Kerensa DeHerrera, right, is one of four child care workers at the Southwest Family YMCA who are part of Colorado's effort to provide free child care for emergency workers battling the coronavirus pandemic in the state. On March 24, about 18 kids are at this location, ranging from pre-school age to 12-years-old. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

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Thousands of Colorado child care providers can receive grants of $1,000 or $3,000 under a new state program meant to help the child care sector survive the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.


The grant program, funded with $9 million in federal coronavirus relief money, will unfold in two rounds, with the first set of awards going out in late August or early September. The initial round will be open to any of the state’s 4,500 licensed child care providers that are currently operating. That includes providers who serve babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children, but not those who run overnight camps.

There is no grant application, but providers must update their information in a state-run online registry to receive a grant. Providers whose programs can serve around 100 children or more will receive $3,000 grants, while those with fewer slots will receive $1,000 grants. The grant amount is based on providers’ capacity, not their current enrollment.

In addition to the money, grant recipients will be connected to their local business development center for training or other assistance. Erin Mewhinney, director of early care and learning at the Colorado Department of Human Services, said such centers are often the first to know details about paycheck protection loans and other resources that can help child care providers overcome financial woes.

The goal, she said, is “to create somewhat of a support system around these small businesses as much as we can.”


Senior reporter — Chalkbeat Colorado. Email: Twitter: @annschimke