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State will pay for essential workers' child care


Last updated 4/1/2020 at 2:04pm

The State of Colorado is offering financial assistance to essential workers who are finding themselves needing child care while schools and other providers are closed due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide executive order, titled “Ordering Coloradans to Stay at Home Due to the Presence of COVID-19 in the State,” which took effect on March 26.

Exempted from this order are those workers critical to fighting COVID-19 and helping Coloradans during this time, including health care workers, public safety, sanitation, grocery workers, child care providers, educators and more.

With the closure of schools and many child care facilities across Colorado, workers employed in these essential fields face the added challenge of finding care for their children while they work through these unprecedented times.

Recognizing the need for child care for essential workers, Polis called together a group of early childhood providers, advocacy groups, school districts and foundations to partner with Gary Community Investments and the Colorado Department of Human Services to establish a system of emergency child care. With generous support from Centura Health and the Buell Foundation, the Emergency Child Care Collaborative began on March 23, supporting the families of health care providers, public safety personnel, and staff supporting critically at-risk populations.

The Collaborative announced that, beginning immediately, the state will extend a full tuition credit to all essential workers identified in Updated Public Health Order 20-24 issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This 100 percent tuition credit will provide child care to all essential workers until May 17. The list of essential workers who will be covered by this care, as outlined in the order, includes:

Health Care Operations

Critical Infrastructure

Critical Manufacturing

Critical Retail

Critical Services

News Media

Financial Institutions

Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations



Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses

Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services

“We know that this global pandemic is putting an unprecedented strain on Colorado’s health care and emergency workers. More than 80,000 of our emergency workers have children under age 8, and without child care, many of these workers will not be able to perform the jobs that are most crucial to containing the spread of the virus,” said Gov. Polis. “I thank this group of childhood providers, advocacy groups, school districts and foundations for their partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services and Gary Community Investments to establish a system of emergency child care for our workers on the frontlines of this crisis.”

Care through the Collaborative is provided by licensed child care providers across Colorado. It is important for families to note that the supply of care is limited, and if they can utilize other care, or are able to work from home, they should do so. Emergency child care provided through the Collaborative is for when all other care settings have been exhausted and families have no other options.

Families interested in being matched with a local child care provider can fill out the interest form at Families can fill out this form immediately to begin the matching process.

Families who need help in identifying child care and aren’t in need of financial assistance can also reach out to Colorado Shines Child Care Referral for assistance, through any of the below methods:;

Phone (toll free): 1-877-338-CARE (2273);

Email [email protected];

Text “child care referrals” to 898-211.

Complete the child care online intake form at


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