By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – Parents wanting to use their tax credit on child care may have trouble doing so. While the number of child care facilities in Colorado that closed following the pandemic remained relatively low, the number of available spots has been cut — and early child care advocates say its been a struggle to find staff to bring those numbers back up.

(credit: CBS)

New mother Tara and her husband welcomed a little girl into their family in March, and like many families are now having to return to work. While they’re fortunate they can turn to family for help, they’re also in need of part time child care.

READ MORE: Some Jeffco Parents Petitioning School District To Mandate Masks In Alignment With CDC

“We thought it was something we could easily do while I was on maternity leave and then we found ourselves on a waitlist in May of 2022,” she said.

(credit: CBS)

New research from Early Milestones Colorado shows more than 64% of families were forced to change child care plans during the pandemic.

Megan Bock, the Chief Programming Officer of Denver Early Childhood Council, says the lack of demand during that time resulted in several classrooms closing.

(credit: CBS)

“What we are seeing now is a demand for those classrooms to reopen, now we need our educators to come back, but it’s challenging because we have a workforce crisis,” she said.

READ MORE: Colorado Encourages COVID Vaccine As CDC Changes Mask Guidance

Their hope is that continued federal aid and public funding will allow facilities to pay more competitively and attract more candidates.

(credit: CBS)

Until then, it’s likely things will get worse before they get better.

Emily Bustos, CEO of the Denver Early Childhood Council says, “It’s going to be more challenging to find a fall slot because everyone will be looking for that, That’s when a lot of workforce places are expecting employees to start coming back.”

For Tara, the search continues.

MORE NEWS: Large Rock Dislodged & Dragged In Fraser... But Why?

“Hopefully we find somebody before 2022,” she laughed.

Karen Morfitt