EPIC Champions Legislative Initiatives to Advance Early Childhood Priorities
Early care and education are crucial for a thriving Colorado economy. Not only do working Colorado families rely upon high-quality early childhood education for their children’s learning and care, but Colorado’s employers must have a variety of these options for the modern workforce which is increasingly comprised of two-parent, working families.
EPIC is at the forefront of these policy and advocacy efforts, leading the conversation. As the business community’s non-partisan voice for early childhood care and education, EPIC is influencing change and advancing policy, sustaining the workforce of today while developing the workforce for tomorrow. Quite simply, we work to grow Colorado’s economy by supporting families and children first.
Through our multi-pronged program of direct legislative advocacy, policy development, press/public relations, and the gathering together of professional experts in both business and early childhood education, we are improving access to quality, affordable child care and early education in Colorado. Examples of our legislative and policy accomplishments include:
- Child Care Contribution Tax Credit (CCTC)
- Funding for Full-day Kindergarten (HB 19-1262)
- Allow Home Child Care in Homeowners’ Association Communities (SB20-126)
- Creation of Special Districts to Provide Early Childhood Development Services (HB19-1052)
- Expand Child Care Expenses Income Tax Credit (HB18-1208)
- Amendment B Gallagher Amendment Repeal (November 2020)
Through our members and our lobbying efforts, we affect change and influence public policy, shaping Colorado’s early childhood priorities and investments for current and future generations. Our efforts employ multiple advocacy strategies including leading and engaging coalition efforts, meeting with editorial boards and authoring guest columns, leveraging our leader network connections to advocate for effective early childhood policies, and proposing innovative policy solutions that directly affect Colorado’s families and workplaces.
Moving forward, much of our current work is focused on:
- Expanding access of affordable and quality preschool and early child care for working families
- Building the workforce and long-term sustainability of the early child care and education sector
- Helping child care and preschool business owners manage their real estate costs to keep their programs open, provide quality experiences, and pay the wages necessary to attract and retain qualified workers
As we continue our efforts to advance these causes, our advocacy efforts include the following:
- Epic’s advocacy program weighed-in with Colorado’s influential Joint Budget Committee, urging their support of a $5 million supplemental request to support employer-based, childcare solutions. The pandemic has created an ideal opportunity for the State to collaborate with employers and business leaders to create solutions and leverage investments that address access and affordability for Colorado’s most under-resourced communities and workers.
- Epic ‘s legislative outreach program contacted each of Colorado’s House and Senate winners of the 2021 elections on both sides of the aisle, informing legislators of the organization’s active involvement in the design and implementation of universal preschool, while working to address regulatory barriers that limit child care businesses’ ability to expand or launch programs in Colorado.
- EPIC has identified the following policy initiatives that will be addressed in the 2021 Colorado legislative session, which resumed February 16.
- Commercial Zoning, Building and Fire Code Restrictions for Family Child Care
Epic has assumed a leading role in driving legislation to streamline commercial zoning, building, and fire codes for family child care homes to protect them from unfair business barriers and requirements – such as the installation of full sprinkler systems and additional exit doors. Passage of this legislation would mean that in-home, family-run, child care businesses would have the same requirements as other residential homes, which would ease the financial burdens that often lead to failed childcare programs.
- Parental Choice and Broad Access to Preschool for All
EPIC is advocating for the broad inclusion of parental choice during the implementation of recently legislated Proposition EE and universal preschool in Colorado communities. Parental input regarding the delivery of community-based child care options will help retain quality and assure that the specific needs of local working families are supported.
- Real Property Index Bill Alternatives
EPIC will continue its efforts to investigate additional free or low-cost real estate solutions to support child care businesses and other organizations that serve the community.
- Addressing Child Care Licensing Rules and Regulations as a Barrier to Entry
EPIC is prepared to provide input regarding the revision of licensing rules for child care spaces and facilities that will enable more flexibility within communities and greater opportunity for innovative solutions.
Our members, Colorado businesses, and the many nonprofit and community groups who share our objectives are critical to advancing policies and developing infrastructure that bolster the workforce of today while cultivating the workforce of tomorrow. We invite policy makers, legislators, lobbyists, and advocates who understand the critical relationship between early childhood and economic growth to join us in making Colorado a great place to raise a family, work, and thrive. Learn how you can get involved and leave a legacy of change for Colorado’s future.