By Alan Gionet

(CBS4) – Supporters of Senate Bill 213 on Wednesday pointed to support for child care facilities in the $100 million package.

“This bill for me is actually very personal. I’m the mother of an 18 month old,” said state Rep. Kerry Tipper of Lakewood, a House sponsor of the legislation.

“The last two years really have been incredibly challenging for many reasons but child care kind of predominates that.”

Child care shortages have cost the state in workforce problems with many parents unable to return to work because of a lack of child care options.

“First of all, it’s going to address the shortages of child care facilities that’s causing families to have to sit and wait and sit and wait,” said bill co-sponsor state Sen. Rhonda Fields.

The pandemic caused some facilities to close their doors and hiring continues to be a problem.

“Right now about 60% of children providers in Colorado are reporting workforce shortages,” said Fields.

The money comes largely from federal dollars:

– A total of $50 million from child care development funds for implementing the child care sustainability grant program
– Another $19 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund. It will be devoted to help develop and expand the child care grant program.
– $10 million will come from the economic recovery and relief cash fund to implement the employer-based child care facility grant program.

Other money will help fund recruitment and training of workers as well as a program to support child care by people close to families.

“We’re going to see a massive investment in friends family and neighbor care,” said Lorena Garcia of the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition.

Many of the state’s problems have hit hardest in lower income areas.

“It’s not easy, especially if you’re a woman of color, or if you’re a single parent, or whatever, it’s a burden,” said Fields.

Rural areas, too, have seen closings and troubles. Fields’ Senate co-sponsor is Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of northeast Colorado.

The chances for the bill are good with bipartisan support.

“It will be real impact to Colorado families. It will be a lot of money saved. It will be a lot of folks finding their way back into the workforce to fill roles that we desperately need,” said House co-sponsor Rep. Alex Valdez of Denver.

Alan Gionet