“Everyone Depends on Someone Who Depends on Child Care”
Thank your Child Care Provider on May 11!
The Early Childhood Council of Larimer County urges families and community members to thank child care providers on National Provider Appreciation Day, May 11, as part of a national campaign with the slogan, “Everyone depends on someone who depends on child care.”
Child care is at the center of nearly every working relationship, serving as fuel for a dynamic workforce. Managers rely on their workers’ child care providers, professors rely on their students’ providers, patients rely on their doctors’ providers, and the list goes on and on. High quality child care mobilizes workforces and nurtures healthy kids who, as studies show, are more likely to make positive social and economic contributions. When parents are working, they add to the economy and are better able to provide for their children. That’s right. Child care not only grows strong kids, it grows strong communities
Teen Mom Builds Better Life for Self, Kids
Reliable Child Care Provides Solid Ground to Move Forward
By Lynn U. Nichols
At 16, Talyn Baker found herself in her eighth foster home, pregnant and scared.
“I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I thought, ‘There’s a little kid in my stomach, I’ve got to figure this out,’” she recalls.
Rather than crumbling, Talyn took each unthinkable event in her life and turned it into a hammer to break the cycle of alcoholism and abuse that defined her childhood.
“My biggest goal is to build a healthy life for myself and my girls. They keep me grounded and give me motivation,” Talyn says.
Finishing high school against all odds
Her first solution was transferring from Poudre High School to the Teen Parent Program at Fort Collins High School. It was a hard move, as she loved Poudre and the team of teachers that surrounded her there, but it turned out to be the best choice. She received the support she needed to finish high school.
Since her foster family wouldn’t let her stay with a new baby, Talyn moved in with Christopher—the father—and his family, but it didn’t work out. From there, Talyn was placed with a host family who supported her and stuck by her through a second pregnancy. She stayed with them while she finished high school.
“At graduation, I was 7 months pregnant and had a one year old,” she remarks.
With two daughters in tow, Talyn plowed ahead despite the obvious roadblocks. Today, as an official adult at 21, she has her own apartment, a steady job and is close to finishing her associate’s degree. She and Christopher are both doing their own work to heal from hard childhoods, with the hope of coming together as a healthy family someday.
(Photo: Zinah, Talyn and Athena)
College or bust
College serves as an anchor for Talyn. After finishing her associate’s degree next year, she will apply to Colorado State University where she plans to earn her master’s in social work.
“I love school because school makes me feel independent and in control. Through the years, teachers have told me that nobody can take away your education and that’s always stuck with me. My education is my children’s future, not just my future,” Talyn says.
Fueled by reliable child care
In the beginning, one of her biggest challenges was finding reliable, affordable child care for Athena and Zinah, now ages 4 and 3. With the help of the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County (ECCLC), Talyn eventually hit the jackpot with Little Bear’s Child Care Center in Fort Collins.
“Lisa from ECCLC and I went on a hardcore mission to find child care. It took a while, because I was cautious. I wanted to make sure my daughters had good care,” Talyn says.
Having steady, reliable child care serves as a stable base for Talyn as she balances motherhood, working and attending Front Range Community College.
“If I didn’t have child care, I wouldn’t be in school, I wouldn’t have a job. I tell Liz and Darla at Little Bear’s that they are like my second parents—they are there when I need them, and I trust them like family,” she says.
Secure child care is not only a gift to Talyn, it’s also a gift to her employer, the City of Fort Collins Recreation Department. One of her supervisors, Raven Guerrero, knows this all too well. She manages several shift employees and she definitely notices a difference in performance and reliability between her workers who have solid child care and those who do not.
“Talyn makes it easy for us. She has consistent child care and she comes in with a smile on her face, ready to get the job done,” Guerrero says. “For those who don’t, there are good days and bad days. It’s a huge source of stress for employees, and they either show up late, call in sick or are distracted when they don’t have a provider they trust,” says Guerrero.
According to Guerrero, it costs the City money when workers don’t have reliable child care. When employees don’t show up for work she’s left scrambling to fill shifts, which sometimes means asking other employees to work overtime.
“Talyn is a hard worker and an incredible person. She hasn’t had an easy life, but she always makes the best of her situation. She’s persistent and courageous, and a great role model for her daughters,” Guerrero adds.
Rather than knocking her down, Talyn Baker lets each hard event wake her up and keep her moving towards a healthier, more balanced life.
“I am determined to use my past to improve my future for myself and my girls,” Talyn concludes.
Did You Know?
- Almost 2/3 of women with kids under six are working
- Almost 3/4 of women with kids under 18 are working
- 93% of all men with kids under 18 are working
- 42% of women who work are single moms or primary breadwinners
Source: National Women’s Law Center; US Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Early Care and Education has a special role in the economy: it enables parents to work, generating over $4.4 billion annually in earnings.
Source: Earlymilestones.org, Bearing the Cost of Early Care and Education in Colorado: An Economic Analysis