By: Madlynn Ruble
Deputy Director of Communications
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is sharing resources to support families and parents looking for or utilizing childcare around the state. These resources are available through the Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement Program. Colorado Shines connects Colorado families with licensed, quality childcare programs in their community and resources to support early learning.
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Many parents and families can feel overwhelmed when selecting childcare, and may not know the questions to ask a childcare provider. CDHS created a guide to help families choose a program that suits their needs. The guide includes questions to ask of a provider, as well as a checklist of what to look for in the areas of health and safety, teacher-child interactions, environmental basics, and daily activities.
“We want all parents to feel confident and enabled to ask questions of their childcare providers to ensure children are getting the best care,” said OEC Office Director Mary Anne Snyder. “When it comes to choosing a childcare program, you have options, and we want to be a resource when you make these important decisions. We are proud of the variety of quality and safe providers in Colorado, which are laying the foundation for lifelong success for our children.”
“The state of Colorado licenses child care programs to make sure they meet health and safety requirements. Licensed child care programs are inspected every year,” said Director of Child Care Licensing, Carin Rosa. “Licensed childcare is the best, safest option for your child. The early years of life – from birth to age eight – are very important for learning and development, so it’s important that children are with caring adults who ensure they are safe and able to participate in a variety of activities that help them learn.”
- Visit programs in-person and talk with the providers.
- Talk to your child’s provider regularly about how your child is doing at home and in childcare.
- Ask questions like “Is your program licensed by the State of Colorado?” and “What training have you and your staff had?”
- Look for their license posted in plain view, a daily schedule, and that each child has a safe place to sleep, a place to store belongings, and that the space is warm and inviting.
- Your provider should always allow you to have access to your child regardless of the time of day. Visit your childcare at different hours of the day if you can.
The Colorado Shines website has more information, including types of childcare, a program search tool, and resources for families. It is available in English and Spanish. Families may also call the Child Care Referral at Mile High United Way at 1-877-338-2273 or text ‘childcare referral’ to 898-211 to find quality care and learn more about the availability of care.
If families prefer to speak to someone, the Colorado Shines Child Care Resource & Referral phone line provides assistance in English or Spanish, Monday – Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Call 1.877.338.2273 or text ‘childcare referral’ to 898-211.
If you have concerns about a child care program or if you see something concerning, call the childcare complaint line at 1-800-799-5876. If you suspect child abuse or neglect, call the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437). Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.