High-quality child care programs prepare children for success in school and in life
Research shows that children who attend quality child care and preschool programs are likely to do well in school and go on to lead happy, healthy lives.
The quality of early learning programs is so important because the brains of babies and toddlers are growing fast!
Because young children’s brains develop so quickly, it’s important they spend time with caring adults in programs that help them learn and explore safely.
Choosing the right child care program for your family can feel overwhelming. We have resources that make the process of finding quality child care easier.
Depending on where in Jeffco you live, there are different types of child care programs to consider, from large child care centers to small home-based providers.
|Child Care Centers||Family Child Care Homes||Head Start & Early Head Start||Jeffco Public Schools Pre-K||Friend, Family or Neighbor Care (FFN)|
|Centers offer full- or part-time programs. Children are grouped by age, and programs operate from commercial buildings. Centers are larger and have more children enrolled. Centers have a director and multiple staff members.
Child care centers are licensed and monitored for health and safety by the State.
|Child care programs that are located in a family home (house or apartment). These programs provide care for more than four children on a regular basis.
Family child care homes are licensed and monitored for health and safety by the State.
|Early Head Start (0-3 years) and Head Start (3-5 years) programs serve children from low-income families. Programs may be located in centers, schools, or family homes.
Head Start may also offer health, nutrition, and other support services for families.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs must meet federal standards for health and safety.
|Half-day, full-day and extended-day preschool programs for 3 and 4-year-olds is available in Jeffco. Financial assistance is available for qualifying families.
Pre-K programs through Jeffco Public Schools are licensed and monitored for health and safety by the State.
|FFN care is provided in the child’s home, or the home of a caregiver whom parents feel comfortable with and trust (i.e., a relative, friend, neighbor, nanny or babysitter).
They may not be required to meet health, safety, and training standards.
Some programs are exempt from licensing requirements. To learn more about these programs and other types of child care programs, visit ColoradoShines.com.
Searching for child care can be a lot of work! It’s important to look into the options and research and visit the programs that you are interested in. Here’s how to get started:
Decide what kind of care is right for your family: a center, a family child care home, Head Start, etc.
Find out if you qualify for financial assistance. The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program helps eligible families pay for child care. Learn more about CCCAP here.
Search for programs in your community. Use the online search tool to find licensed, quality-rated programs at ColoradoShines.com/search. Search for licensed family child care homes in Jeffco here. Or call 1-877-338-2273 to talk to a child care referral specialist about your options — for free!
Narrow down your list of child care programs and go visit each one. Observe carefully and ask lots of questions. Use this checklist of the most important things to look for and questions to ask.
Research the licensing history and monitoring reports of the programs you are considering. Visit ColoradoShines.com/search and enter the program name. Scroll down to the bottom of the detailed search results to view the program’s history.
Once you decide on your top one to three programs, contact each one and get on the waitlist if necessary. Put your child’s name on more than one program waitlist. This helps to ensure that a spot becomes available for your child as soon as possible.
The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides financial assistance to eligible low-income families who need help paying for child care.
CCCAP benefits can be used to support care for children from birth to age 12 or children with additional needs for care who are under age 19.
Families must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for CCCAP. For eligible families, a portion of the total cost of child care will be paid by CCCAP directly to your child’s provider. Families must pay the rest of the cost of care, determined on a sliding scale based on family size and income.
If you are planning to go back to work or school after the baby is born, one of the most important things to plan for is child care. (As if you needed another item on your to-do list!)
High-quality child care in the first months and years of life gives babies a strong start and a solid foundation for lifelong learning and well-being.
Start looking for child care now (even if you are still pregnant). Some program wait lists can be many months long!
Make sure to choose a program that has experience caring for babies. Colorado Shines has more information about what you can do to ensure your baby is safe in child care.
Once you have selected a child care program, use this checklist to make sure you and baby are ready for the first day in child care.
There are resources in our community to support you as you search for child care.
Search for licensed, quality child care programs in your community. Compare quality ratings and view each program’s licensing and monitoring history.
Jefferson County Child Care Association
Search tool to find a family child care home with openings near you.
|Colorado Shines Child Care Resource & Referral Line
Call, chat or email live with one of our child care referral experts, available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Learn more.
|Colorado Child Care Assistance Program
Learn about the eligibility requirements to quality for help paying for child care costs.
If you need information about other resources and community programs (e.g.,food assistance, housing, health care, etc.) enter your zip code in the search box below. You’ll find organizations and programs near you that can provide support.