Between 2021 and 2022, the Colorado Department of Early Childhood received over $700 million in stimulus funding to strengthen Colorado’s early childhood sector. The Colorado Lab is coordinating the Early Childhood Evaluation Hub, contracting with multiple evaluation teams to conduct high-quality evaluations of more than a dozen prioritized stimulus-funded activities to ensure the goals of the activities are being met. Over the next several newsletters, we’re highlighting these stimulus activities and the selected evaluation teams.
Colorado Child Care Assistance for Families and Providers
Significant stimulus funding is directed to the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP). Increased funding for the long-standing program is intended to grow the ability of early childhood education programs for underserved families to address revenue gaps and remain open. Assistance is also provided to CCCAP-eligible families, with the aim of reducing financial hardship for more families so that they can better afford quality child care.
Spotlight on External Research Partner Dr. Andrew Brodsky
The Colorado Lab selected Brodsky Research and Consulting (BRC) to conduct this evaluation. Dr. Andrew Brodsky, who leads the BRC evaluation team, is a nationally-recognized expert in analyzing the costs and benefits of early childhood systems and child care quality initiatives.
The BRC evaluation team will access family participation data from CCCAP through the LINC system and conduct a sophisticated quantitative analysis to understand changes in family and provider CCCAP participation from before the pandemic to after stimulus funding became available. BRC will also conduct qualitative research, interviewing families, early childhood education providers, and county officials who administer CCCAP to gain a deeper understanding of approaches that are most effective in sustaining quality early childhood education programs and providing equitable access to families, particularly in under-resourced communities.
“We know there is huge value when young children participate in high-quality learning programs,” Brodsky said. “It is critical for parents who simply cannot be in the workforce without child care. It also benefits the early childhood sector, providing jobs that pay a living wage and boosting the economy. Most importantly, it
provides lifelong benefits for children. We’re excited to learn more about the specific approaches that help to make CCCAP work most effectively for Colorado families, the early childhood workforce, and the state’s economy.”