Child Care Indoor Air Quality Improvement

The Need

Improving indoor air quality has been shown to have positive effects on children's physical health, behavior and educational success. In partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) provided grants to address the increased need for filtered indoor air due to factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires in Colorado. 

The Strategy 

The Indoor Air Quality Improvement Grants fund child care providers to update or replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. In addition to improving children's health, this activity helps child care providers save money through increased energy efficiency while implementing evidence-based COVID safety protocols. Families may be more likely to enroll children in care programs that use up-to-date health and safety systems. 

Applications were prioritized by need. Need is determined using the Colorado EnviroScreen which is an interactive justice mapping and health screening tool. 

Providers were encouraged to use their Stabilization bonus payment to complete any Improving Indoor Air Quality project by the spend down deadline of September 30, 2023. 

Key Outcomes and Learnings 


A total of 737 applications were received, positively impacting 463 classrooms. Out of the total applications, 357 were from child care centers, 357 were from home providers, and 23 were from school-age programs. 38 counties had at least one recipient of an Indoor Air Quality Improvement Grant. 

Awardees by Service Category: 

  • 193 child care centers 
  • 206 family child care 
  • 7 preschool programs 
  • 11 school-age programs 

Requests included: 

  • 284 awardees for portable HEPA units 
  • 291 for replacing existing units 
  • 78 for retrofitting existing units 
  • 83 for installation of new units


  • All application components should be available on one platform for convenience. 
  • A clearer explanation of licensing requirements, including square footage and classroom capacity, should be provided. 
  • CDEC will consider different service types and offer air purifier options that are suitable for all providers, as opposed to having widely varying options in terms of scope and cost. 
  • The grant should include the option of window replacement for eligible providers.

green gear labeled access and quality


Amount: $3,000,000 

Source: American Rescue Plan Stabilization 

Expiration: September 30, 2023

Next Steps

After the Indoor Air Quality applications closed, CDEC recommended the CDPHE program Clean Air for Schools to child care providers. As a result, between 710 and 800 providers will be able to continue to improve their indoor air quality.


colorado map depicting counties with providers receiving grants
This map shows counties who had at least one provider be approved to receive Indoor Air Quality Improvement Grant funding. This map is updated on a quarterly basis and reflects data as of the date of generation. Data is subject to change.