Bilingual Licensing Specialists

The Need 

After English, Spanish is the most common language spoken in Colorado, with 12% of the state’s population speaking Spanish at home. This demonstrates a need for increased access to safe, quality child care options for Spanish-speaking communities, particularly considering that 91% of Colorado counties already have low capacity for providing care to infants and toddlers. Licensing provides the foundation for safety, health and quality in both indoor and outdoor early childhood environments, as licensed child care programs must meet and be monitored for compliance with numerous federal and state health and safety requirements. These requirements include comprehensive background checks; staff qualifications and training; and safe, developmentally appropriate equipment and materials. Licensed providers also can access resources to support quality, including mental health consultants, coaches and training through the Colorado Professional Development Information System (PDIS). 

In order to increase access for families to licensed, linguistically responsive child care options, Spanish-speaking providers must have access to linguistically accessible licensing support. 

The Strategy 

CDEC’s Bilingual Spanish Licensing Unit (BSLU) provides targeted technical assistance to license exempt Spanish-speaking providers who may be interested in obtaining a child care license. For this activity, CDEC’s Division of Early Learning Licensing & Administration (DELLA) hired three full-time staff to provide Spanish-language support during the licensing process. When a provider indicates that Spanish is their preferred language, BSLU specialists attend the standard strength-based licensing inspection to provide in-person linguistically responsive support. 

BSLU specialists also offer pre-licensing training in Spanish to support providers prior to seeking a license, and they assist with reviewing and translating public-facing documents to increase access to essential information for Spanish-speaking families. 

Key Outcomes and Learnings


Through licensing nine new providers, the BSLU effectively supported the creation of 215 linguistically-responsive child care slots statewide. More than half of these slots serve infants and toddlers.

As of December 28, 2023, 66 licensed programs have indicated Spanish is their preferred language. In addition, there are 27 pending Family Child Care Home applications submitted by exempt Spanish-speaking providers who are licensed. The BSLU provided the following services to these providers: 

  • Completed 38 inspections to support providers whose language preference is Spanish 
  • Facilitated 34 trainings in Spanish, including training for the Small Business Development Centers, Pre-Licensing Orientation training, ECC navigators and conferences 
  • Translated 60 communications and materials for Spanish Speaking Providers 

The BSLU presented at a child care training program conducted entirely in Spanish for 15 current family, friend and neighbor (FFN) care providers who could potentially become licensed. 


Developing trusted relationships with local community partners is essential to the BSLU's efforts to recruit Spanish-speaking providers to obtain a license. Establishing these connections and partnerships takes time, and the CDEC anticipates that as the BSLU becomes more known in these communities, there will be an increase in the number of providers seeking licensure. The BSLU is actively working with Family Child Care Home Navigators, early childhood councils, Providers Advancing School Outcomes (PASO), the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, La Cocina and Una Mano Una Esperanza to identify barriers to becoming licensed and to offer solutions for recruiting programs, including training and resources.

green gear labeled access and quality


Amount: $805,775

Source: American Rescue Plan Discretionary 

Expiration: September 30, 2024

Next Steps

The BSLU is working with 14 FFN child care providers who are interested in becoming licensed. These individuals were identified through a newly formed partnership with La Cocina, a community-based support and advocacy agency. 

The BSLU continues to expand the Spanish Style Guide.


Participant Testimonials


"There has been so much miscommunication in the past. I am glad [CDEC] finally [has] individuals who speak Spanish."

"Having the Professional Development Information System training in Spanish has been very helpful. They are in a language I can understand."

"I am very fortunate to have connected with you to provide Spanish-speaking professionals trust while looking into getting licensed."

"I appreciate all you do to support the Spanish-speaking community."