Aspen’s child care shortage is even tougher on low-income families

Parents in the Vail Valley are looking for child care again, reported the Aspen Times. And demand is "far outpacing" supply.

Some parents have begun looking into child care before their child is born, or before their child is conceived, according to the paper. But for poor parents, child care costs can rival the cost of their rent or mortgage.

While capacity is an issue, so is affordability.

“For a lot of families, the biggest barrier is the cost,” Ritter said. “It has to be affordable.”

Costs for one child going to child care five days per week year-round run $15,000 per year in the Aspen area, according to research by Kids First.

“It can be as much or more than rent or mortgage,” Ritter said.

Many families don’t qualify for assistance through a state fund simply because Aspen’s salaries are high, but the state formula doesn’t take the high cost of living in the valley into account, so Kids First helps families turned down by the state. It currently uses funds from an Aspen sales tax to subsidize child care costs currently for 51 Pitkin County families with 70 children.

Read more at the Aspen Times.