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An Early Childhood Task Force is Formed to Look Into Affordable Childcare

PC Tots
Affordable childcare is not the only issue in Park City - it's care for infants up to three-year-olds.

PC Tots received a $250,000. gift from Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz late last year that enabled them to open PC Tots Two. As a result the childcare provider will soon be able to care for an additional 30 children.

In spite of the generous gift - Park City Council Member Nann Worel told other members during a recent council meeting, there is still a need in Park City and Summit County that needs to be better understood - which is why an early childhood task force was created.

“There remains a gap from what everybody can understand with the zero to three-year-olds," Worel said. "And so they’re going to be looking at doing a needs assessment and then from that needs assessment will come a master plan of, ‘What kind of childcare do we need? At what points does that need to come online? Where do we project future growth?’”

Park City Promise Partnership Director Hayley Holland said the task force members have agreed to be transparent, share their data and hold each other accountable for the work being done.

Though more information is needed – Holland said they’re ready to make some changes to capacity rates for daycare centers.

“So right now we have decided is that we are going to increase the early childhood capacity in Park City/Summit County with the birth to three from 80 percent to 90 percent enrollment," Holland said. "So, have a 10 percent increase because there are a lot of three to four year old programs in our community that are not at capacity right now yet we know there is still a great need for affordable childcare.”

Holland added that Park City School District has an amazing preschool program with stellar results but, it has its limitations.  

“One is space and two is – they’re not a childcare provider," Holland said. "They don’t have the setup for that. But the affordable childcare programs, PC Tots namely the largest one in Park City right now, they are providing a curriculum that will prepare them to be kindergarten ready.”

Children in the school district program only attend twice a week for a morning or afternoon session.

PC Tots Executive Director Libby Bailey said they currently have 70 children in their program that live in the greater Park City area. Twenty-four of them, whose parents work in Park City, live outside the greater Park City area.

PC Tots subsidizes their fees to help families better afford care for their children but, Bailey said the growing problem is seems to be a lack of room for infants.

“What we see is that there are far fewer programs for infants to three," Bailey said. "And that’s sort of when I was working with the advocacy group to say, ‘We have a lot of great pre-k programs in Park City. Where we’re lacking is space available  for infant to three. Which is an integral time for growth and development for children and we should be trying to find money, space and programming for those zero to three.’”

The early childhood task force is working for the community through United Way’s Promise Partnership which Holland said is gaining a lot of momentum in Park City. The goal? To make living in Park City equitable and affordable for everyone.