2016 is Looking Bright!

 by Emily Bustos, Executive Director

Emily Bustos

We’re kicking off the new year with some very exciting news! I am pleased to announce that we are the recipient of two new grants that will allow us to do some groundbreaking work on behalf of Denver families in 2016. In addition, we will be a hosting partner of this year’s annual Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference coming up in mid-February, and last but not least, we are welcoming more new staff to our team here at the Council.

Social-emotional health: As a perfect follow-up to last fall’s DELHI Conference on understanding social-emotional early development, Denver’s Early Childhood Council was one of seven Colorado communities awarded a LAUNCH Together planning grant to promote the social and emotional health and well-being of children and families. In partnership with community stakeholders, awardees will participate in a seven-month strategic planning process to expand evidence-based prevention and promotion practices and enhance coordinated community systems. We will be engaging partners to work in targeted neighborhoods in Denver and will continue to share our progress with you as we dig deeper into this important endeavor!

Family, friend and neighbor child care: We have been awarded a grant from Gary Community Investments to work with individuals who care for children in informal settings outside of licensed child care. We will be reaching out to these individuals with specialized training and resources to support the work they do with children every day, including intensive support to our Spanish-speaking communities. This brand-new, truly grassroots-oriented program will be implemented this year, so stay tuned for more information in the coming months!

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Mark your calendars! The 2016 Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference takes place February 19 & 20 at the Colorado Convention Center. This year, Denver’s Early Childhood Council, along with ECCLA (Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance) and CAEYC (Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children) are co-sponsoring the event, and it’s shaping up to be one of the strongest conferences yet!
Now in its fifth year, the two-day forum aims to solidify the growing understanding and support of the importance of investing in our youngest children by bringing together a broad array of stakeholders, early childhood professionals, business leaders and policymakers.
New professional development tracks have been added this year, and attendees can earn up to six hours of ongoing training credits per day for a total of 12 hours during the two-day conference.
I encourage you to take advantage of one of the nation’s premier forums for advancing early childhood care and education right here in Denver by registering today. If you are part of a child care program participating in one or more Quality Improvement (QI) initiatives in Colorado, you are eligible to use your QI funds for registration. Log in to ecConnect and follow the registration instructions there.

New staff at the Council!
In response to the need to scale supports for child care providers transitioning into the new Colorado Shines QRIS system, 2015 was a time of rapid growth for the Council. Most recently we added Heidi Ganser-Lang, Office Coordinator, and Demetria Martinez, Denver Preschool Program Coordinator. In January, we will welcome Liz Issacson as our new Staff Accountant, Jill Rocha as QI Coach and Chinazo Dumas as QI Outreach Specialist.

2016 is looking big and bright, and whether you are a new friend of the Council or a longtime partner we look forward to creating new success stories with you in the coming year!

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