This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.
In the coming months, Colorado officials will send a new stream of federal money to the state’s child care providers and others working in early childhood.
Those dollars — $119 million — come from a $10 billion early childhood allocation in the second federal stimulus package passed by Congress in December. Colorado early childhood leaders unveiled their plans for the money during an online town hall meeting April 8.
In addition to helping the battered child care industry recover from the pandemic, they said the money is intended to help the state prepare for the launch of universal 4-year-old preschool in the fall of 2023.
Four of the seven spending strategies discussed, including direct grants for child care providers, continue efforts that were begun with funds from the first federal coronavirus stimulus package. Three others, including innovation grants that focus on fixing difficult industry problems and efforts to mint thousands of new early childhood teachers, are new.
Overall, state officials estimated that at least 60% percent of the $119 million will go directly to child care providers across the state. The rest will go toward regional early childhood councils, community colleges, prospective early childhood teachers, and early childhood mental health consultants, among others.
“We’re really grateful to the federal government for stepping up … and especially carving out significant funding for early childhood,” said Scott Groginsky, an adviser to Gov. Jared Polis on early childhood issues.