MyVillage Toolkit Aims to Help Cities, Counties to Expand Child Care
Policy recommendations include ways to aligning local code with state licensing
DENVER (Oct. 20, 2020) — To address Colorado’s shortage of infant and toddler care, MyVillage has released a “Local Government Toolkit” that offers policy recommendations that local elected officials can pursue without waiting for the Colorado Assembly to take action.
The toolkit builds off of the Assembly’s 2019 directive, known as Senate Bill 63, that commissioned a study of why child care is so costly and hard to access for Coloradans. A major finding was that local regulations can pose challenges to creating new supply of licensed, home-based child care, particularly where they are in conflict with state rules.
“Home-based, or family home educators are essential to providing quality child care for young learners across Colorado,” said Elizabeth Szymanski, co-founder and Head of Operations & Finance at MyVillage. “Even when these small business owners are fully licensed by the state and ready to accept children into their programs, local governments may deny them the ability to operate because of local zoning ordinances that are out of step with what the state requires.”
The MyVillage toolkit recommends treating licensed home-based child care programs, which serve no more than six to 12 children, as residences instead of businesses. This designation allows them to bypass the International Building Code, which recommends installing sprinkler systems and other measures inappropriate for a home-based setting.
“A city council wouldn’t ask a family with six children to install commercial-level sprinklers that cost upwards of $60,000,” Szymanski said. “It’s important that the state and localities work together to solve the shared problem of affordable access to quality early education in Colorado.”
MyVillage’s policy work is supported by Gary Community Investments. In July, Gov. Jared Polis signed into law the bipartisan Senate Bill 126, which allows licensed home-based child care in communities governed by a homeowners association. The bill was spearheaded by MyVillage and more than 20 other early childhood education advocacy organizations.
Download the toolkit here.
MyVillage was founded by two moms on a mission to harness the power of community to create exceptional care for every child. With hundreds of members across the nation, MyVillage helps people start and operate high quality, affordable home-based early education programs. Learn more at www.myvillage.com.