We know Colorado prospers when all children are valued, healthy and thriving. Creating a shared vision and pathways for collaboration is key to building successful early childhood systems and ultimately, a successful Colorado. The Early Childhood Colorado Framework promotes a shared vision for communities to better integrate and align efforts to ensure all children reach their developmental potential and succeed in school and in life. Originally developed in 2008 as a resource guide for comprehensive early childhood systems work in Colorado, the Framework has been used by state and local early childhood stakeholders as a resource to help identify needs, guide planning and decision making and build partnerships. Colorado’s innovative and bold leadership in securing investments, increasing efficiencies and launching new initiatives for early childhood inspired leaders to refresh this valuable tool.

Framework Successes

From local communities across Colorado to nonprofits to state agencies, the Framework has been and continues to be a resource and guide to comprehensive early childhood systems work. Learn how partners are using the Framework to spur community conversations and foster collaborative strategies to increase the quality, access and equity of services and supports for young children and families.

Montelores Early Childhood Council serving Montezuma and Dolores Counties including the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation

“The Montelores Early Childhood Council has embraced the Early Childhood Colorado Framework as a very important part of the work that we do. It has been critically relevant in all aspects of our systems building work, particularly in the area of strategic planning. Because the Framework clearly delineates and illustrates the difference among goals, outcomes, and strategies, all council members, from newbies to veteran members, can grasp these fundamentals and thus participate at a high level of systems-building literacy. This alone promotes buy-in and ownership of strategic plans and initiatives. We have a framework link on our website and include a print copy in materials for new council partners.

The Framework has also helped us think strategically about proposed actions in terms of their effects on our goals, mission, and vision. We use it to weigh whether an activity, proposal, strategy, etc. truly fits into the framework. We have recreated the framework to include the work that we do in each of the domains so that even those unfamiliar with council work can visually see how our work truly crosses domains.”

-Vangi McCoy (Executive Director, Montelores Early Childhood Council)

Early Childhood Council of Boulder County

“The publication of the Early Childhood Colorado Framework was a turning point for The Early Childhood Council of Boulder County (ECCBC). ECCBC used this Framework as a roadmap to incorporate Boulder County’s existing programs, services and values and expand it into a full logic model including goals, outcomes, strategies and success indicators. The cross-sector ECCBC Advisory Council put a ‘Boulder fingerprint’ on this document, meaning that community values as well as programs and services within Boulder County were incorporated into the ECCBC Early Childhood Framework.

As Executive Director of ECCBC, I use the Framework on a daily basis as an example of a collective impact in action…encompassing a common agenda (as defined by the collaborative itself), mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, specific success indicators by domain, and the critical nature of a backbone organization (ECCBC) whose sole purpose is to keep the collective impact collaboration focused on the common agenda of ensuring that all children arrive at school healthy and thriving. The credibility, visibility and impact that ECCBC has had across Boulder County was truly made possible through the publication of the initial State Framework in July 2008.”

-Bobbi Watson (Executive Director, Early Childhood Council Boulder County)

Denver Early Childhood Council

“The Early Childhood Colorado Framework has been a very useful tool for the Denver community since it was introduced in 2008. From the outset, all early childhood councils were engaged in efforts to share and communicate the Framework statewide. In sharing the Framework with our local partners and stakeholders, we were able to create a common language around the goals and outcomes of our early childhood systems building work.

Many conversations with stakeholders were started by pulling out the Framework and connecting the dots from their system to ours. In particular our work in Denver in the Health domain was jump-started by sharing the framework with health care providers so they could see how they could better connect children and families to early childhood resources.”

-Emily Bustos (Executive Director, Denver Early Childhood Council)

Qualistar Colorado

“In 2014, the Qualistar Colorado team began a process to update our strategic plan. Several factors impacted this decision, most notably the landmark changes taking place in Colorado’s early care and education field with Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge funding and the launch of Colorado Shines. The updated Early Childhood Colorado Framework served as the foundation of our planning, allowing us to focus on the “why” of our work - children. While Qualistar has always been known for pioneering one of the first Quality Rating Systems in the nation and for our relentless pursuit of high-quality, we realized that our mission would not be realized until all children have equitable access to affordable, quality care.

Within the Framework, we clearly see that Qualistar’s work is a part of the state’s larger theory of change. The Framework clearly illustrates that relationships, environment and systems work together simultaneously to help children develop to their full potential. We aligned our plan with the Framework so that we could clearly articulate where we connect to these supportive factors. While the child is the “why” of Qualistar’s work, our work focuses on the professionals in the system, assessment and support of quality learning environments, state and local policies, and reliable research to inform the field and classroom practice.”

-Kathryn Harris (President, Qualistar Colorado)

Office of Early Childhood, Colorado Department of Human Services

“As we set out to develop the Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Strategic Plan in early 2015, the efforts to refresh the Early Childhood Colorado Framework were in the forefront of our minds. The Framework had long provided a broad, organizing structure for the early childhood system in Colorado, and we considered our efforts to be an important part of that system. There was a need, however, to bring visibility, vitality and momentum to specific issues and opportunities related to early childhood mental health.

-Jordana Ash (Early Childhood Mental Health Director, Office of Early Childhood, Colorado Department of Human Services)