The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) delivers a broad range of programs and services to Colorado's youngest children, their families, and the professionals who serve them. This includes the voter-approved Colorado Universal Preschool Program, which will launch in the 2023-24 school year. The Department was established in July 2022 under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Lisa Roy, the Governor's cabinet appointment for Early Childhood. CDEC unifies Colorado's early childhood system and elevates it to cabinet-level importance, implementing the vision of Governor Polis and a dedicated stakeholder community that contributed to the launch of the Department of Early Childhood.
There are two stakeholder-driven reports, unanimously approved by the ECLC, which detail the vision for early childhood in Colorado.
All Colorado children, families, and early childhood professionals are valued, healthy and thriving.
The Colorado Department of Early Childhood ensures the delivery of a comprehensive, community-informed, data-driven, high quality and equitable early childhood system that supports the care, education and well-being of all Colorado’s young children, their families and early childhood professionals in all settings.
We value equity across the early childhood system and are committed to utilizing an equity-focused lens to drive priorities and decision making.
We believe formal and informal care environments can provide high-quality, developmentally appropriate care and learning.
We respect and appreciate the diversity and strengths of all of our communities in Colorado.
We believe accessibility to early childhood services considers affordability, cultural responsiveness, and parent choice.
We value an innovative and expansive approach to our early childhood system.
We value a whole-family approach.
CDEC Guiding Principles
Child, Family, and Community Centered
All Children Served
Holistic Services Approach
Mixed Delivery System
Thriving, Effective Workforce
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