Programs to Support Families
Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Developmental Delays
The Early Intervention (EI) Colorado program provides support and services to children who have developmental needs from birth through 2 years of age.
The goal of EI services is to help improve a child’s ability to develop and learn while providing families with assistance in finding new ways to support and promote their children’s development within their day-to-day activities. The services provided by EI Colorado are based on the specific needs of the child and the priorities of the family, but may include speech therapy, physical therapy and other developmental services.
EI Colorado is a voluntary program and does not discriminate based on race, culture, religion, income level or disability. Parents and caregivers can request a free evaluation and/or assessment at any time, which will provide information about the child’s development and determine whether the child is eligible for EI services and support.
Visit the EI Colorado website for additional program information and resources.
The Colorado Department of Education developed a website dedicated to providing information on special education issues, practices and resources to families who have children ages 0-21 years old with disabilities.
Family Resource Centers
Family Resource Centers serve as a single point-of-entry for providing comprehensive, intensive and integrated state and community-based services to vulnerable families, individuals, children and youth. The program services consist of family development and family support and parent education guided by the following principles:
- All families have strengths.
- Colorado needs healthy and cohesive families.
- Families are best served by a local family resource center who prioritizes their community’s needs.
- Family resource centers work best in collaboration with public and private entities.
- Family resource centers provide safe and engaging environments.
View the Family Support Programs Referral List for a list of all Family Resource Center Program partners.
Child Maltreatment Prevention
This framework is designed as a tool to guide strategic thinking, at the state and local level, about resource investments to prevent child maltreatment and promote child well-being. As this tool is used collectively across the state, the resulting alignment of strategies will maximize the impact on shared outcomes.
Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development (NHSD) is a 2- to 3-hour introductory workshop developed to foster healthy, nurturing relationships that support the healthy growth and development of children. Designed for parents, teachers, early childhood educators, child care providers, home visitors, and community members, the workshop addresses the following topics:
- Normal sexual development in children
- Types of child sexual abuse
- The Range of sexual behaviors
- Facts and myths about abuse
- Signs of sexual abuse
- Answering children’s questions
- Responding to sexual behavior in children
Contact Illuminate Colorado for more information or to complete the training.
Stewards of Children
Stewards of Children is a 2-hour facilitator-led training program that is intended to prevent child sexual abuse. The goal of the program is to give parents, organization administrators, staff and volunteers solutions on how to implement effective prevention policies, recognize signs of sexual abuse in children, and react responsibly if abuse occurs.
Organizations and parents can expect to leave the training with an increased awareness of the prevalence of child sexual abuse, initiatives to facilitate positive change to current policies and procedures, and an individual commitment to creating a personal plan to successfully prevent potential child sexual abuse in the future.
Contact Illuminate Colorado for more information or to complete the training.
Home Visiting Programs
Healthy Steps for Young Children
Healthy Steps is a free, voluntary program that helps families understand what to expect from their developing children and offers information to help them meet the next developmental or behavioral challenge. The program pairs a Healthy Steps Specialist with families with children ages birth to 3. Specialists meet with families in their pediatrician’s office, as well as occasionally visiting the family at home. Families enrolled in Healthy Steps may receive services for up to 3 years. The goal is to promote positive perception of changes in their child’s behavior.
In order to enroll in the program, children must receive pediatric care from a provider implementing Healthy Steps. View the Family Support Programs Referral List for a list of medical providers offering Healthy Steps.
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is a free, voluntary school readiness program that helps you prepare your 3- to 5-year-old children for success. HIPPY is a peer-delivered program where trained home visitors provide weekly home visits, working with you one-on-one. The program also provides monthly group meetings, where you and your children can socialize and meet other families in your community, and a resource network to connect your family with resources that meet your specific needs.
Families typically enroll in HIPPY for at least one school year. Many families continue enrollment for two or three school years. The program works toward two main goals to maximize your child’s chances of successful early school experiences:
To empower and train parents to act as the primary educators of their children in the home.
To encourage parent involvement in the school and community.
View the Family Support Programs Referral List to find a HIPPY program in your community.
Nurse-Family Partnership is a free, voluntary program that pairs first-time low-income mothers with highly-trained nurses. The nurses serve as mentors, developing close relationships with the mothers and conducting home visits from pregnancy until the baby turns 2 years old. Nurses provide support and education to improve pregnancy outcomes. They coach the mother on child health and development and encourage economic self-sufficiency for the family.
Nurse Family Partnership is available in every county in Colorado. View the Family Support Programs Referral List to find a Nurse Family Partnership program in your community.
Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a free, voluntary parent education and family support program serving families from pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten to ensure school readiness and healthy child development. PAT pairs trained Parent Educators with families and delivers services once or twice per month in their homes or a place of their choosing. Families typically enroll in PAT for at least one year. Many families continue enrollment for multiple years and some families are enrolled from pregnancy until kindergarten entry. Parent Educators focus on the following four components:
- Empowering parents to become their child's first and most important teacher.
- Group meetings designed to relay important information and offer parents opportunities to interact and support one another.
- Health and developmental screening.
- Partnering with parents to demonstrate activities parents can do with their child to optimize the child's brain development and health by combining nurturing parenting techniques with activities, stories, songs, and games.
- Resource network to connect families with resources that meet their specific needs.
View the Family Support Programs Referral List to find a PAT program in your community.
SafeCare® Colorado is a flexible, free, and voluntary parent support program designed for parents and caregivers with children ages 5 and under.
The program, which typically takes 18 to 20 sessions (about 4-6 months) to complete, allows parent support providers to help parents and caregivers build on their existing skills to help manage challenging child behaviors, identify and remove common household hazards, and understand their children’s health needs. Parent support providers use a proven process tailored to the age of the child and specific to the family’s needs to help parents and caregivers achieve measurable progress in the areas of parent-child interactions, home safety and child health.
SafeCare® Colorado can be provided as a stand-alone program or in conjunction with other services. Partner agencies may provide services to families participating in SafeCare® Colorado to ensure at-risk families have multiple advocates working on their behalf to provide coordinated care and help prevent child abuse and neglect.
Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health Supports
The Colorado Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Specialists is a free program that helps early care and learning providers create nurturing environments and relationships that support mental health and well-being among children and families.
The ECMH Specialists program builds the knowledge and skills of early care and learning providers to support children’s social-emotional development and early mental health. The program seeks to identify children with mental health concerns early in life and connect them to the appropriate support and follow up.
Find an ECMH Specialist or view more information about the ECMH Specialists program. To learn more about the ECMH Specialists program and how it can benefit the children and families in your program, view the fact sheet.
- Colorado Early Learning & Development Guidelines: Activities, ideas and videos to help support all aspects of a child’s healthy development.
- ZERO TO THREE: Tips to support social-emotional development from renowned national early childhood resource.
- Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: Information, tools and resources for parents and professionals.
- Mental Health Consultation Tool: This interactive tool from Head Start helps early childhood mental health consultants build their skills and knowledge.
Other Resources to Support Families
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Child Find and Preschool Special Education
Colorado Coalition for Homeless Families (Housing, Child Care, Health Care and Other Supports)
Colorado PEAK (Program Eligibility and Application Kit)
Family Planning Clinics
Head Start and Early Head Start
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Child Health Plan Plus (Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program
Both genetics and experiences play a role in a child’s brain development. “Serve and return” relationships, where adults promote positive interaction, aid social and emotional development and critical thinking skills.
That is why we believe in providing support not only for children, but for their families as well. As an early childhood professional or advocate, you play an important role in connecting families to programs. Please note that all programs are not currently available statewide.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education (June 2016). High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce, Low Compensation Undermines Quality.