Research & Evaluation

We conduct research and evaluation to use data as a foundation for our work. We utilize leading sources and embed research information, data, and findings to inform our programs, services, and advocacy priorities. We are committed to staying apprised of new research in the field and continually update our services to reflect best practices.

Highlighting the Role and Systemic Components of the CCHC System

Colorado’s system of child care health consultation has a major impact on the health and safety of children in child care and is ready for much needed investments and improvements. A series of recommendations to improve Colorado’s system of child care health consultation have been released after an Advisory Group of experts were brought together by Healthy Child Care Colorado for a six-month process to determine key needs and gather research. The recommendations include data and funding improvements, quality and service delivery changes, and advocacy and public will building efforts. 

Child care health consultants (CCHCs) are vital partners with early childhood programs, and having a CCHC improves the quality of care, ensures health and safety are embedded in early childhood settings, and promotes inclusion of all children, especially children with mental and physical health needs that require accommodations or additional support. CCHCs are medical professionals with experience in maternal and child health who help early childhood programs with things like medication administration, training on health and safety, and inclusion of children with mental or physical health needs that require additional support. The impacts of having a CCHC on children’s overall health and safety in child care are significant, and the system supporting this important role is ready for necessary improvements and investments.

Brief #1: Partners in Health and Safety in Child Care: The Role of Child Care Health Consultants

Brief #2: Building a Strong System for Child Care Health Consultation: Core Systems Components

Brief #3: Building a Strong System for Child Care Health Consultation: Opportunities and Gaps

Brief #4: Child Care Health Consultation: Variations Across Colorado and Other State Systems

Final Recommendations: Catalyzing Health and School Readiness in Child Care

This series of briefs and recommendations highlighting child care health consultation in Colorado is supported by Healthy Child Care Colorado through a Community Innovation and Resilience for Care and Learning Equity (CIRCLE) Grant. CIRCLE grants are administered by Early Milestones on behalf of the Colorado Department of Early Childhood. CIRCLE Grants are funded as part of over $275 million from the federal American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Colorado Department of Early Childhood.


The Office of Early Childhood in partnership with ECE Insights and Healthy Child Care Colorado created a series of briefs capturing the impact of initial federal stimulus funds on consultant training and availability in Colorado. This series also highlights key opportunities for action and investment.

The Use of Teleconsultation in the Early Childhood Consultative Workforce: An Evolving Service Delivery Strategy

Teleconsultation is the use of technology to provide the same content and meet the same criteria as an in-person visit. With the onset of the pandemic, teleconsultation became a widespread strategy for delivering services by Colorado’s early childhood consultative workforce. In early 2022, the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) engaged an experienced evaluation firm to explore consultants’ attitudes and beliefs regarding teleconsultation as well as what is needed to sustain this practice into the future. This study focused on three types of early childhood consultants: Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants (ECMHCs), early childhood Coaches (Coaches), and Child Care Health Consultants (CCHCs) and gathered input from over 800 consultants and recipients of their services.

Building Colorado’s Pyramid Network Hub | 2022

Our intention for the transition was to co-create an inclusive, collaborative structure that strengthens connections, resources, policies, and evidence-based practices to support social-emotional development.  This work is an integral part of our shared vision in the Early Childhood Colorado Framework, that all children are valued, healthy and thriving. Presented at the National Training Institute (NTI) 2022 Conference.

Building a Sustainable Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Network Hub: Highlights from Colorado | 2022

In 2021, Colorado’s ECMHC Network Hub was funded and began the journey to co-create an inclusive, collaborative structure that strengthens connections, resources, policies, and practices for mental health consultation to ensure children, families, and programs can thrive.

Baby Teeth Matter: Integrating Oral Health In Early Childhood | 2019

Dental disease is the leading chronic disease of Colorado children, even though it is completely preventable. Oral health affects overall health and early childhood cavities can lead to chronic pain, problems eating and sleeping, and missed school. In Colorado, a number of interdisciplinary efforts and programs have been implemented to address this problem. Presented at the Zero to Three 2019 Conference.

KIDS COUNT in Colorado | 2021

Each year, the Colorado Children’s Campaign publishes the Kids Count Report that highlights important statistics about the well-being of children and families in our state.

Early Childhood Education Research - Qualistar

Measuring the Impact of COVID-19 on Colorado’s Early Care & Learning Sector

This statewide research conducted by Early Milestones Colorado was designed to inform system-level approaches for re-building the sector quickly, getting families back to work, and preparing for future crises.

Early Childhood Education Research - Qualistar

Colorado Child Care Health Consultation Needs Assessment | 2017

We partnered with the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine – Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science (ACCORDS) and Children’s Hospital Colorado to develop, deliver, and analyzed an IRB-approved research project.

Early Childhood Education Research - Qualistar

Leading Colorado’s Early Care and Education Workforce | 2016

We published the Leading Colorado’s Early Care and Education Workforce (2016) report in partnership with The Women’s Foundation of Colorado

Early Childhood Education Research - Qualistar

Parents & the High Cost of Child Care | 2016

Child Care Aware of America, headquartered in Arlington, VA, is a leading voice in child care. Their mission is to advance a child care system that effectively serves all children and families. Each year a publication is released that focuses specifically on the cost of child care. 

Colorado Child Care Aware Fact Sheet

Early Childhood Education Research - Qualistar

Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

This website is designed to promote high-quality research and inform policy through free access to thousands of publications and datasets. On this website you can find data and resources, understand current research, and make connections. 

Early Childhood Education Research - Qualistar

Child Care Affordability in Colorado | 2014

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado awarded us a grant to investigate the barriers to affordable child care. We worked closely with the Colorado Children’s Campaign, and The Women’s Foundation of Colorado published the following series of papers to address the issue and make recommendations for solutions.

Brief: Child Care Prices and Affordability, A Struggle for Colorado Families and Providers

Brief: Child Care Affordability: A Look into Child Care Business Costs 

Early Childhood Education Research - Qualistar

Research Supported by Colorado Data

Data on early childhood education quality, drawn from the Qualistar Rating™ and child outcome data drawn from the RAND Corporation’s evaluation of Colorado’s quality rating system have been published in more than 10 highly respected journals. This Annotated Bibliography describes each study.

The RAND report represents the first comprehensive study of the validity of quality rating systems as a tool for improving early childhood education quality.

RAND/Full Report (2008)
RAND/Research Brief (2008)
Colorado/Lessons Learned (2008)

Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages | 2014

The The Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study was conducted by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. The Center, housed with the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California-Berkeley, was founded in 1999 to focus on achieving comprehensive public investments. This report underscores the benefits of early childhood education and the important role of early childhood professionals.

Early Childhood Education Research - Qualistar