Colorado receives $3.9M planning grant to continue innovation of statewide early childhood system

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) has been awarded a $3.9 million 2023 Preschool Development Birth through Five (PDG B-5) Planning Grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. The grant will support innovations that address gaps in the early childcare and education system for children ages birth to five and emerging challenges and needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PDG B-5 planning grant, part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, will support the state’s continued efforts to build infrastructure and scale effective strategies and programs that address new challenges facing the early childhood workforce, children’s physical and social-emotional well-being and meeting the needs of Colorado families. Some of Colorado’s strategies include efforts to:

  • Increase the availability of business practice supports to early care and education professionals
  • Initiate a pilot to implement workforce compensation strategies and develop a comprehensive statewide qualification system and/or career ladder
  • Build on current opportunities for family voice to be incorporated into state and local decision-making;
  • Develop messaging and materials to increase awareness and engagement of home visiting programs.

Colorado will also update the2019 Colorado Shines Brighter B-5 Needs Assessmentand theColorado Shines Brighter B-5 Strategic Planwith an expanded focus to include the impact of COVID-19, the needs of the early childhood workforce and opportunities to better support children with special health needs.

“A strong early childhood system leads to a stronger Colorado. The PDG B-5 planning grant is an opportunity to build on our current progress and strengthen our existing infrastructure to better support children, families and the early childhood workforce," said Dr. Lisa Roy, Executive Director of the Department of Early Childhood.

Since 2018, Colorado has received $39.3 million in federal PDG B-5 funding, including a three-year renewal grant to implement strategies identified in the State B-5 Strategic Plan. As a result of the funding, Colorado has achieved the following:

  • Strengthened the state's ability to collect and analyze early childhood workforce data to inform strategies to recruit, retain, and provide professional development opportunities leading to a more diverse and qualified workforce
  • Invested in collaborative community planning activities to increase awareness of and access to B-5 programs and services
  • Developed a statewide Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) support line to improve parents and caregivers access to mental health consultation
  • Increased access to quality early childhood environments for all children including children with special needs
  • Established a state-level Family Voice Council to inform policy decisions and practices.