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Denver's Early Childhood Council

Help young children in Denver thrive! Your donation helps ensure ALL children have equitable access to high quality child care, early learning experiences, and social emotional support services.

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Quality Initiatives

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Infants/Young Children (birth - 3 years)
Parents
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Teachers

Description

The Council develops and leads Quality Initiatives (QI) in Denver's early learning sector. These initiatives enhance both the availability and the quality of early childhood care and education in Denver, ultimately improving children's school readiness and child outcomes by coordinating targeted resources to early care and education providers such as onsite coaching, training, quality learning materials, technology, professional development and technical assistance.

The Council is a contracted provider of coaching and quality administration services for the Denver Preschool Program (DPP) and Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood. The quality initiatives serve over 400 licensed early care and education programs. Early care and education providers participating in the Council's quality initiatives participate in the Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). The quality rating helps ensure that investments are targeting child care needs in Denver communities in addition to impacting quality and child outcomes.

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Evidence of Program's Success

68% of eligible Denver child care/early learning programs are engaged in the state's quality improvement and rating (Colorado Shines) system by accessing Quality Improvement resources. This includes licensed child care centers, licensed family child care homes, public school ECE programs.

53% of participating child care/early learning programs have achieved a high Colorado Shines quality rating (Level 3-5).




Systems Building/Child Health & Well-Being

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children birth to age 3
Families
Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Teachers

Description

Early Childhood Systems Building includes efforts around increasing availability, quality, and accessibility of services for children and families and increasing the capacity of early learning providers. This is accomplished through public will building, fostering strategic learning and collaboration, and system-wide data analysis to build the foundations of a thriving early childhood system in Denver.

The Council works strategically with community, nonprofit, governmental, foundation and corporate partners to align policies and create more accessible, affordable, equitable and culturally responsive early childhood services.

Examples of program activities include hosting monthly policy and program taskforce groups, convening home visitation partners and the newly launched Metro Denver Early Childhood Sector Partnership, supporting implementation of the Denver Public Schools Road to Reading, participation on local policy advisory groups (such as the Denver Human Services Welfare Reform Board, Kinship 2GO Program Advisory Council and the Denver Children's Cabinet), and participation in state-wide and national early childhood leadership coalitions (such as EC-LINC and the Pritzker Children's Initiative National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers).

With significant implementation experience and a broad level of engagement, staff members are frequently called upon to participate in policy efforts at the Capitol, advisory committees, strategic programmatic planning for state and local funding partners, and other advocacy efforts with statewide implications. In addition to the tracking of successful policy implementation/change, evaluation indicators also include signed cooperative agreements and MOUs with local governmental and service partners (including an active annual agreement with the Denver Department of Human Services and a pending agreement with the Mayor's Office of Children's Affairs).

The Council continues to serve as lead partner for LAUNCH Together, a child health & well-being collaborative funded by eight foundations. In close partnership with Denver Public Health, Denver Children's Advocacy Center, and the Mental Health Center of Denver, this four-year grant focuses on building a coordinated system of trauma-informed organizations and social-emotional supports for young children birth-to-5 years old in targeted high needs neighborhoods, particularly in Southwest Denver.



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Evidence of Program's Success

Through LAUNCH, over 300 participants attended trainings in fiscal year 2018-19 on themes of Conscious Discipline, Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors), Pyramid Plus Approach, trauma-informed care, and similar topics. Trainings and meetings are held in Spanish and English, with Spanish-speaking events showing the highest turnout.

Additionally, Council staff were able to reach over 300 parents and caregivers with information about social-emotional health resources at community events in Southwest Denver.

The Metro Denver Early Childhood Sector Partnership is gaining national attention for its leadership and innovation role.



Career Pathways/Professional Development

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Children birth to age 3
Families
Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Teachers

Description

One of the most critical driving factors for positive early childhood outcomes and school readiness is the presence of early childhood professionals who provide emotionally supportive environments and language-rich interactions for young children. The Council offers a wide range of training and education resources for professionals who care for children, including trainings focused on child development, health/safety practices, social-emotional support, quality improvement, and many more topics tied to workforce competencies.

The Career Pathways team takes a diversified, holistic approach to professional development, meeting each professional where they are, with the goal of getting them where they want to be.

Because of the diverse needs of professionals in early childhood, there is a current effort towards creating more individualized supports that have the flexibility to meet these needs. We believe that fully supporting each individual through their professional journey will make a significant impact in transforming the local early childhood workforce.

Now in its second year, Denver's Early Childhood Workforce Initiative is a pilot program being led by the Council, addressing the systemic improvement of recruitment, retention and compensation for early childhood teachers. This program is designed to address the workforce shortage crisis and provide a clear pathway to self-sufficiency in a long-term early childhood career, while placing participants in high-quality, high-need areas.

The initiative involves collaboration with several complementary partners, including the Denver Office of Economic Development and Opportunity, Community College of Denver, Focus Points Community Resource Center, Denver Public Library, The Spring Institute and Clayton Early Learning.




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Evidence of Program's Success

At the end of year ONE of Denver's Early Childhood Workforce Initiative, 83% of participants had secured permanent teaching positions and were on track to be earning a higher wage than when they began the program. 70% of participating programs reported improved classroom ratios.

Other measures:
Just over 3200 early childhood professionals earned a credential issued by the Colorado Department of Education in fiscal year 2018-19.

Over 840 unique individuals attended over 720 hours of trainings hosted by the Council in fiscal year 2018-19.

Early childhood professionals earning a credential issued by the Colorado Department of Education increased 16% over the course of the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.