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Starting next year, Mesa County four year olds will be eligible for ten free hours of licensed preschool per week. Bill 22-1295 was signed into law promoting better coordination of early childhood services and school readiness in Colorado.

The partnering facilities will provide early childhood education with a high quality curriculum. This will increase access to preschool and ease costs for families. Parents of 4 year olds can expect assistance in finding care based on their preferences and cost.

The organization responsible for coordinating the local implementation of Universal Preschool is Mesa County Partnership for Children & Families (PCF), Mesa County’s early childhood council. PCF is charged with distributing the funds to child care facilities, helping match families with care, and assisting providers in implementing preschool curriculum. Mesa County Public Health is the fiscal agent for PCF and works closely on strengthening early childhood services. PCF was selected by the state’s Department of Early Childhood as the local organization best suited to serve their communities in this capacity. Mesa County Human Services will also assist with connecting families to the existing Colorado Child Care Assistance Program, which helps subsidize the cost of child care.

The introduction of Universal Pre-K will also help alleviate some of the challenges local parents have finding child care. Parents in Mesa County can use BridgeCare, which is a user-friendly tool that connects local families with available child care openings. It will also be used to connect families with preschool options once the Universal PreK program is up and running. Child care facilities are encouraged to set up a profile on BridgeCare to prepare for the Universal PreK roll out. (BridgeCare Site for Childcare Providers) (BrideCare Site for Families)

“We’re honored to continue serving Mesa County families. We will work closely with the new Colorado Department of Early Childhood Education to prepare for implementation in the fall of 2023,” stated PCF Director, Stephanie Bivins.

Families can expect to see updates, including an implementation plan and applications. To join informational meetings or other ways to get involved contact PCF Director, Stephanie Bivins (stephanie.bivins@mesacounty.us).