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74EBF642E22E96D3872582C6005752B7 Hearing Summary


Date Jul 10, 2018      
Location HCR 0112

Update from the Colorado Department of Human Services - Committee Discussion Only

09:53:51 AM  
Mary Anne Snyder, Director of the Colorado
Office of Early Childhood (office) in the Colorado Department of Human
Services,  Erin Mewhinney, Director of Early Care and Learning, and
Mary Martin, Director of the Division of Community and Family Support,
came to the table to begin their presentation [Attachment D].  Ms.
Snyder discussed the history, purpose, and priorities of the office, which
include: school readiness, ensuring all children having a safe, stable,
and nurturing environment, and promoting resilience in early childhood.
 She discussed home visitation programs, small infant and child mental
health work, head start collaborations, family wraparound services, and
early intervention.  She discussed the importance of focusing on a
two-generation strategy approach to support both children and parents/caregivers.
 She stated that the office is working on getting the lowest income
children into high-quality child care.  Ms. Snyder explained that
one goal of the office is to increase access to high-quality early childhood
programs by increasing the percentage of level 3, 4, and 5 quality rated
licensed child care providers that rated through Colorado Shines.  She
talked about importance of high-quality early childhood education in helping
break the cycle of poverty, reducing incarceration rates, and the need
for future services.
10:04:43 AM  
Ms. Snyder spoke about some of the office's
recent legislative successes, including Senate Bill 18-162 pertaining to
a substitute placement agency licensure program.  Representative Wilson
asked questions about the family, friends, and neighbors network (FFN)
and what the office is doing to support these people.  Ms. Snyder
mentioned that over 60 percent of children in Colorado are in something
other than licensed child care during the day.  Representative Bucker
stressed the need to get the word out that there is assistance and support
for members of the FFN.
10:12:31 AM  
The committee discussed strategies to communicate
the availability of resources to the FFN network.  Ms. Snyder talked
about ways the department is reaching out to grandparents through a program
called Healthy Steps.
10:19:39 AM  
Ms. Snyder discussed the Colorado Shines
Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and Senate Bill 18-099 which
aligns early childhood quality improvement programs.  She talked about
the Early Childhood Workforce Development Information System, reforms to
the Child Care Assistance Program and House Bill 18-1335 which pertains
to county Child Care Assistance Program block grants.  Ms. Mewhinny
answered questions about the policies that make Colorado a national leader
in the early childhood arena, including House Bill 14-1317 which developed
a tiered reimbursement system for providers as they move up in quality
rating, discounted parent co-pay amounts for higher-rated child care programs,
and a flagged background check system.
10:30:55 AM  
Ms. Snyder discussed early childhood mental
health programs, early intervention programs, child maltreatment prevention
programs and House Bill 18-1064 which established a training program to
prevent child sexual abuse.  Mike Kling, Director of the Family Resource
Center Association which support the 30 family resource centers across
the state, came to the table to answer questions.  He spoke about
the various locations of family resource centers, which are community-based,
home-grown, nonprofit organizations.  Ms. Snyder spoke about several
more of her office's key focus issues, including: early childhood mental
health and its intersection with expulsion and suspension, the importance
of parenting courses for parents of young children who exhibit challenging
behavior, and an emerging field of research looking at putting Early Childhood
Mental Health specialists in classrooms to work individually with challenging
students and their teachers to develop capacity-building and policies to
reduce suspensions and expulsions.  Jordana Ash, Director of the Infant
and Child Mental Health Unit in the Office of Early Childhood, came to
the table to answer questions about the number of children from birth to
age 3 that have been referred for mental health services.  She explained
that many of the referals stem from typical behavior issues that a child
care provider or other adult in a child's life are not equipped or trained
to handle in a way that is not punishing or trauma-inducing.

10:54:46 AM  
Ms. Snyder discussed the intersection between
International Building Codes (IBC) and family child care home situations
which tend to violate IBC standards for small businesses. She talked about
background checks and the need for possible legislation pertaining to interstate
background checks.

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details