A Local Coordinating Organization (LCO), as identified in HB22-1295, is a community agency or organization responsible for supporting local access and equitable delivery of early childhood and family support programs. An LCO fosters partnerships, creates alignment, and establishes a comprehensive, locally supported plan for providing early childhood and family support programs equitably. This model was created as a result of extensive stakeholder feedback, identifying local entities as those who are best positioned to understand the varying needs for early childhood programs and services in diverse communities throughout the state. The LCO will serve as a liaison between families, the local early childhood system and the state.
In year one, LCOs must, at minimum, coordinate a mixed delivery system of Universal Preschool in their community. Some LCOs may be prepared to take on a larger scope of work in the first year, while others may need to build this up over time.
Any government or non-profit entity that is involved in their community’s early childhood system may apply to serve as an LCO. This includes, but is not limited to:
- County or municipal government agencies
- School districts
- Early Childhood Councils
- Family Resource Centers
- Special taxing districts
- Head Start Grantees
- Local non-profit organizations
- Charter school networks
Partnerships and new organizations that bring together multiple entities can also be formed to serve the LCO role in their community.