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Child Care Availability Hitting Families Hard In Summit County

By Matt Kroschel

DILLON, Colo. (CBS4) - Hundreds of children are on the wait list for preschool, but there isn't anywhere for them to go. The child care availability crisis could get even worse.

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More parents could be forced to make very difficult decisions not just in Summit County, but across the state.

Inside Lake Dillon Preschool on Wednesday, youngsters play on a miniature rock climbing wall and big stackable cups. They play with not a care in the world.

But their parents are felling the pressure.

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Tamara Drangstveit is the Director at the Family Intercultural Resource Center, and she's a parent.

"I have a 7-year-old, and I have 3-year-old twins. We've lived in Summit County for about 15 years, so yes, I run the family resource center, but I'm also intimately familiar with the struggles families face in Summit County particularly the struggle of balancing high housing costs and high health insurances costs and our challenges with child care," she said. "We desperately need another child care facility in this community."

"It's a national issue, but it's particularly intense issue and resort communities," said Lucinda Burns, Executive Director of Early Childhood Options.

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Right now, there are more than 350 kids on wait lists to get a spot. There is a ballot measure -- 1A -- that could help the daycare crisis playing out in Colorado's playground.

It would also support wildfire mitigation, mental health, recycling, and public facilities. If approved by Summit County voters in November, the measure would raise about $8.8 million per year through a 4.7 mill property tax -- a cost of about $2.83 per month per $100,000 of residential property value.

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"That will help considerably with the cost of care for parents whose children are 4 years old, the year they enter Kindergarten, and that has a double whammy because it helps with affordability, it's a real support for families, certainly good for our local workforce," Burns said.

Parents CBS4 spoke with agree, it will take everyone working together to solve this.

"As a community, we need to continue to work together," Drangstveit added.

RELATED: Rent & Child Care: Study Finds Some Cities Pay About The Same For Both

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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