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CHI Breaks New Ground in Early Childhood Education Research

Press Release

Colorado Health Institute Breaks New Ground in Early Childhood Education Research

For Immediate Release
March 3, 2020

The state of Colorado needs licensed care for another 39,000 children to meet the needs of the state’s families, according to new research by the Colorado Health Institute (CHI).

CHI built a first-of-its-kind Child Care Model to offer a new look at how Colorado’s youngest children are being cared for today — and how the system would have to change to meet parents’ preferred choices for care.

The Child Care Model also revealed that only a third of infants whose parents want licensed child care are obtaining it today. And an estimated 10% of parents who care for their children full time say they could go back to work if they could find affordable care.

CHI performed the work for the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood (OEC), as part of the needs assessment for the Colorado Shines Brighter Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five.

The research informed a statewide birth through five strategic plan and helped the state secure a three-year, $33.5 million grant from the federal Administration for Children and Families and the US Department of Education.

CHI surveyed 3,400 Colorado parents and conducted 19 focus groups around the state in the course of developing the Child Care Model.

The needs assessment is posted on the OEC’s website and available for download through CHI’s site.

The project built on CHI’s recent research into early childhood. It reflects the expansion of CHI’s research portfolio into the social factors that influence health.

“We know the first years of life have a profound influence on a person’s lifelong health. That’s why the Colorado Health Institute is interested in early childhood education,” said Michele Lueck, CHI’s president and CEO. “Our partnership with the Office of Early Childhood will help Colorado get a handle on the size of our unfilled needs in child care so we can get to work on helping families in our state.”

Founded in 2002, CHI is an independent, non-profit research organization that provides decision support and policy research on health topics to state and local officials, foundations, advocates, and health care providers. CHI is known for bringing insights form quantitative and qualitative analysis to bear on the most pressing issues affecting the health of Coloradans.

As interest has grown in the social factors that affect health, CHI has identified housing and early childhood as two fields in which to apply its skills in order to help more Coloradans have the opportunity to be as healthy as they can be.

Previous work by CHI on housing and early childhood includes a 2018 examination of early childhood mental health titled Risk, Reach, and Resources, and a 2019 report about equity in housing for the Colorado Trust’s Health Equity Advocacy Cohort.

For more information

Contact Joe Hanel, communications director

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