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Important Investment in services will help over 4,700 child care providers to continue serving families

On Friday, with so much of our economy tied to the ability of working parents to find safe and affordable childcare, the Polis administration and the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) joined in a shared effort to help keep and return parents to the workforce and move Colorado forward. They opened the noncompetitive application for Child Care Stabilization Grants, funded by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA).

The grants are a major funding initiative, amounting to $271 million available for distribution to childcare provider applicants.

A student completes a drawing during preschool class at the Buena Vista CMC location while it was in use by the school district. Photo courtesy of Buena Vista School District.

“For Colorado to move forward, we need to ensure hard-working parents and those returning to the workforce have the peace of mind that their children are receiving high-quality care and that our terrific childcare centers can thrive,” said Governor Jared Polis.

The Polis administration is making historic investments in services. Funding from the Stabilization Grants can be used by childcare providers to support their business and their workforce. For example, funding can be used for employee wages and benefits, facility rent or mortgage payments, health and sanitation supplies, mental health and counseling services for children and early educators, and more.

“Childcare providers are essential as Colorado continues to navigate and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michelle Barnes, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services. “This funding will help providers keep their doors open, giving families access to the safe, high-quality care they need to go to work or school.”

“Childcare providers have faced significant challenges for many years, challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated,” said Mary Alice Cohen, Director of the Colorado Office of Early Childhood. “With this funding, we are working towards stabilizing the childcare sector, so providers do not have to close. In combination with other strategies funded by state and federal stimulus funds, we can protect the current childcare industry in Colorado, and grow and strengthen it into the future.”

All open, licensed childcare providers who were in operation as of March 11, 2021 are eligible to receive a grant.

Providers who are not licensed but are qualified to care for children enrolled in the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP qualified exempt providers) are also eligible.

Providers who are approved for a state grant will receive nine equal monthly payments based on how many children they are licensed to care for and their Colorado Shines quality level. Total funding amounts range from $950 for small providers to nearly $160,000 for providers caring for more than 150 children and who have achieved the state’s highest Colorado Shines quality level.

Eligible childcare providers will receive an email with a unique link to the grant application. The process will take rolling applications and providers can apply at any time between now and Sept. 30, 2022 to begin receiving monthly payments. The first payment will go out by Feb. 11, 2022. To be included in that Feb. 11 payment, childcare providers must apply by Jan. 28, 2022.

Childcare providers with questions should visit the grant application help desk at help.coecstimulus.com. Additional information on the Child Care Stabilization grants and other early childhood stimulus opportunities can be accessed at coecstimulus.com

The mission of the Colorado Office of Early Childhood is to support families and communities so every child thrives. To ensure all children are valued, healthy, and thriving, the Office of Early Childhood leads bold and innovative programming, removes barriers, and implements systems change.