Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Overview

Illuminate is seeking a Sustainability Consultant to provide expertise on substance use disorder treatment funding streams and mechanisms by identifying and recommending long term sustainable funding approaches for Illuminating Child Care, including but not limited to medicaid and behavioral health billing as well as potential federal, state, and local funding streams.

Illuminating Child Care Program Overview

Illuminating Child Care provides safe, on-site, drop-in child care for families and caregivers engaged in Substance Use Disorder treatment. Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are retrofitted into infant and toddler classrooms, whereby Early Childhood Teachers engage children up to five years of age in age-appropriate activities that promote social emotional development. By utilizing an RV, the Illuminating Child Care Program is able to provide a safe and nurturing child care environment to a number of treatment facilities within a region. Currently, Illuminate Colorado oversees three child care classrooms providing services at 13 behavioral health facilities across the Denver metropolitan area, San Luis Valley, and Southeast Colorado.

Term of Contract

May 15, 2024 – June 29, 2025

Budget

Up to $10,000

RFP Submission

Proposals should be digitally submitted to tkorb@illuminatecolorado.org with “Illuminating Child Care Sustainability Consultant” in the subject line by 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time on May 30th, 2024. Proposals should not exceed 4 pages, excluding budget and other attachments.

The Spectrum of Prevention in Action: Illuminating Child Care Supports Families through Direct Service

The Spectrum of Prevention in Action: Illuminating Child Care Supports Families through Direct Service

Welcome to the first installment of the 2024 Blog Series: The Spectrum of Prevention in Action!

Over the course of the year, join us as we take a deep dive into each component of the Spectrum of Prevention – Supporting Families through Direct Service, Building Public Awareness, Educating Communities & Professionals, Fostering Networks, and Influencing Policy – and how the Spectrum comes to life in Illuminate’s work

Used nationally to address complex public issues, the Spectrum of Prevention outlines a range of prevention strategies across different levels of influence within a community or society. Illuminate’s programs and initiatives strategically span an adapted version of the Spectrum of Prevention, ensuring a holistic and lasting approach to building brighter childhoods. By adapting and employing the Spectrum of Prevention, we can target prevention efforts at various levels, from building individual knowledge and skills to influencing policies and legislation.

Learn more about Illuminate’s Strategies & Frameworks.

Today, let’s explore how Illuminating Child Care supports families through direct service!

Supporting Families through Direct Service focuses on providing information, education, and skills-building opportunities to individuals. By offering targeted services, we empower parents and caregivers with the tools and resources they need to create safe, nurturing environments for their children.

Illuminating Child Care, one of the multiple ways Illuminate is offering direct support to families, provides an innovative systemic-approach to increasing access to child care for parents and caregivers navigating complex life situations, like mental health concerns, substance use disorders, or employment challenges, as they seek to strengthen their families. The program provides both community navigation support that connects families to resources, as well as mobile child care classrooms that offer child care to caregivers on-site where they’re getting the support they need. 

Access to child care is critical for all parents and caregivers in order for children, families, and communities to thrive. When families struggling to manage life’s challenges and the demands of raising children are also faced with the challenge of finding high quality child care, it can stand in the way of strengthening families.

“Research shows that difficulty finding child care is a stronger predictor of maternal neglect than almost any other factor, including mental health, severity of drug use, history of abuse as a child, & use of public assistance.”

Jade Woodard

Executive Director, Illuminate Colorado

Not only do Illuminating Child Care Teachers provide navigation services to caregivers, they are also trained to provide developmental planning services to families to ensure that every child is receiving the support they need to thrive. After about two weeks with Illuminating Child Care, families begin to work with teachers to complete the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, which helps to identify any areas where children may need extra support.

Teachers also work to build genuine, trusting relationships with parents. Illuminating Child Care teachers prioritize what each parent wants for their child, including how to best align with the schedules kids are on at home, in order to create a consistent and safe environment for learning.  

Check out our blog on the role of an Early Childhood Teacher!

Using direct services to help families build a holistic foundation of knowledge– of where to access community resources, how to nurture their child’s developmental progress, and where they can go to receive quality, trusted child care– is a critical step in strengthening families to prevent child maltreatment.

Did you know that Illuminating Child Care recently welcomed a new mobile child care classroom?

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Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Illuminate is seeking a Sustainability Consultant to provide expertise on substance use disorder treatment funding streams and mechanisms by identifying and recommending long term sustainable funding approaches for Illuminating Child Care, including but not limited to medicaid and behavioral health billing as well as potential federal, state, and local funding streams.

Welcoming the Newest Addition to the Illuminating Child Care Family: Mobile Child Care Classroom Luna!

Welcoming the Newest Addition to the Illuminating Child Care Family: Mobile Child Care Classroom Luna!

lluminate Colorado is proud to announce the newest addition to the Illuminating Child Care mobile child care classroom family, Luna!

Following a week of driver training for Early Childhood Teachers, Luna’s first day serving children and families was on December 15th at Health Solutions Family Center in Pueblo, Colorado. Luna will be able to travel to wherever services are needed, replacing Honey in Denver, Caramel in Pueblo, or Acorn in the San Luis Valley whenever an on site child care classroom requires maintenance and is temporarily unavailable. 

Often, in the event that a mobile child care classroom is unavailable, sites do not have space within their own facilities for the team to provide child care for families. The addition of Luna to the mobile child care classroom fleet will ensure that Illuminating Child Care can provide consistent services to families across Colorado who are working to address complex issues impacting their family, like mental health concerns, substance use disorders, or employment challenges. Families love Illuminating Child Care because– in addition to the high-quality child care– the mobile child care classrooms offer a unique experience. The ability to have Luna wherever a classroom is needed will help Illuminating Child Care to provide a consistent and positive child care experience for Colorado families.  

The artwork on Luna showcases five little owl students and an owl teacher. This is a testament to the low student-to-teacher ratio in Illuminating Child Care classrooms. You can see similar images in the artwork on Honey, Caramel, and Acorn.

Another exciting feature on Luna is the ability to create additional space in the back of the classroom. The area can be expanded with jigsaw floor pieces to allow space for the older children to play and engage in gross motor activities.

Early Childhood Teachers on Luna provide up to three hours of free child care per day for children while caregivers receive the support they need to strengthen their families. Luna will serve families with children ages 6 weeks to 6 years old in Pueblo and the San Luis Valley, and families with children 6 weeks to 3 years old in Denver. No matter the age, Early Childhood Teachers are providing high-quality child care, addressing every child’s physical, emotional, and social needs. 

Illuminating Child Care Early Childhood Teachers are trained to provide developmental planning services to families to ensure that every child is receiving the support they need to thrive. 

After about two weeks with Illuminating Child Care, families begin to work with teachers to complete the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, which helps to identify any areas where children may need extra support. Teachers in Denver also provide navigation services to families, connecting them with community resources they may need, such as food, housing, and long-term child care. 

Illuminate Colorado couldn’t be more excited to have Luna join the Illuminating Child Care fleet, increasing the team’s capacity to strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment across Colorado.

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Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Illuminate is seeking a Sustainability Consultant to provide expertise on substance use disorder treatment funding streams and mechanisms by identifying and recommending long term sustainable funding approaches for Illuminating Child Care, including but not limited to medicaid and behavioral health billing as well as potential federal, state, and local funding streams.

2023 Ballot Measure: Prop ii Promotes Protective Factors and Family Well-Being

2023 Ballot Measure: Prop ii Promotes Protective Factors and Family Well-Being

Illuminate Colorado is proud to support Proposition ii, which would allow Colorado to retain tax revenue to fund Universal Pre-K (UPK). By ensuring continuous and adequate funding for UPK, Colorado would promote concrete supports, one of five research-based protective factors to prevent child maltreatment. By supporting Prop ii, voters can ensure funding goes towards the Preschool Program Fund for the purpose of UPK, rather than returned to nicotine and tobacco product distributors and manufacturers.

Universal Preschool is a Concrete Support that Promotes Healthy Child Development

Children need high-quality experiences and loving relationships to support healthy development. Concrete supports in times of need is a research-based protective factor that prevents child abuse and neglect.¹ Pre-K serves as child care, with added educational components, and Colorado’s newly implemented UPK provides parents and caregivers with up to 15 hours per week of preschool at no cost.²

In doing so, UPK expands opportunities for reliable, affordable, and high-quality preschool for families, promoting a concrete support in times of need and healthy child development. 

Prop ii Prioritizes State Investment in Concrete Supports

In 2020, Colorado voters approved Proposition EE, which enabled Colorado to utilize tax revenue from e-liquid and vaping products that contain nicotine and from tobacco products to fund a statewide UPK system. Under TABOR, all Colorado ballot measures that increase taxes must include an estimate as to how much revenue will be raised if the ballot measure is approved.³ However, when Colorado collects more in taxes than originally estimated due to increased cost or utilization of goods, taxes must be returned in rebates, unless Colorado voters approve an additional ballot measure that allows the state to retain collected revenue.

Last year, Colorado collected $23.65 million above the original estimate set forth in Prop EE. This 2023 legislative session, the Colorado legislature passed HB23-1290, enabling Coloradans to vote on whether to retain $23.65 million in collected tax revenue to fund UPK and maintain current tax rates on nicotine and tobacco products. In November, Colorado voters will have the opportunity to approve this ballot measure with a ‘yes’ vote and ensure current and future funding for UPK.

We at Illuminate recognize the original purpose and intent behind Prop EE, as approved by voters in 2020, to support families and increase affordability of preschool for all young children by building a universal preschool system in Colorado.

Continuous and sufficient funding plays an integral role in implementing an equitable system, as intended by voters, that extends additional hours to families with needs for increased support, including families of preschoolers with disabilities who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Prop ii is an opportunity for voters to opt to continue the important work that was approved in 2020 to build a universal preschool system and prioritize state investment in early childhood and concrete supports for families.

Ballots were mailed out this week!

Already a registered voter?

Keep an eye on your mailbox for your mail-in ballot. Mail in or drop off your ballot by the posted deadline to make your voice heard! If you are registered, but did not receive your ballot, you can find a polling location to vote in person.

Unsure if you are registered to vote?

Visit the Secretary of State website to check your Voter Status.

Not registered?

Good news! Coloradans can register to vote up through Election Day. Visit your local polling location to get registered and vote in person.

Citations
  1. Center for the Study of Social Policy. (n.d.) About Strengthening Families and the protective factors framework. Retrieved From: https://cssp.org/our-work/projects/protective-factors-framework/
  2. Colorado Department of Early Childhood. (n.d.) Universal Preschool Colorado. Retrieved from: https://cdec.colorado.gov/universal-preschool-colorado
  3. Colo. Const. art X, § 20.
  4. Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly. (n.d.) 2023 State Ballot Information Booklet. Research Publication No. 793-2. Retrieved from: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/blue_book_2023_-_english.pdf

Related Posts

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Illuminate is seeking a Sustainability Consultant to provide expertise on substance use disorder treatment funding streams and mechanisms by identifying and recommending long term sustainable funding approaches for Illuminating Child Care, including but not limited to medicaid and behavioral health billing as well as potential federal, state, and local funding streams.

Expanding Access to Affordable Child Care through Federal Policy Change

Expanding Access to Affordable Child Care through Federal Policy Change

Child care is an essential tool to strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment. However, many Colorado families face barriers to accessing affordable, high quality child care. This month, the US Health and Human Services Department (HHS) is considering proposed rule changes to expand access to child care by removing common financial and administrative barriers.

These proposed changes, along with the work of Colorado child care advocates, have the potential to expand access to child care, strengthening families and preventing child maltreatment.

Access to Quality, Affordable Child Care Promotes Protective Factors and Prevents Child Maltreatment

Promoting concrete support in times of need, which is 1 of 5 research-informed protective factors, strengthens families and prevents child maltreatment.¹ Chronic stress, resulting in toxic stress, can impact a parent’s ability to effectively respond to their child’s needs. Increasing access to quality, affordable child care, a concrete support in times of need, minimizes stress and reduces instances of child abuse and neglect. 

When parents lack access to quality child care, this can serve as a barrier to participate in the workforce, receive mental health and substance use services, and engage in other meaningful activities that reduce stress and enhance health, well-being, and economic security. Research shows that families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) experience a 20% increase in risk of supervisory neglect for each additional child care concern reported.²

In contrast, each additional month a low-income mother receives a child care subsidy results in a 16% decrease in the odds of a child neglect report and a 14% decrease in the odds of a physical abuse report in the following year.³

“Research shows that difficulty finding child care is a stronger predictor of maternal neglect than almost any other factor, including mental health, severity of drug use, history of abuse as a child, and use of public assistance.”

– Jade Woodard, Executive Director of Illuminate Colorado

Expanding Access to Child Care through Federal Policy Change

This year, the Biden-Harris Administration is directing public agencies to engage in rulemaking processes to expand access to affordable child care. In a July press conference, Vice President Kamala Harris made remarks discussing how the over 900,000 US families receiving child care vouchers through the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program (CCDBG), a federal program that funds state subsidized child care, still face barriers to accessing quality, affordable child care.

In Colorado, 32% of children ages 0-6 are eligible for subsidized child care under the CCDBG, but families receiving vouchers still pay between $1 and $584 in monthly out-of-pocket co-pays.⁴

In response to the President’s directive, the US Health and Human Services Department has proposed new rules.⁵ Among other changes, the proposed rules would:

        • Cap child care copayments at 7% of a family’s income for families receiving child care vouchers under CCDBG
        • Allow agencies to waive copayments for additional populations – including families with an income that is less than 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and families with a child with a disability
        • Exempt Tribal Lead Agencies from the requirement to establish sliding scale pay structures that require all families to pay copayments
        • Require agencies to implement new policies and practices that lessen the administrative burden placed on families when navigating the application process to receive child care vouchers
        • Increase sustainability of CCDBG program participation for child care providers by increasing the timeliness of provider payments and paying child care providers by enrollment, rather than attendance

A full list and explanation of proposed rule changes can be accessed here.

Have you received child care vouchers through the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program or subsidized child care in another state?

Submit an official comment here (click green “Submit a Formal Comment” button) to share how the proposed rules would impact you and your family!

Advocacy in Colorado to Increase Access to Child Care

Illuminate is grateful to our advocacy partners who lead the charge in expanding access to child care in Colorado. We appreciate Colorado Children’s Campaign, Clayton Early Learning, Early Connections Learning Centers, Healthier Colorado, Early Childhood Councils across the state, and others who are leading this work.

We at Illuminate join our partners in expanding access to child care through Illuminating Child Care, a program that provides on-site child care to caregivers while they receive support for complex issue impacting their family, like mental health concerns, substance use disorders, or employment challenges. Through RVs that have been retrofitted into safe and enriching infant and toddler classrooms, our Early Childhood Teachers offer child care at no cost to caregivers accessing services at 15 behavioral health and family support facilities across 3 regions of Colorado.

Citations
  1. Center for the Study of Social Policy. (n.d.) About Strengthening Families and the protective factors framework. Retrieved From: https://cssp.org/our-work/projects/protective-factors-framework/
  2. Yang, M.-Y., & Maguire-Jack, K. (2016). Predictors of basic needs and supervisory neglect: Evidence from the Illinois Families Study. Children & Youth Services Review, 67, 20-26. Retrieved From: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.05.017
  3. Yang, M. Y., Maguire‐Jack, K., Showalter, K., Kim, Y. K., & Slack, K. S. (2019). Child care subsidy and child maltreatment. Child & Family Social Work, 24(4), 547-554. Retrieved From: https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12635
  4. First Five Years Fund. (2023). Child Care & Development Block Grant in Colorado. Retrieved From: https://www.ffyf.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/2023_CCDBG-Fact-Sheet_CO.pdf
  5. Improving Child Care Access, Affordability, and Stability in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), 88 FR 45022 (proposed July 13, 2023). Retrieved From: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/07/13/2023-14290/improving-child-care-access-affordability-and-stability-in-the-child-care-and-development-fund-ccdf

Related Posts

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Illuminate is seeking a Sustainability Consultant to provide expertise on substance use disorder treatment funding streams and mechanisms by identifying and recommending long term sustainable funding approaches for Illuminating Child Care, including but not limited to medicaid and behavioral health billing as well as potential federal, state, and local funding streams.

Playing is Learning: The Role of an Early Childhood Teacher with Illuminating Child Care 

Playing is Learning: The Role of an Early Childhood Teacher with Illuminating Child Care 

Access to child care is critical for all parents and caregivers in order for children, families, and communities to thrive. That’s why Illuminating Child Care, a program at Illuminate Colorado, provides free high-quality child care to young children while caregivers get the support they need to strengthen their families. 

Before a parent can begin to address any complex issue impacting their family, like mental health concerns, substance use disorders, or employment challenges, they are too often faced, first, with struggling to find child care.

With Illuminating Child Care, parents and caregivers can focus on addressing any complex issue impacting their family because they know their children are safe and receiving high-quality care.

Recently, we had the chance to speak with Jordan Davis about what a day in the life as an Early Childhood Teacher with Illuminating Child Care looks like. Jordan works on the on-site child care classroom Honey, which visits locations across the Denver Metro area each week where parents receive treatment and support. 

Jordan mainly works with toddlers, helping them to develop fine and gross motor skills, alongside a heavy focus on language. Days on Honey are filled with reading books, playing pretend, and lots of coloring. 

Jordan Davis

Early Childhood Teacher

All aspects of play are developmentally critical for toddlers. Jordan explained how reading together helps kids learn and pronounce new words; playing pretend with grocery store toys introduces little ones to different food groups, colors, numbers, and healthy choices; and coloring helps to grow their fine motor skills. 

Through working and playing with the kids, Jordan and the other teachers are able to identify what milestones each child has met or is working towards. Thanks to the high teacher-to-child ratio, it’s easy for teachers to meet each child where they are and address their specific needs. While working with multiple children, the teachers create different opportunities for each child, ensuring an equal level of engagement and growth across the group.

Jordan also explained that Illuminating Child Care is well equipped to meet the needs of children facing developmental challenges. Each teacher is skilled at identifying a child’s needs and how to assist in their development. 

Another aspect of providing quality child care is building genuine, trusting relationships with parents. Illuminating Child Care teachers prioritize what each parent wants for their child, including how to best align with the schedules kids are on at home, in order to create a consistent and safe environment for learning. 

Having started as an Early Childhood Teacher in January of 2023, Jordan has loved watching each child develop and progress.

Her favorite part of working on the Illuminating Child Care team is seeing how fast the kids grow. Over time, Jordan has learned to develop attachments with the toddlers, creating a consistently safe space where they can feel comfortable to start learning by playing. 

Related Posts

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Request for Proposals: Sustainability Consultant for the Illuminating Child Care Program

Illuminate is seeking a Sustainability Consultant to provide expertise on substance use disorder treatment funding streams and mechanisms by identifying and recommending long term sustainable funding approaches for Illuminating Child Care, including but not limited to medicaid and behavioral health billing as well as potential federal, state, and local funding streams.

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