Our New CIRCLE Grant Projects!

Aug 1, 2022 | Innovation, What's New?

We’re thrilled to share that Healthy Child Care Colorado has received two (CIRCLE) grants! The Community Innovation and Resilience for Care and Learning Equity grants are focused on innovative, equity-focused, systems-building efforts that address early childhood challenges and inform broader change. Read more in our project summaries below.

Project 1: Expanding Colorado’s New Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Recognition 

Our Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Recognition focuses on supporting the health of infants and toddlers by ensuring child care programs have breastfeeding-friendly policies and practices embedded within their physical space, program guidelines, and educational materials. These policies focus on improved enrollment processes, daily routines, staff orientation and professional development, and more.   This recognition provides programs with a BFCC Advisor to help them assess and improve policies and practices that contribute to creating a breastfeeding-friendly environment and culture.This project ultimately impacts infants, toddlers, families, and program staff by honoring and supporting family choices related to their child’s nutrition and promoting attachment, bonding, and inclusion.  

“This grant allows us to build upon the strong collaboration and public-private partnerships we have cultivated over the past five years to develop Colorado’s first statewide Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Recognition program. We’re excited to expand this work over the next year to support even more formal and informal child care programs to achieve this recognition.” – Taran Schneider, Executive Director at Healthy Child Care Colorado 

Key Partners  Advancing Breastfeeding in Colorado, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Local Public Health Agencies, Early Childhood Councils, Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition, Local Breastfeeding Coalitions, Child Care Programs, Child Care Health Consultants, and more.  

Project 2: Improvements for Colorado’s Child Care Health Consultation System 

Child Care Health Consultation (CCHC) provides a unique and critical role that is often overlooked in the early childhood system. Child Care Health Consultants (CCHCs) are medical professionals who assist programs in meeting basic health and safety standards and including children with complex and special health needs. We examine successes, challenges, and barriers to this system (or lack thereof) of consultation in our state. We create recommendations for improvements based upon research through a national scan and publish recommendations for system improvements.   We center the needs of children, families, and providers as we aim to establish equitable access to CCHC in every county. Ensuring children with special health needs are successfully included in early learning settings is one of the most important steps we can take to build a system where children are valued, healthy, and thriving.  

“As we continue to navigate the global pandemic, now is the time to identify and understand the inequities embedded in the current system of Child Care Health Consultation. We must get clear on the opportunities to improve this system to ensure it meets the needs of the child care programs, families, and children who are directly impacted. We look forward to partnering with HCCC on this critical systems-building project.” – Mary Alice Cohen, Deputy Executive Director at the Colorado Department of Early Childhood 

Key Partners  Child Care Health Consultants, Child Care Programs, Families, Early Childhood Councils, Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance, Local Public Health Agencies, Colorado Department of Early Childhood, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and more.  

More About CIRCLE Grants  The Colorado Department of Early Childhood partnered with Early Milestones to administer $21.5 million to support projects to make child care more affordable; fill gaps in infant and toddler care; strengthen providers’ financial stability; boost workforce preparation; and contribute to the health and learning of all children, including those with special needs and dual-language learners. Learn more