Kids First awards child-care funds |

Kids First awards child-care funds

Aspen Times Staff Report

Kids First, a city department that aids local child-care programs and the families that use them, has made plans to allocate its $454,649 budget for 2001.

The funds are generated by the city’s affordable housing/day care sales tax. Revenues from the tax help support child-care operations and capital expenses, a financial aid program for working parents, teacher education, technical assistance for early childhood educators and parent education. Money also goes to child-care resource and referral services.

The 2001 grants appropriated to early childhood education programs include: $12,811 to The Early Childhood Center; $89,155 to The Early Learning Center; $22,844 for Growing Years; $72,851 to Little Feet; $19,271 for the Little Red Schoolhouse; and $7,700 to the Wildwood School.

In addition, the tuition assistance program will receive $96,163 in 2001. In 2000, the program helped more than 60 families afford child care. Parents may apply for tuition assistance at the Kids First office or through the child-care providers before the Feb. 1, 2001, deadline.

A grant for $18,200 for staff development will go to the Provider’s Network, which represents every licensed center and home program in Pitkin County.

Additional funds will provide playground equipment at the Yellow Brick School, technical assistance, parent resources and referral services provided by Kids First staff.

Since 1990, the city of Aspen has helped to provide adequate funding for early childhood care and education. As a result, according to the city, working parents know that their children are in good care while they are on the job; employers of parents with young children benefit by having employees who can do their jobs without worrying about their child care; and the community benefits from the long-term outcomes of improved school success rates among children who attend high-quality early childhood programs.

For more information, contact Shirley Ritter, director of Kids First, at or 920-5363.

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