Policy Resource

Colorado's Early Childhood Framework Leads to Opportunities for Infant and Toddler Planning

Jan 9, 2016

Learn how thirty-one local Early Childhood Councils across the state are tasked with implementing an Early Childhood Colorado framework at the community level.

When setting up effective planning and governance structures for state early childhood programs, Colorado recognized that they needed a foundation upon which policy and planning decisions could be based. The result was the creation of the Early Childhood Colorado framework in 2008, which has become the rallying point for all early childhood systems work in the state. Colorado’s framework was developed by a diverse group of stakeholders that was spearheaded by the lieutenant governor’s office and included all relevant state agencies as well as local nonprofits, foundations, universities, and other private organizations. It outlines the access, quality, and equity outcomes that the early childhood system is aiming to achieve in the areas of early learning; family support and parent education; social, emotional, and mental health; and health. The framework also describes the strategies that the state employs to attain the outcomes listed. Infants’ and toddlers’ needs are well-represented in the framework, which makes it easier for the state to think intentionally about the full continuum of services that young children and families need. The upfront work of developing a common vision has enabled the state to take advantage of new opportunities. It provides the foundation for work being done through the Early Learning Challenge; Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program; Project LAUNCH; and other federal grants that benefit babies and their families.

Thirty-one local Early Childhood Councils across the state are tasked with implementing the framework at the community level. The Councils were created through legislation in 2004 to improve and sustain the availability, capacity, accessibility, and quality of early childhood services. They consist of early childhood service providers, law enforcement, business, community leaders, parents, and others. The state has worked with the local councils by (a) providing them system-building grants to better align services, and (b) conducting public awareness outreach.

The Early Childhood Leadership Commission updated the framework in 2015 to incorporate the latest research and knowledge on early childhood and to reflect the states progress over the last 7 years. On Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, Gov. John Hickenlooper joined the Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC) to release the newly updated Early Childhood Colorado Framework.

The Framework is a shared vision for early childhood in Colorado across early learning and development, health and well-being, and family support and education. The plan incorporates the latest research in early childhood, including the importance of early learning and development prior to age 3, the transition from preschool to kindergarten, and the integration of social emotional development and health.

To learn about the Early Childhood Colorado Framework Update, Key Messages and Talking Points click here.

To download a brochure or poster click here.

A description of Colorado’s work is highlighted in ZERO TO THREE’s publication A Place to Get Started: Innovation in Infant and Toddler State Policies. Read the full brief at http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy.

Updated January 2016

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