No parent should have to choose between personal development and caring for their child—but time, cost, and transportation barriers persist. That’s where Illuminate Colorado, an organization working to strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment in the state, comes in. In March 2020, they began building childcare facilities into RVs and sending them to partner locations, including behavioral health, employment, and substance misuse treatment centers, so parents seeking support can get free on-site, drop-in care for their infants and toddlers.
The program, Illuminating Child Care, currently has three vehicles serving the Denver metro area, San Luis Valley, and Pueblo. Each is outfitted with a play space, books, and toys. Their teachers are trained in trauma-informed care and are comfortable working with children who have sensory intake issues, including those with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Jessica Courtney, chief clinical officer of Mile High Behavioral Healthcare, a Denver location that uses the mobile childcare services, says the partnership is helpful: “It is nice to have access to the (Illuminating Child Care) team looking out for missed developmental milestones. They have access to different resources than we do and even bring a pediatrician every now and then.”
When a parent is trying to recover or do better, there’s a lot to unpack, according to Katie Facchinello, director of communications at Illuminate Colorado. “We’re trying to support that process.”
The community is invited to donate items for the on-site childcare classrooms through an online gift registry.