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Covering the cost of child care

10:10 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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"He's a sweetie," she said while sitting at her desk, "Saturday, he asked me to marry him. It melted my heart!"

Her 4-year-old son, Colton, is in his final year of preschool. And so far, his daycare preschool education has outpaced a lot of professional degrees.

"Preschool in Denver is more expensive than in-state college tuition," Denver Preschool Program CEO Eileen Piper said.

Many daycare providers say their costs have risen because of licensing requirements and the overall costs of providing quality care. Mothers like Timmons understand the costs associated with running a business. She also understands the balancing act.

"[Daycare] is more than 50 percent of my take-home [pay]," Timmons said.

Timmons works full-time as a receptionist and has to solely cover the cost of her son's daycare after she and her former husband divorced.

A national study by Child Care Aware of America ranks Colorado as the fourth most expensive state for childcare

The report finds that, in all 50 states, parents who have two children in daycare, on average, pay more for childcare than they do for rent.

"It's really a significant expense," Piper said. "We support families by providing tuition credits, to help them afford to send their child to preschool."

Piper said the program focuses only on 4-year-olds in their final year of preschool before kindergarten.

There is no income cutoff to qualify for the program.

Calculate your family's potential monthly credit

But parents who have children who are not yet in their final year of preschool are in search of other resources to cover the cost of child care.

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program offers help to families who fall within certain income brackets.

All 64 Colorado counties are listed as having programs available to cover daycare costs for residents.

Most middle-income families have found out that they make too much money to qualify for many of the assistance services.

"There's a cliff from low-income, for families who are right around federal poverty level or slightly above to receive support," Piper said.

Denver mother of two, Tristin Mead-Rodrigues, continued her private practice as a licensed counselor until she realized that she would be working simply to cover her expenses.

"Most of my income was going to daycare and office rental. It just didn't make sense," Rodrigues said.

But staying at home is not an option for Timmons.

"I have to work," she said.

Her son will move on to kindergarten next year. And Timmons is looking forward to greatly reducing her expenses or, one day, reaping the benefit of investing in her son's preschool education.

"Please become a doctor," she said while looking at his photo with a smile.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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