The Chaffee County Early Childhood Council will focus on the State Action Plan to increase licensed child care home providers and infant childcare. The 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 meeting at the Salida Middle School Library 520 Milford St., Salida will be open to the public.

“This is an opportunity for families to influence state policy and increase Chaffee County access to infant care and licensed home childcare,” said Chaffee County Early Childhood Council Coordinator Janine Pryor, MS. “Senate Bill 63 requires the Colorado Department of Human Services, in consultation with local stakeholders, to create a State Action Plan to increase licensed home providers and infant childcare. This is a critical need in this county.”

The lack of childcare, especially infant childcare, has been identified as one of the more critical needs in the county, along with the lack of affordable housing and living-wage jobs. The combination of the three issues is said to be affecting the ability of young families to find a way to continue to live in Chaffee County.

Pryor said that during that meeting, the Chaffee County Early Childhood Council will outline the barriers to infant and family childcare options in Chaffee County. They include childcare licensing, local regulations such as zoning and building codes, and workforce challenges, including business development and training. The session will also discuss public perceptions about childcare and whether or not there is a ‘public will’ to increase childcare availability for the general public good.

Senate Bill 63 requirements and processes are recapped here:  www.leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-063

A light meal will be provided for the meeting. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP at your earliest convenience to JPryor@ccecc.org.