Feature

Childcare by the Numbers

February 2004

How one Denver nonprofit intends to fix Colorado childcare.

Ronit Hicks cried the first time she visited a daycare center for her son Kole. Like many parents, Hicks began her search while pregnant, and she entered the world of childcare armed only with a referral list of providers from social services and the opinions - good and bad - of her friends. The general lack of information on childcare, combined with the guilt of needing it in the first place, made the process a nightmare for this Congress Park mom.

 

"It was stressful. That guilt of being a mom and going back to work - the first time I visited a center I cried. I thought, 'Why am I doing this?' It seemed so institutional," says the 30-year-old Qwest marketing manager.

Hicks is by no means the first mother who has cried while looking for childcare. Fortunately, Educare Colorado, a Denver-based nonprofit, has invested $12 million dollars and the last six years working behind the scenes to make this gut-wrenching process a little easier for parents. And if its theories are correct, the effort will raise the bar for childcare across Colorado and potentially forever change the way parents such as Hicks shop for childcare.