Now the Things That Make You Go

Earlier today I wrote about how a survey of Eagle County voters showed that about 50 percent support an initiative to put $2 to $3 million by raising taxes into early childhood programs.

Now here’s more on why there is a need for these services in Eagle County.

Working parents of 2,916 children in Eagle County need care for their children while they’re at their jobs. But it’s hard to find good, licensed programs, where standards assure kids are safe. Only half of the need for child care for kids ages two to five is met in licensed centers. As many as 6,905 kids between the ages of six and nine need quality after-school care. Just a quarter of these children get it.

These are some of the conclusions of a year-long county assessment of the need for early childhood services in the County, which includes the towns of Vail, Eagle, Basalt, among others.“We took a comprehensive look and found that there was work to be done in many areas,” says Kathleen Forinash, director of Eagle County Health & Human Services.

There are many more findings. For example, early childhood intervention is proven to help at-risk kids do better. Yet county programs reach only 270 out of 2,214 kids who need such services.

Compounding the problem, as much as 25 percent of Eagle County households lack health insurance. While there are a sizable number of children in the county on Medicaid, there are few doctors who accept Medicaid payment. Twenty percent of pregnant women do not have access to prenatal care.

These somber facts and more are why voters will be deciding this November whether to put increased funding into early childcare.

[cross posted at]