During the 2018 legislative session, the Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance (ECCLA) successfully advocated for state general funds to be invested in the statewide network of Early Childhood Councils. The 2018-19 Colorado state budget now includes $1 million for Councils to continue their efforts in building and supporting local early childhood systems. Due in part to the impact of the Great Recession, this is the first investment of state funds in Councils since 2012.
To meet the needs of young children in their local communities, Councils implement federal pass-through funds, which are administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early childhood, from the Child Care Development Fund. Additionally, in many communities across the state, Councils also ensure funds from foundations and other partners are put to good use to strengthen and coordinate early childhood programs and services.
While critical funding needs still remain, the restored state investment will assist Councils to continue their efforts to bring together the multiple programs and perspectives across early care and learning, health, mental health, and family support to cultivate a local voice and vision for Colorado’s youngest children.
With this investment, legislators have prioritized Colorado’s young children and their families and continued a legacy of strong commitment to early childhood supports and services. That commitment began in 1997 with community pilot programs designed to align and strengthen resources to serve young children. The pilots were so successful that in 2007, the Colorado General Assembly established Early Childhood Councils in state legislation, and today Councils directly support 61 of 64 Colorado counties.
Together, ECCLA and the Councils are grateful for the continued commitment by our state leaders to ensure all Colorado’s young children and families have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
For more information about Early Childhood Councils visit our page “What are Early Childhood Councils.”