Statement: New bill would set the implementation of Colorado’s Department of Early Childhood in motion

Contact: Beza Taddess
Title: Communications Director
Phone: 720-422-3906
Email: beza@coloradokids.org

Statement: New bill would set the implementation of Colorado’s Department of Early Childhood in motion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 17th, 2022

 

Statement: New bill would set the implementation of Colorado’s Department of Early Childhood in motion

 

DENVER – Today, House Bill 22-1295 Department Early Childhood and Universal Preschool Program (sponsors Reps. Garnett and Sirota, and Sens. Fenberg and Buckner) will be heard in the House Education Committee. Building on the success of House Bill 21-1304, which gave Colorado the transformational opportunity to establish a cabinet-level Department of Early Childhood, this bill codifies the unanimously approved recommendations of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC) in the implementation of this new department.  

The Colorado Children’s Campaign strongly supports HB 22-1295. The bill will align the current fragmented early childhood landscape and make early childhood programs easier for families to access. “We know that early childhood is a critical time in children’s and families’ lives that lays the foundation for what is to come,” said Bill Jaeger, Vice President of Early Childhood and Policy Initiatives. “However, the early years are when families often have the least support, and children face the greatest barriers to opportunity.”  

House Bill 22-1295 will provide kids with the foundation they need to thrive by allowing access to high quality early childhood experiences to all Colorado families. This will result in a more seamless experience for families and providers, and give them an authentic, meaningful opportunity to share their voice in the design of the department’s programs. The legislation will also support implementation of universal preschool by requiring local coordination between providers, counties, school districts, and community-based organizations to help create part-day programming for all 4-year-olds in fall of 2023 and a full-day of voluntary programming for many low-income preschool-aged children of families that want these services. By strengthening the early childhood system infrastructure, the bill will also help address capacity challenges experienced by providers across Colorado.  

Additionally, HB22-1295 will ensure that these voluntary early childhood programs prioritize universal accessibility and a wider range of delivery methods. The department will prioritize parent choice in early childhood by supporting an array of mixed delivery service providers, including community-based, home-based, and school based programs. By expanding structural support and funding to programs which have previously not fallen under traditional notions of early childhood services, equitable access will be advanced, with more effective, trauma-informed programming available to children facing the greatest barriers to opportunity.  

The new department will prioritize a whole family approach by better integrating family strengthening programs, and reducing stigma associated with such programs,” said Kelly Causey, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign. “The Colorado Children’s Campaign is excited to see advocates, elected officials, and other stakeholders come together to do the right thing for kids and families.”  

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The Colorado Children’s Campaign is excited by the vision in this bill and its commitment to ensuring high quality early experiences for young children. It is critical that children, families, and the early childhood workforce have the support they need to navigate a historically complex system of programs. The passage of this bill would not only provide early childhood programs with much needed governance and resources, it would also give kids the strong start they need to embark on a path to school readiness and life success.

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About Colorado Children's Campaign


The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child well-being in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research and organizing an extensive statewide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Beza Taddess at 720-422-3906 or email Beza at beza@coloradokids.org.