Divisions of Early Care and Learning | Frequently Asked Questions and Resources, COVID-19

  • General and Operational FAQ's

    What are the current group size requirements?  

    On June 3, 2020,  Governor Polis announced that certain child care providers in Colorado may return to regular group sizes and licensed capacity as stated in Colorado child care licensing rules beginning Thursday, June 4. 

    This guidance is applicable to child care centers, family child care homes, and building-based school-age child care programs only. It is not applicable to camps. More information for camps is available below.

    More information about current guidelines in child care facilities can be found on CDPHE's COVID-19 website.

    A guide for child care providers on thinking through class composition and teacher assignments from the OEC can be found here. Para Español haga clic aquí.

    How do I quickly become licensed to temporarily accommodate school-age children?

    It’s is possible that your program may be eligible to be licensed with a provisional license. Programs must meet the requirements of the fire department, health department and zoning; have required background checks, have qualified staff, required training, and children’s records and staff records. Reach out to the assigned Licensing Specialist in your area for assistance.  

    What about guidance for summer camps?

    All overnight camps, including exempt overnight camps operating for less than 72 hours; and day camps, including mobile and outdoor camps, and exempt single skill-building camps, must operate with restrictions and strong precautionary measures, as specified in the guidance below.
     

    CDPHE Guidance for Residential Camps.

    CDPHE Guidance for Children's Day Camps and Youth Sports Camps

    Is the guidance in the Safer at Home EO recommended or required? 

    The public health order implements the requirements from Executive Order D 2020 044 Safer at Home, and the guidance materials then provide additional explanation.  Reading the public health order carefully will provide a better understanding of what is required, and unless the terms used are optional, such as may, urged or encouraged, the actions listed in the public health order are required.


    How should child care providers determine if they should close?

    On March 18, 2020, the Governor issued an executive order that required all schools in Colorado to “suspend normal, in-person instruction” from March 23 to April 17. This includes public preschools on public school campuses. 

    The executive order also directed local public health agencies to work with child care providers and preschools not operated by P-12 schools to determine if it is safe to continue operations.

    Note that Amended Executive Order D 2020 035 has changed the minimum time period a child care facility must close if there is a positive or suspected case of COVID-19 in a student, parent of a student, or staff member at the facility from 72 hours to 24 hours. During this closure a facility should conduct a thorough cleaning as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

    According to CDPHE, open child care facilities must ensure the guidelines provided by the CDC and CDPHE are implemented to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Both the CDC and CDPHE continue to update their webpages with guidance on cleaning, preparedness, closure and much more. These public health resources remain the best source of information to ensure the safety of children and staff. 


    What cleaning procedures should child care providers follow to help limit the spread of COVID-19?

    Facilities should follow cleaning procedures as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This resource remains the best source of information to ensure the safety of children and staff. 
     

    Should children and providers wear masks and gloves in child care facilities? 

    Updated information from CDPHE regarding masks in child care facilities can be found on their page related to schools and child care facilities

    Public Health Order 20 26 requires workers in critical businesses (including child care) to wear non-medical face coverings while working, and provides additional guidance on the use of gloves. More information is available here
     

    Where can child care programs get personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies?

    The Department ordered 33,000 masks for child care staff and has partnered with the Early Childhood Councils to distribute these and other supplies to providers. They should be available the first week of May. Child care programs should reach out to their local Early Childhood Council to obtain masks.

    PPE is also available through Energize Colorado's PPE marketplace. Visit energizecolorado.com to learn more about the PPE Marketplace and a whole host of other services and supports to help get Colorado back up and running again.

    Essential baby supplies, including formula, diapers and baby wipes, are being distributed to local Family Resource Centers and food banks throughout Colorado. These regional locations will help arrange the distribution of supplies to child care providers and families in need. If you are in need of these items, please click here to find the contact information for the local distribution site closest to you.
     

    Is food assistance available?

    Yes. Providers can access food assistance through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). More information is available here.   

    If you are a Family Child Care Home, please view the CACFP Cost  Help for Family Child Care Homes flyer.

    For a list of CACFP sponsors in your area (you will need to contact a sponsor to apply) click HERE.
     

    Can mothers nurse in child care program buildings?

    Nursing mothers should be accommodated as much as possible.  A quiet space away from other children that also can provide social distancing should be provided. CDC guidance to promote and support breastfeeding is available here.   


    Where can I find updates on COVID-19 and learn more about how to respond to the virus?

    For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Colorado please visit the State’s COVID-19 website, covid19.colorado.gov.

    Any questions or concerns surrounding COVID-19 should be directed to CDPHE's Colorado Health Emergency Line for the Public (CO HELP)  at 303.389.1687 or 1.877.462.2911, for answers in many languages, or COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.
  • Certification, Training and Consultation FAQ's

    What do I do if my CPR/First Aid training or certifications is due to expire? 

    CPR/First Aid classes have now resumed with small in person training.  Here is a link to the approved CPR/First Aid vendor list, on our website to assist with finding a trainer. Find a trainer.

    Can my Child Care Health Consultant visit my program remotely during the Safer at Home period? 

    Yes, this is strongly recommended. Child Care Health Consultants are encouraged to visit programs remotely using TeleHealth or other video-based consulting services. 

    If I am an Early Childhood Consultant should I be completing consultations or visits in person at child care facilities during COVID?

    Licensing Specialists, and Health Inspectors are only visiting facilities for certain necessary circumstances.  In order to help keep child care programs safe, the Department is recommending all consultants such as Child Care Health Consultants, Early Childhood Coaches, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants and Child and Adult Care Food Program Consultants, and Quality Infant/Toddler Specialists, to not conduct in person visits. These roles are considered a 'special guest' for licensed child care programs, and should not go into programs for regular consultation. Instead, you can help keep child care programs safe by conducting virtual visits or through teleconsultation as much as possible.  

    Visitors to child care facilities may spread COVID-19. Recently, there have been reported cases of a visitor acting in a professional capacity spreading COVID-19 to the child care programs they visited while providing essential services.  This resulted in the programs needing to close for mandatory quarantine with a loss of income for those programs.  Limiting visitors will help reduce exposure to illnesses and COVID-19.  Child care is essential and our goal is to protect the children and staff in these facilities.  We ask all consultants to join in this effort to protect children and staff.


    Is the Office of Early Childhood still conducting fingerprinting and background checks? 

    Fingerprinting with Colorado Fingerprinting and IDEMIA is still continuing at this time. They are monitoring staffing needs daily and are adjusting as necessary. Due to the temporary suspension of fingerprinting at some locations, at this time it is best for individuals needing fingerprinting to reach out directly to the specific fingerprinting agency for the most up to date information. 

    Colorado Fingerprinting (833) 224-2227 OR (720) 292-2722 or IDEMIA (855) 845-7434 

    Are there remote training opportunities for the third edition of the Environmental Rating Scales (ERS-3)?

    Yes! The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) in collaboration with Clayton Early Learning has developed trainings on the ERS-3, including a self-paced online training series, and instructor-led eLearning trainings.

    These courses cover both the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3) and the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scales (ITERS-3), which are used in conjunction with the Colorado Shines Level 3-5 rating to support continuous quality improvement. Read more about the transition to the ERS-3 and the available trainings.
  • Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) FAQ's

    What are individual county policies regarding CCCAP?

    View a link here to learn more about policies in each county. 
     

    Are counties be able to continue to pay CCCAP providers who decided to close? 

    The Governor has issued an executive order that directs CDHS to access additional federal Child Care Development Funds to reimburse counties that pay providers through the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) for absences or closures as a result of COVID-19. The Governor has also encouraged counties to continue to fund CCCAP child care centers who are experiencing low attendance or temporary closures to ensure consistency for child care providers and to protect the vital role they play for children and families. The Department has identified funding for these provisions through June 2020, with the possibility of extension if the outbreak continues. 

    Are counties allowed to cover the cost of child care through CCCAP for school-age children in grades 1 through 12? 

    Due to recent federal guidance, counties may now authorize and pay for the care of school-age children while they are completing remote schoolwork as a part of the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP). 

    Child care providers may supplement or build on academic programming as long as it does not take the place of remote school instruction being provided through a public or private school. Counties may not pay for any educational services, including when a child care provider is acting as a teacher or would be conducting direct instruction that would result in academic credit. Read the full memo here.


    If a county wants to temporarily change its policy to accommodate the needs of providers and families in their community, what should they do? 

    Counties can submit a new County Rate Plan in CHATS or send an email to Tamara Schmidt, CCCAP Director at Tamara.Schmidt@state.co.us that provides a detailed explanation of what will be implemented and the effective dates.

    Are counties able to provide incentives to providers using CCQI money? If so, how would they access those funds?

    Incentive payments for providers are not allowed but a county can choose to transfer county TANF reserves to child care quality to provide support to providers for supplies or other necessary needs. This would be done through a quality transfer request
  • Early Childhood Council FAQ's

    How will the state and OEC ensure they communicate Colorado Shines updates to councils that support local programs?

    The Office of Early Childhood will continue to send regular communications and updates via the Weekly ECC and CCR&R newsletter and additional notices as needed. In addition, the QRIS team will be implementing regular check-in calls with councils. Please reach out to your QRIS Coordinator for more information.  


    If a provider chooses to stay open and children and/or families become ill are they legally liable? 

    Because child care programs have different liability coverage, providers are encouraged to talk with their insurance carriers to determine what their specific policy covers.   


    Where should I direct families who are in need of child care? 

    Early Childhood Councils should encourage families that have child care needs to contact Colorado Shines Child Care Referral using any of the following methods: 

    How can providers access needed supplies that may be hard to purchase at this time?

    Essential baby supplies, including formula, diapers and baby wipes, are being distributed to local Family Resource Centers and food banks throughout Colorado. These regional locations will help arrange the distribution of supplies to child care providers and families in need. If you are in need of these items, please click here to find the contact information for the local distribution site closest to you.


    Will changes be made to CCCAP reimbursements for providers to support providers if children aren’t attending?  

    The decision to reimburse CCCAP child care providers for additional absences is determined by County Human Services Departments. The Colorado Department of Human Services and the Office of Early Childhood are encouraging counties to maintain expanded absence payments through the month of June for all licensed providers, this would include providers that are open to care for children or providers that have had to close temporarily.

    We also want to encourage county offices to gather information from child care providers that have not yet reopened regarding if they intend to reopen in the coming weeks.  The Department recommends that as of July 1, 2020 expanded absences only be paid to providers that have reopened to provide child care services to CCCAP families unless the county has identified that a child care provider has extenuating circumstances hindering their ability to reopen in July.   
     
  • Funding Opportunities for Child Care Programs and Professionals 

    Sustainability Grants from the Office of Early Childhood

    Grants from $1,000 - $3,000 are available for open and operating child care programs, in response to the financial impacts of COVID-19. The deadline to update program information and receive a grant is August 20. 

    Click here to apply and for more details

    Facilities Improvement Funding Available for Family Child Care Homes in Colorado

    To address the declining number of licensed slots within family child care homes and to improve quality within home-based learning environments, the Buell Foundation granted funds to the Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance (ECCLA) to provide facility improvement funding to family child care homes. 

    Applications are due by August 28, 2020. Download the application, review frequently asked questions, and learn more about the current awardees here: www.ecclacolorado.org/fcchgrant.
     

    Preschool Development Grant Inclusion and Universal Design Program

    The Preschool Development Grant (PDG) Inclusion and Universal Design Program is looking for creative licensed child care centers and family child care homes with a passion for inclusion and diversity! The goals of this program are to expand Colorado’s child care provider capacity and ensure children with a wide variety of delays and disabilities are included in these settings. In the first phase of this project, implemented by the Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering through the University of Colorado Denver, 25 applicants will be offered training, technical assistance, and kits containing equipment and resources to support the development of inclusive learning environments.

    This program is supported by the Colorado Department of Human Services - Office of Early Childhood’s PDG Unit.

    For more information, review the program description. Any licensed center or family child care home who is interested in applying should complete this application prior to August 16, 2020.

    **If we receive more than 25 applicants, we will prioritize providers serving underserved and vulnerable populations (i.e. accepting CCCAP) and community-based providers. Priority will also be given to ensure a variety of child care settings including homes and centers, and rural v. urban communities.**

    Future Opportunities Through the Preschool Development Grant

    Additional opportunities for funding and support through PDG will be available in late August and into the fall, including:

    Business Supports for Child Care Providers - The Office of Early Childhood is partnering with the State's Office of Economic Development and International Trade to enhance the business acumen of licensed child care providers. This effort will promote business planning and sustainability to improve access to high-quality child care programs.
    Child Care Start-up and Expansion Micro Grants - The Office of Early Childhood is partnering with Early Childhood Councils to administer Child Care Start-up and Expansion Micro Grants to prospective/new child care programs and existing child care programs across the state. The micro grants will assist with expenses related to becoming licensed for the first time or expanding an existing licensed child care program.

    Child Development Associate (CDA) Scholarships - In August 2020, the Office of Early Childhood will release the application for Child Development Associate (CDA) Scholarships for new CDA candidates and renewal candidates. Funding will support training costs and assessment fees for approximately 220 new CDA candidates and assessment fees for approximately 70 candidates.

    For questions related to the three above upcoming opportunities through the PDG, please contact cdhs_pdg@state.co.us.

    Other Future Opportunities

    Energize Colorado Gap Fund - The Energize Colorado Gap Fund will provide more than $25M in small business loans and grants to boost small business enterprises that are the economic engines throughout the state.  The application is not currently available, it will launch in August and will be accessible through this web page. Sign up here to receive updates about the Gap Fund.


     

  • Supply Assistance for Child Care Programs

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Other Supplies

    The Department ordered 33,000 masks for child care staff and has partnered with the Early Childhood Councils to distribute these and other supplies to providers. Child care programs should reach out to their local Early Childhood Council to obtain masks.

    PPE is also available through Energize Colorado's PPE marketplace. Visit energizecolorado.com to learn more about the PPE Marketplace and a whole host of other services and supports to help get Colorado back up and running again.


    Essential Baby Supplies 

    Essential baby supplies, including formula, diapers and baby wipes, are being distributed to local Family Resource Centers and food banks throughout Colorado. These regional locations will help arrange the distribution of supplies to child care providers and families in need. If you are in need of these items, please click here to find the contact information for the local distribution site closest to you.
     

    Food Assistance

    Providers can access food assistance through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). More information is available here.   

    If you are a Family Child Care Home, please view the CACFP Cost  Help for Family Child Care Homes flyer.

    For a list of CACFP sponsors in your area (you will need to contact a sponsor to apply) click HERE.

     

    Sustainability Grants 

    The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) of 2020 allocated supplemental funds to the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) to support child care as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

    Grants from $1,000 - $3,000 are available for open and operating child care programs, in response to the financial impacts of COVID-19. The deadline to update program information and receive a grant is August 20. Click here to apply and for more details

Guidance for Individuals Hosting and Families Participating in Instructional Learning Pods

As families consider care and learning environments for children this school year, whether it be a child care home or center, a school district building, a learning pod, or informal groups of children doing virtual learning together, it is important to consider the health and safety of these environments for children. 

The Office of Early Childhood in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education created this resource guide to support individuals hosting and families participating in temporary instructional learning pods. Share this guide with programs and families in your community. Individuals hosting learning pods are also encouraged to register their learning pod here

Guidance for Child Care Programs During COVID-19

Child care programs provide an essential support for children in their care as well as for working families. Use this guide to update your program's practices in response to COVID-19.

La salud y la seguridad de los niños,las familias, el personal y los proveedores de cuidado infantil son de suma importancia. Utilice esta guía para actualizar las prácticas de sus programas en respuesta al COVID-19.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are asking that all licensed child care providers register their current operating status with the Department as soon as possible. This includes whether you are open or temporarily closed, as well as other information about open operating capacity such as classroom and available staff. You can register your current status on the Colorado Shines website here.

Update | September 2, 2020 

If I am an Early Childhood Consultant should I be completing consultations or visits in person at child care facilities during COVID?

Licensing Specialists, and Health Inspectors are only visiting facilities for certain necessary circumstances.  In order to help keep child care programs safe, the Department is recommending all consultants such as Child Care Health Consultants, Early Childhood Coaches, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants and Child and Adult Care Food Program Consultants, and Quality Infant/Toddler Specialists, to not conduct in person visits. These roles are considered a 'special guest' for licensed child care programs, and should not go into programs for regular consultation. Instead, you can help keep child care programs safe by conducting virtual visits or through teleconsultation as much as possible.  

Visitors to child care facilities may spread COVID-19. Recently, there have been reported cases of a visitor acting in a professional capacity spreading COVID-19 to the child care programs they visited while providing essential services.  This resulted in the programs needing to close for mandatory quarantine with a loss of income for those programs.  Limiting visitors will help reduce exposure to illnesses and COVID-19.  Child care is essential and our goal is to protect the children and staff in these facilities.  We ask all consultants to join in this effort to protect children and staff.


Update | August 17, 2020 

How do I quickly become licensed to temporarily accommodate school-age children?

It’s is possible that your program may be eligible to be licensed with a provisional license. Programs must meet the requirements of the fire department, health department and zoning; have required background checks, have qualified staff, required training, and children’s records and staff records. Reach out to the assigned Licensing Specialist in your area for assistance.