Early childhood experiences shape a child’s development, education and journey throughout life. However, this is also the period when children are most likely to live in poverty and experience homelessness. In Colorado, it’s not easy for families to access the quality early childhood experiences their children need.

As a grandparent and long-time educator in Arvada, I see families struggling to find child care, early education and support services for their young children.

That’s because Colorado’s early childhood programs are spread across multiple state agencies, each with varying eligibility requirements and funding streams. This can leave families and providers confused and jumping through unnecessary hoops. Without a single system, many families don’t know what programs they qualify for and they can spend unpredictable amounts of time submitting multiple applications to enroll in child care and preschool.

Luckily, Colorado has made progress with the passage of Proposition EE and the creation of the new Department of Early Childhood. This department will unite many early childhood programs and services under a single system that makes it easier for families and providers to give children the best start in life.

Right now, state legislators can build on this foundation by voting “yes” on House Bill 22-1295, which ensures: one high quality early childhood system for all programs and services; one simple application for enrollment and one universal preschool program for all families who want it, regardless of income.

Join me in calling on all Colorado state legislators to vote yes on House Bill 22-1295.

Kiki McGough, Arvada