Ensuring the future of Colorado's early childhood sector after COVID-19

It is critical for Colorado to fully understand the impact of the pandemic on child care and other early childhood services. Through comprehensive data collection and analysis, Early Milestones is identifying actions that can be taken to be rebuild the sector quickly, enable families to get back to work, and prepare for future crises.

Beginning with a survey of Colorado families, child care providers, and early educators, we are engaging the research-policy-practice loop with system-level and research partners to determine sector needs and solutions. The results of this work will be made available in a dashboard and reports to inform funding, practice, and policy decisions.

Visit our COVID-19 & Early Childhood Resources page.

Measuring the Impact of COVID-19

Assessing the Road to Recovery

Findings from our COVID-19 surveys and conversations with the EC community.

Impact on Providers

This summer, Early Milestones collected survey responses from 1,207 early care and learning providers. Through this research, we learned that nearly 10% of Colorado’s providers have closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and enrollment has decreased by more than 30%. This brief explores some of the ways that the pandemic has affected Colorado’s child care supply and demand.

Brief 1 of a 3-part series.

Impact on Educators

Our survey of 5,942 of early childhood educators revealed furloughs, lay-offs, and household income loss. This brief explores educators’ concerns about health, well-being, job security, and shortages in child care options for their own families .

Brief 2 of a 3-part series.

Community Conversations

Early Milestones conducted five virtual conversations with early childhood professionals from 41 counties. The discussions deepened our understanding of how the pandemic is impacting early childhood services and what supports are needed to rebuild the sector. This brief shares what we learned.

What We're Hearing

“I’m able to work remotely but not getting paid 40 hours a week. We are unable to afford child care fees, and it doesn’t feel safe to send our little ones to child care.”

Family Survey Respondent

“So many questions remain: Is it safe to re-open? Should I limit my hours? Will the parks be open? Do I stay open if Colorado moves back to a stay-at-home order? Do I require masks if I do re-open? Do I need to wear a mask the entire school day?”

Provider Survey Respondent

“Due to the pandemic and low enrollment, my classroom has been closed down, and I have been laid off. I’m heartbroken. I’m praying that I get my job back.”

Educator Survey Respondent


Early Milestones is grateful to the following project funders, without whom this effort would not be possible. We also thank our many partners who are helping to distribute surveys, interpret data, and develop communication tools.

  • Buell Foundation
  • Colorado Office of Early Childhood
  • CO Health Foundation
  • Gary Community Investments