Early Learning Ventures (ELV) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to quality, affordable child care. ELV focuses its efforts on improving the quality of early child care programs offered at the nation’s center- and home-based child care facilities – 85% of which are small, independent businesses that lack infrastructure and resources to invest in quality improvements. Since its founding in 2009, ELV has focused on quality improvements and has taken major steps throughout Colorado in supporting quality improvements within ECE. In 2015, ELV was a awarded a federal Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grant, which allows ELV to provide intense support services to 240 children 0-3 within four Colorado counties.
Since implementing EHS-CCP, ELV has wondered the impact of extra EHS dollars and support staff. An in-depth study was completed by an outside evaluator, The Policy Equity Group, and data indicated significant improvements in the quality and capacity of the child care partners as a result of the model. The evaluators looked at an array of program components, including the quality of classrooms, meeting family needs, program environment and more. The results showed that beyond the 240 children, all families enrolled at the child care sites benefited from program-wide continuous improvement planning, more qualified teachers, stronger curriculum implementation, an enhanced learning environment, and parent engagement and education opportunities.
ELV EHS-CCP sites have also seen an increased in their Colorado Shines rating, a quality improvement rating system that ranks child care programs across the state on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the highest. The average rating for EHS-CCP sites was 3.1 in 2017. Likewise, child care programs that partner with ELV on a more basic level, utilizing ELV services such as Alliance CORE and the Resource Platform, have an average rating of 2.5. When compared to the ratings of non-ELV sites, the results are drastically different. The average Colorado Shines rating for other child care programs is 1.8, much lower than those programs that partner with ELV. Overall, the quality of child care is important and lays the foundation for the lifelong health of each child. As such, it is extremely important for families to find quality child care for their little ones.