United Way News
United Way’s Promises for Children was awarded $200,000 in state and federal grants to support licensed child care providers in Weld County and increase their level of quality to the children and families they service.
Promises for Children serves as the early childhood council for Weld County and runs a variety of programs through the offices of United Way of Weld County that support the critical growth and brain development of children prenatal to 8 to promote school readiness and lifelong success.
The funds from the grants will be used for coaching hours of licensed child care providers, professional development opportunities, quality improvement materials and a staff position to manage and oversee the grants that provide outreach to child care providers centered around Colorado Shines, the new state Quality Rating and Improvement System. Colorado Shines assigns a quality rating to licensed early care and education programs, similar to rating systems for other service-related industries like restaurants and hotels. Licensed child care programs serving children prior to their entry into kindergarten will be required to participate in the Colorado Shines system.
“I think this is a great opportunity for licensed childcare providers,” said Sheri Hannah-Ruh, director of United Way of Weld County’s Promises for Children. “This opportunity isn’t going to be around forever, so we need to capitalize on the time we have it to support them and tailor to their specific needs.” Hannah-Ruh said that in order for child care providers to access the grant funds, they must go on the Colorado Shines website at www.coloradoshines.com and complete an application that will show what funding they’re eligible for based on certain criteria. Hannah-Ruh said there are about 300 licensed child care providers in Weld County, and more than 19,000 children under the age of 5 according to the 2015 Kids Count in Colorado.