Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced the creation of an Office of Early Childhood (OEC) on June 7, 2012.
The Office brought together seven early childhood programs that previously existed in four different divisions of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), allowing for greater collaboration and coordination both at the state-level and between the state and local communities delivering services.
The OEC has two divisions, the Division of Early Care and Learning and the Division of Community and Family Support.
The Division of Early Care and Learning oversees:
- Child Care Licensing and Administration: Licensing and regulation to ensure the health and safety of children in early care and learning facilities.
- Child Care Quality Initiatives: Programs to rate and improve the quality of licensed early care and learning facilities.
- Colorado Child Care Assistance Program: Subsidies to increase families’ access to high quality child care.
The Division of Community and Family Support oversees:
- Child Maltreatment Prevention: Services focused on building protective factors among children, families and communities.
- Early Childhood Mental Health: Early childhood mental health prevention, promotion and early identification services.
- Early Intervention Colorado: Supports and services for children under three years of age with special developmental needs.
- Head Start State Collaboration: Coordination of efforts among federal, state and local agencies relating to Head Start/Early Head Start.
- Home Visiting: In-home parenting support programs dedicated to improving health and child development.
The OEC provides collaborative leadership to align resources for children, families, and early care professionals to best prepare Coloradans for future success, through access to coordinated and quality early childhood programs and supports. By consolidating early childhood programs into one office, the state increased information sharing, reduced red tape, and improved the quality of all early childhood programs.
Aligning itself with the goals in the Early Childhood Colorado Framework, OEC priorities include:
- School Readiness: All Colorado children are ready for school when entering kindergarten.
- Safe, Stable and Nurturing Environments: All Colorado children develop within positive, stable and nurturing environments free of toxic stress.
- Individual Resilience: All Colorado children have the supports necessary to successfully adapt to challenging or threatening circumstances.
Updated July 2019