Daycare Dilema

I got a call from a lady today, who is looking to move to Durango in the next two years and is already trying to find daycare and pre-schools in the area. She doesn’t even live here, and she is already searching. This may sound crazy, but actually makes a lot of sense when you understand the facts about daycare in Durango:

There are an estimated 1500 children under the age of five in La Plata County and only 271 daycare slots for kids under 3 years old. It makes u wonder….. how the hell are parents are working full time jobs in this situation?

LB is going to turn a year old tomorrow. Most people have a waiting list that are about a year to 2 years. Some people even have 3 YEAR WAITING LISTS. The kids will be in school before they can even get accepted! My current childcare provider has children on her waiting list who aren’t even born yet.

I just began my job at the school district a month ago. How did I find childcare, do you ask? LUCK. DUMB LUCK- and honestly, besides the whole “get them on the list while en-utero philosophy” there really isn’t any other choice.

My first lucky break was that the job I applied for happened to be well connected to the Head Start/Early Head Start offices. So I was emailed a list of EVERY childcare provider in La Plata County. I started crossing out the ones that didn’t take babies under 12 months and was left with about 18 home care and 21 centers. I started with the ones my friends recommended. Got on their 2 year waiting lists.

Since I am a single mother, and at that point, only working part time, I went to department of Human Services and filled out the Colorado Childcare Assistance Program application. If you qualify, you get a substantial discount on your daycare cost.

The average day care here costs about $30/day which is ok, I guess. I haven’t done the national research on that one. That expense turns out to be $150/week or $600/month, give or take a few days. That is something that I DEFINITELY cannot afford right now. So I filled out the application, which took about a month to complete in full. This also opens up the daycare centers that ONLY accept low-income families.

I really had no choice to wait and see if I qualified for this before getting childcare, since my first day was only two weeks after my interview. I had to find childcare fast. My babydaddy’s mom(who watched LB while I was working PT) was available, but only one day a week (She has a house cleaning business). My mother and father also work full time and so do all of my friends without children. My grandmother is cursed with a incessantly neurotic toy poodle who runs in circles and barks at leaves falling from trees, so she was a very disagreeable match, though available. I was starting to sweat with one week left.

So I did the last thing left to do: Go down the list, one by one and CALL EVERYONE. I got to # 10 on the home providers, and I found a spot. The catch? It was only available during the summer. I took it. $28/day- I WAS PSYCHED!

In the meantime, I was still looking for a place in the fall. IMPOSSIBLE. Teachers have blocked those spots off YEARS in advance. The only way I was going to find child care was to get approved for Child Care Assistance, and make my way into the Early Head Start program.

About 3 days ago. I got my denial letter. I make too much money to qualify. $1200 a month is apparently middle class in Durango, PLENTY of money to support a child, pay for rent and daycare, gas, utilities, phone…etc Ok, sorry, you’ve already heard my rant on cost of living here.

So I am still looking. Waiting, hoping, praying…whatever humans do to invoke good luck on themselves. Will it pay off? Who knows.

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7 thoughts on “Daycare Dilema

  1. Okay Pisces-Mama, you’ve got me scared. At this very moment I’ve got a precious baby girl tucked safely in my uterus. I’ve only just begun to think about what happens after her arrival. I’m 21 weeks so I thought I had some time, but a quick internet search shows that I might be high and dry. Yikes! Good luck to you. Your baby is adorable!

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  2. I realize this post is 7 months old, but I figured it was worth commenting and trying to contact you. I live in Steamboat Springs, CO where childcare is in crisis and I have an 8 month old. We are scraping by at $58 a day three days a week. I too am in Education. My husband stays home with her two days a week. We can’t sustain this. Considering moving down your way because we want small(er) town living than say Denver. Is it that bad for infant care? It looks like you have preschools in every elementary school – cool! How are those? Thanks for your thoughts if you reply. 🙂

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  3. Wow I’m sorry I never got back you ndecrette. Yes, we have preschools at all 7 of our elementary schools here in Durango. We also have Head Starts at 3 of the In-town schools. Our preschools are $350/mo tuition, and we have the Colorado Preschool Program funds available for “at-risk” children.

    Housing is another problem around here, but probably not as bad as Steamboat. The average 2 bedroom apartment is $825 a month. The Durango Herald just did an article on the housing crisis here, so you might want to check out their website:

    http://www,durangoherald.com

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. 1 comment for line no even space untill comments and comments…. Your comment about something, i suggest too be it more long as possible Ur1: hxxp://yourwebsite{com} (don’t even use the stadard format or you will be detected from anti-spam)

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