Steamboat Springs Many consider the hugs of small children a bonus for child-care workers, but last week they received a much-appreciated cash bonus.
Sixty-seven full-time child-care providers at licensed centers and home day-care centers in Routt County received a $283 bonus check from First Impressions of Routt County, a local early childhood care organization. The $20,000 grant from the state of Colorado was earmarked specifically for the wage bonuses, according to First Impressions Chairwoman Nancy Stahoviak.
"The thing it does is that it acknowledges those individuals and tells them that what they do, which is care for and educate our children, is very, very important. Our children are the future," Stahoviak said.
Joyce Delancey, co-director of Grandkids Childcare Center, said the employees truly appreciated the bonus.
"It was a great morale booster; it was very appreciated," she said. "I think it gives people hope that the community is aware that child-care providers are paid very low wages. It makes a difference."
This is the second bonus the child-care providers have received, Stahoviak said. Earlier this year, First Impressions received a $40,000 grant and gave each provider about $500, she said.
Routt County is a pilot child-care community as part of the Consolidated Child Care Pilots, created by the Children's Campaign of Colorado to help counties address issues related to child care. This allows the county to apply for these grants, Stahoviak said.
"It's nice to see the state acknowledge that this is important," Stahoviak said.
She said that one of First Impressions' short- and long-term goals is the issue of improving conditions and wages for child-care providers.
Stahoviak said the next grant First Impressions will apply for may help subsidize slots for children in day-care centers. "We're trying to help show the community that we think this is important," she said.
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