Colorado Early Childhood Councils
Early Childhood Councils are a legislative expansion (HB06-1062) of the Consolidated Child Care Pilots that existed from 1997 – 2006. Currently, 30 Early Childhood Councils are active in 56 of Colorado's 64 counties. The intent of EC Councils is to change the way early childhood stakeholders do business through collaborative planning, networking, funding, coordination and implementation. Each county is locally led by an Early Childhood Council that is a community-based collaborative working to build a comprehensive early childhood system that connects children, families, and resources to quality services in early learning, family support and education, social emotional and mental health, and health. The charge of the Councils is to positively impact services for young children and families by building an effective and responsive local early childhood system.
Formerly, there was not a coordinated system to ensure that Colorado's youngest children had access to the quality services and supports needed to be successful in school and life. Councils now provide the mechanism for "connecting the dots" between initiatives, programs, services and policies to create a system that is seamless for children and families. Because parents don't typically access just one type of service for their child, coordination is necessary across fields and services. As a result, Early Childhood Councils focus their attention across four domains of early childhood: early learning; family support and education; social emotional and mental health; and health.
Organizational History and Purpose
The Denver Early Childhood Council was created in 1992 by then Denver Public Schools (DPS) Superintendent Evie Dennis and Mayor Wellington Webb to address a systemic need, and manage the quality improvements in Denver Early Childhood Education (ECE) centers. DECC fostered collaboration among providers, government agencies, and policy advocates, to plan, implement, coordinate and incubate ECE improvements and innovations. In addition to its role as City/District collaborator and as a network for ECE stakeholders, the DECC has served as the Consolidated Child Care Pilot Project (Pilot) for Denver. The Pilot was part of a state program to encourage the consolidation of ECE funding sources, collaborative early childhood service delivery, quality improvements and family engagement.