Early Childhood Council of Larimer County (ECCLC) engages in 5-year planning cycles, and has just completed the first year of the 2020-2025 plan. Each 5-year plan reflects the priorities of Larimer County’s early childhood community, and the 2020-2025 plan focuses on convening community partners to work collaboratively to:
- Broaden and diversify a qualified and well-compensated early childhood workforce
- Increase the number of families that can access and afford quality child care
- Elevate and support community involvement and investment in quality early childhood experiences
- Collaborate with families and community organizations to address and break down barriers to accessing services
- Support infant and early childhood mental health and social emotional development
Early Childhood Council of Larimer County made significant progress on the benchmarks set for our five year plan. Key highlights from FY2020-2021 include:
Early Childhood Workforce:
- ECCLC provided scholarships for higher education to 86 prospective early childhood education (ECE) providers during the 2020-2021 year totaling more than $54,000. Additionally, ECCLC partnered with Front Range Community College Foundation to expand access with their scholarship matching program, which increased our scholarship giving by another $15,000 in matching funds.
Child Care Quality and Affordability:
- Early Childhood Coaches supported quality child care for 40 early care and education programs with $100,000+ in quality improvement funding and more than 800 hours of direct coaching. Twelve programs went through a virtual Colorado Shines rating during this fiscal year.
- For the third time, ECCLC was awarded an Early Milestones Early Childhood Workforce Innovation Grant to focus on policy-level solutions to ECE access and compensation.
Community Involvement and Investment:
- ECCLC partnered with the United Way of Larimer County to support the establishment of the Larimer County Childcare Fund, a scholarship program for families struggling to afford care. The fund has garnered more than $500k from donors to support this effort.
- ECCLC partnered with consultants Cody Belzley and Lynea Hansen to lead a county-wide policy research process aimed at determining the feasibility of a local ballot campaign to fund the early childhood system. The 17-member cross-sector steering committee voted in June of 2021 to request that our County Commissioners refer a ballot measure in November of 2021, which if successful, would more than double our local investment in ECE.
- ECCLC launched Larimer Child Care Connect (LC3) in September of 2020 to support families with realtime access to child care openings county-wide. More than 1,000 local families have accessed the referral portal since its release last year.
Early Childhood Mental Health and Social Emotional Development:
- ECCLC integrated the Leap Coalition into a full-fledged program area of the Council, and increased the funding we dedicate to early childhood mental health in Larimer County by more than 400%.