HB21-1304 (Sirota & Garnett/Fenberg & Buckner) Early Childhood System
HB 21-1304 would advance a systemic approach to elevating early childhood in Colorado. The bill would consolidate various early childhood programs currently scattered across multiple state agencies into the Colorado Department of Early Childhood. It would also initiate a community-informed process to unify early childhood services in the new department via engagement of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission, existing agencies, and affected organizations and individuals. Finally, it would require a plan to implement voluntary universal preschool statewide in alignment with voter intent in Prop EE.
The Colorado Children’s Campaign strongly supports this bill because we know early childhood is a critical period in child development that dramatically shapes a child’s subsequent education and life experiences. Children who have a strong start are on a path to school readiness and life success. Those who face disruptive levels of adversity face a lifetime of challenges in overcoming their foundational experiences. Despite the long-term impact of the early years, this is the time when families have the least support and children face the greatest hurdles to opportunity. This is the age when children are most likely to live in poverty, most likely to experience homelessness, least likely to have access to child care and preschool, and when families are earning the least amount of money in their careers. We’ve heard from community leaders, parents, and educators from around the state who have asked for an end to the fragmentation of the early childhood system. Due to unprecedented investments in early learning now and anticipated to come, Colorado has a unique opportunity to emerge from the pandemic stronger than before, better supporting our state’s families and significantly bolstering our economic recovery.
House concurred with Senate Amendments. The bill repassed the House on a vote of 45-19 and now heads to the Governor for signature.
May 28, 2021
Passed the House with bipartisan support, passed Senate Education, where our Vice President of Early Childhood and Policy Initiatives Bill Jaeger testified, with a unanimous, bipartisan 7-0 vote and now heads to the Senate Appropriations committee.
May 14, 2021
Passed out of the House Education committee on a vote of 7 to 2. Now, it is headed to the Appropriations committee.