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  • Children First
  • Find Child Care

    To find child care options in your community please contact our partners at Colorado Shines Child Care Referral at Mile High United Way, providing child care resource and referrals for Colorado by phone at 877-338-CARE (2273), by email at childcarereferrals@unitedwaydenver.org  or by live chat Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Search for child care online by visiting the Colorado Shines website.

    Please take advantage of the links and information provided below to increase your knowledge of quality care.  

    We encourage all clients to review a child care provider's records by calling the Colorado Division of Early Care and Learning at 1-800-799-5876 or access licensed child care providers records online on the Colorado Shines website.

    Colorado Shines LogoWhat is Colorado Shines?
    Colorado Shines is a quality rating and improvement system for Colorado’s licensed early care and learning programs. Using proven methods, it measures quality based on how an early learning program supports its children, families and professionals. Once ranked, it helps programs improve their quality rating/level and connect with families who are looking for quality child care.

    Why does it matter?
    Research consistently shows that children who attend quality early care and learning programs are more likely to do well in school and less likely to drop out or need remedial education.

    As a parent or caregiver, your child’s success rests on your shoulders. Quality education helps children start early and start strong. And the benefits last forever.

    What do the levels mean?
    Once analyzed, Colorado Shines scores each early learning program on a scale of 1 to 5 and assigns it a quality rating. The ratings are as follows:

    Level 1: Programs are licensed with the State of Colorado

    Level 2: Programs are licensed, in good standing, plus:
          -    have a quality improvement plan in place
          -    have conducted the L2 Quality Indicator Program Assessment
          -    have registered staff in the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System
          -    have completed trainings on basic components of a quality early care and education environment

    Level 3-5: Programs are licensed and in good standing, plus:
          -    have completed the Level 2 requirements
          -    have been assessed and rated by a Colorado Shines Quality Ratings Assessor based on points
               in five categories:
                -    Workforce Qualifications
                -    Family Partnerships
                -    Administration
                -    Learning Environment
                -    Child Health

    Informational links about child care