Press Release

CDEC Launches Stimulus Reporting Website

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) has launched a new website today, hosted on its main site. The site, titled “Investing in a Stronger Early Childhood Ecosystem,” details goals, funding streams, and data for the more than 40 stimulus-funded strategies CDEC implemented to address pandemic recovery needs and strengthen Colorado’s early childhood sector. The website is designed to demonstrate the impact of more than $700 million in strategically invested federal and state stimulus funds, and present key learnings that help the industry build upon this essential work.

CDEC Announces Universal Preschool Quality Standards Informed by Community and Stakeholder Input

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) published the state’s Universal Preschool Program Quality Standards today, in partnership with early childhood stakeholders throughout the state. With input from nearly 700 Colorado families, providers, school districts, early childhood councils, members of the workforce, the Rules Advisory Committee and more, the benchmarks balance 26 national and Colorado-based best-practices with the priorities of the state’s early childhood community.

Financial Opportunity for Universal Preschool Providers

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) is offering a one-time financial opportunity to registered Universal Preschool providers this spring. Any registered 2024-25 Universal Preschool provider who enters into a new Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) fiscal agreement with a county between January 1, 2024 and June 15, 2024 will be eligible to receive a one-time $2,000 bonus. Applications for the bonus will be sent directly to all eligible providers in March.

Colorado Department of Early Childhood Awards $15.3 Million to 1,141 Universal Preschool Colorado Providers through Capacity Building Grants

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood recently awarded 1,141 Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado providers more than $15.3 million in the first round of Capacity Building Grants using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that were requested in the Governor’s Budget and approved by the legislature. The Capacity Building Grants fund education materials and supplies, health care materials and supplies, technology, furniture, and site infrastructure.

Colorado Selected by Early Childhood Developmental Health Systems (ECDHS): Evidence to Impact Center to Advance Equity- and Family-Centered Early Childhood Systems

Colorado is one of three implementation sites selected for a multi-year effort to advance statewide systems of comprehensive early childhood developmental (ECD) promotion, prevention, screening, and intervention. The project is awarded by the Early Childhood Developmental Health Systems (ECDHS): Evidence to Impact Center (the Center), a technical assistance partnership led by ZERO TO THREE and funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Nearly 27,500 Families Accepted Matches in First Two Rounds of Universal Preschool Colorado, Saving Coloradans $164.7 Million

With the first two rounds of Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado complete, 27,457 families have accepted their provider matches and their children will attend the state-funded high-quality, voluntary mixed delivery preschool program this fall. Between the first two rounds, 90.7 percent of children were matched to any of their chosen providers and 78.6 percent of families were matched to their first choice.

Nearly 25,000 Families Matched with a Provider in First Round of Universal Preschool Colorado, Saving Nearly $150 Million

This afternoon, families who applied in the first round of Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado will receive an email from the state letting them know which provider they matched with and the next steps for enrollment. In total, 24,743 families who applied in the first application round (91.5 percent) were matched with one of the five providers they selected in their application, with 22,087 families of 4-year-olds being matched with their top choice.

CDEC Releases Plans for UPK Colorado Quality Standards Development

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) today announced the details surrounding the implementation of quality standards for year one of Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado, as well as the three phases to create quality standards and aligned supports beyond the inaugural year. During the first year of UPK Colorado in the 2023-24 school year, preschool providers are expected to maintain current quality and licensing practices. CDEC is developing quality standards to begin in Year 2 of the UPK Colorado program.

Thousands of Families Sign Up for UPK Colorado, Matches Will Be Released by April 26

Colorado’s voter-approved universal preschool program will launch this Fall, and free universal preschool is estimated to save families thousands of dollars every year and will put Colorado’s youngest learners on the path to success. Since launching the application for UPK Colorado this January, over 29,000 families have signed up to participate in the state-funded high-quality, voluntary mixed delivery preschool program available to every child in the year before they are eligible to enter kindergarten.