Preschool progress accelerates in Colorado
The Office of Early Childhood formally announced that Colorado was one of only 26 states to successfully apply for and receive a Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Renewal from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Colorado is set to receive $33.5 million over three years to invest in strategies that build on our planning grant from 2019. The award will be dedicated to building systems, tools and resources to help parents choose high-quality early care and education settings and to support professional development opportunities for the early childhood workforce. This will allow for greater coordination and alignment across elements of the early childhood landscape. The federal grant is a major step forward for building a system that meets the needs of young children and their families. The scope of the grant is focused on building system and not increasing access, so the Colorado legislature must also take action this session to support preschool expansion.
The Governor’s budget includes a proposal to continue the progress we have made in recent years to expand access to preschool and child care. Specifically, an investment of $27 million for an additional 6,000 or more preschool slots is included in the balanced budget request the Governor submitted to the legislature. It is important that the budget that passes this year continues Colorado’s commitment to expanding access to early childhood education. Colorado’s youngest learners cannot be left behind as other states—representing diverse corners of the country from Alabama to California to New Jersey to South Carolina—take bold action to expand access to preschool.