Quality Initiatives


Denver’s Early Childhood Council helps child care programs access funds to enhance and sustain quality services for children and families. By connecting with the Council and applying for funds, the following resources become available to programs. Please note – availability of funds depend on a variety of factors, have certain open application periods during the year, and may include the following:

  • School Readiness Quality Improvement Program (SRQIP)
  • Infant & Toddler Quality & Availability (ITQA)
  • Denver Preschool Program (DPP)
  • Colorado Child Care Assistance Program Quality Improvement (CCCAP QI)
  • Race to the Top Quality Improvement (RTT QI)

Learn how to access Quality Initiative funds:

Read below for more details about each funding resource and find out what it takes for your program to qualify!

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SRQIP (School Readiness Quality Improvement Program), a federally funded block grant via Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood, is intended to:

  • help improve the school readiness of children five years of age and younger from low-income and economically disadvantaged families
  • close the learning gap and enhance the overall academic performance of Colorado school children.

This funding is intended to support childcare providers that are feeding into under-performing elementary schools. All Denver SRQIP providers are required to maintain valid full-site quality ratings, work with Council coaches to implement quality improvement plan activities and assess all Kindergarten-bound children through Teaching Strategies GOLD® (TSG). Funds are available for professional development, classroom learning materials and other qualified quality improvement expenses. Renewing sites must be current, licensed child care providers that are located in the City & County of Denver and serve children 0-5 years of age.

ITQA (Infant & Toddler Quality & Availability) is designed to support child care providers that care for children under three years old receiving Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The two main goals of the program are:

  1. Increase the number of infants and toddlers that have access to CCAP
  2. Increase the quality of child care centers and family child care homes that care for – or are willing to begin caring for – CCAP infants and toddlers

Since limited funding is available to support these quality improvement efforts, potential participants will be ranked based on the information provided to us. Highest rankings will go to providers that:

  • Serve a large percentage of low-income families
  • Have a high number of CCAP infants and toddlers currently enrolled (age defined as children under three years old)
  • Have the capacity to increase enrollment of CCAP infants and toddlers
  • Obtain or maintain a Colorado Shines level 2 or higher, or obtain NAEYC or NAFCC accreditation
  • Demonstrate a need for quality improvement funding
  • Are a sustainable business

Funding can be used to support training, coaching, classroom materials and substitutes to support implementation.

DPP (Denver Preschool Program) is funded by Denver’s dedicated preschool sales tax, first approved by voters in 2006 and renewed and expanded in 2014. DPP makes high quality preschool possible for all Denver 4-year-olds regardless of income or neighborhood, and invests more than $1 million annually into the more than 250 participating preschools. To qualify for DPP support, providers must have:

  • At least one DPP-eligible child (any child who lives in the city and county of Denver and is in her/his last year of preschool before starting kindergarten) enrolled for the current school year
  • A current child care license – center or family child care home

CCCAP QI (Colorado Childcare Assistance Program Quality Improvement) This grant program was created by the Colorado Office of Early Childhood in 2015 to help ensure that CCAP children under the age of 5 are served in high quality rated programs across Colorado. Licensed early childhood education programs identified as “Priority Sites” (based on the number of CCAP children enrolled) may receive:

  • Quality Improvement grants for classroom learning materials, staff professional development, substitute coverage/overtime pay for training attendance, and technology support
  • On-site Coaching to support Administrative and Teaching staff in quality improvement efforts and implementing best practices
  • Opportunity to receive a 100% FREE quality rating through the new Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
  • Access to hands-on support and guidance throughout the entire process

Funding amounts may vary for each site based on the following factors:

  • Number of CCAP children enrolled
  • Number of classrooms
  • Other Quality Improvement grants currently awarded to your site
  • Other significant or urgent health & safety needs that can be supported at the discretion of the Coach and Council staff

What do we need to commit to for this program?

If your site is deemed eligible and ready to participate in CCAP QI, you will be invited to complete a formal application/agreement to secure your participation in the program.  All sites need to be committed to the following:

  • Maintaining a child care license in good standing and adhering to licensing rules
  • Continuing to serve CCAP children
  • Earning either a Level 2 or Levels 3-5 Colorado Shines quality rating
  • Setting aside time for administrators and staff to meet with their coach, attend necessary trainings, and complete registration activities related to the Colorado Shines quality rating process (there are grant funds provided to cover the business costs associated with substitutes and staff overtime pay)
  • Making a commitment to improving quality within your program, and ultimately, providing the very best experiences for the children and families you serve.

RTT (Race to the Top) is a federal program which aims to improve the quality of early learning and development and close the achievement gap for children with high needs. RTT grants focus on improving early learning and development programs for young children by supporting each state’s efforts to:

  • increase the number and percentage of high needs children in each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs
  • design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services
  • ensure that any use of assessments conforms with the recommendations of the National Research Council’s reports on early childhood

RTT in Colorado is designed to support you through the new Colorado Shines quality rating system. Support includes coaching and grant funds for learning materials and professional development. RTT applications are available on a rolling basis. Simply log into your Colorado Shines profile to apply.