over 10% of their household’s monthly income on childcare, with 20% paying between 25-50% and 4% paying more than 50%.
  • 38% of respondents stated that a lack of childcare hindered their pursuit of employment or educational opportunities in the past year, and 17% mentioned resorting to parental childcare due to unavailability of spots anywhere.

There are numerous additional findings that highlight the need to increase support for working families in Jefferson County who have difficulty accessing affordable, quality childcare. These findings continue to show the importance of regional coordination and collaboration to increase childcare capacity and access for working families in Jefferson County. 

“Creating a childcare system that meets the needs of parents at all income levels is good for kids, parents, and employers as well. It is time to make this investment for the sake of Colorado’s families and our economy.”

– Jake Williams, Healthier Colorado CEO

1. Advocate for increased investments in early childhood programs at the federal, state, and local levels

Working together at the local, regional, and state levels to enhance public awareness and education involves collaboration with businesses, childcare providers, employers, coalition leaders, and other partners. The aim is to establish a robust coalition of supporters and foster strategic partnerships to advocate for increased investment in early childhood programs.

2. Increase support for Family-Friend-Neighbor (FFN) and other unlicensed childcare providers 

Jefferson County is categorized as a “child-care desert,” with only one available spot for every three or more needed to adequately meet the childcare demands in the region. To address this shortage, it’s crucial to enhance support for unlicensed providers, such as Family, Friend, and Neighbor caregivers. By bolstering assistance to these caregivers, we can effectively expand childcare capacity and empower them to deliver high-quality childcare services. This approach not only helps alleviate the childcare shortage but also ensures that families have access to reliable and nurturing care options for their children.

3. Improve access to the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) for under resourced working families and parents in school/job training programs

According to their report, Healthier Colorado revealed that the childcare burden disproportionately affects lower-income and working families. Moreover, there exists a disparity in resources and awareness regarding CCCAP (Colorado Child Care Assistance Program) supports, which could otherwise facilitate families’ access to affordable, high-quality childcare and alleviate the financial strain on households in the area.

Healthier Colorado’s report helps to provide more context and understanding to the childcare burden working parents experience in our region. Healthier Colorado is also currently conducting a survey for childcare providers on their needs and experience providing childcare. A link to the full Jeffco Parents Survey report is available here.

The Arvada Chamber’s B.O.L.D. 2026 Childcare Initiative is a vital endeavor aimed at empowering business leaders to tackle pressing issues, such as the childcare burden that our workforce grapples with daily. By alleviating this burden, we aim to diminish workforce challenges faced by regional businesses. Our initiative is multifaceted, focusing on raising awareness, advocating for change, and devising strategic solutions within the business community to mitigate the childcare crisis.

Through collaborative efforts with key childcare partners, we are bridging the gap between the childcare and business sectors, fostering dialogue, and driving collective action toward viable solutions. However, our work is far from over, and we need dedicated individuals to join us in this critical mission. Become a B.O.L.D. Childcare Champion today and support this effort to create a more supportive and sustainable childcare landscape for our workforce and businesses alike. Together, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of families and the prosperity of our community.


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