Lunch to recognize contributions of childcare providers |

Lunch to recognize contributions of childcare providers

Some unsung heroes will be celebrated Sunday, April 28. The Garfield County Department of Social Services and the Rural Resort Region’s Child Care Project are sponsoring the second annual Child Care Provider Appreciation lunch at the Hotel Colorado from noon to 2 p.m.

People who care for children in homes, centers and foster homes are a crucial resource and get little recognition for their work, said Child Care Project administrator Carrie Podl.

“They’re out there as individuals who work on their own,” Podl said. “We want to have people see their value to the community.”

Among those being recognized at the luncheon is Joni Goodwin, who heads up the county’s Home Child Care Quality Enhancement program.

Goodwin conducts assessments of child care facilities and offers educational materials such as puppets, easels, flannel story boards and books, which are available on loan for one month. If the day care provider thinks she can use one or more of the items, the $1,500 is available to cover the cost of purchase.

She also conducts assessments of the facility.

“We saw a 14 percent improvement in the quality” of the child care facilities that took advantage of the program last year, Podl said. About 10 providers were aided by the program last year and about 40 percent of all the county’s providers are expected to be involved this year, she said.

Also being recognized at the luncheon are the 20 foster care providers in the county. More than 60 children are in foster care in the county, said Michelle LeFebvre, county foster care coordinator.

Podl said the idea for the appreciation lunch came when she, LeFebvre and county child care licensing specialist Dana Damm got together two years ago to discuss how to recruit and retain child care providers.

Garfield County has 150 child care and foster care providers who care for about 1,200 children, she said.

“They work very hard. It takes a lot of responsibility to nurture kids,” said Damm. “It’s not something everyone can do.”

All child and foster care providers are invited to the luncheon, which is free. Child care will also be provided. The cost is $3 for one child and up to $10 for a family.

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day collaborating organizations and sponsors include: Kids First; Pitkin County Department of Social Services; Roaring Fork District of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children; Garfield County Foster Care and Child Care; Garfield/Eagle County Child Care Resource and Referral; Alpine Bank of Glenwood Springs, Aspen and Snowmass Village; Glenwood Springs Afternoon Rotary; A Sign in Time; Kids First; Garfield County Childcare, Foster and Kinship programs; Pitkin County Department of Social Services and Roaring Fork District of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children.

Providing gifts were: Little Annie’s, Sunlight Mountain Resort, Express Yourself, Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, Whitewater Rafting LLC and Grace Michelle.

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