Child Care Relief Grants

  • Child Care Relief Grant Program

    Governor Polis called a special session of the state legislature in December 2020 to address the specific challenges posed by COVID-19. Child care was recognized as one of the sectors most at risk as well as one that is critical to the survival of most other sectors in the state.

    Out of this recognition, HB20B-1002 created two grant programs to support child care providers across the state: the first of which is being called the Child Care Relief Grant program and the second, the Emerging and Expanding Child Care Grant Program. The legislation provides $45 million in General Fund to support licensed child care in sustaining and expanding their businesses

    Who is Eligible? 

    All licensed child care providers who are open and operating by February 28, 2021. 

    This means providers with a:

    • Child Care Center License
    • School-age Child Care License
    • Family Child Care Home License
    • Preschool License 

    Programs that are 100% funded by CPP or Headstart are also eligible for this grant.

    “Open” means the provider has an open child care license and is not in the revocation process.  Programs on probation are still eligible.

    “Operating” means the provider is actively giving in-person care by February 28th. Virtual services do not count for the purposes of this grant program.

    How can a provider apply for a grant?

    There is no formal application, however, you must complete the following 3 steps to be eligible:

    1. Programs must update their information in the Child Care Status Portal. Programs that updated their status before December 14, 2020, must update their status again as new questions have been added. This step MUST be done by January 15th, 2021.
    2. Complete a provider rate survey. The survey will be emailed 1-2 weeks after submitting the status portal update. Surveys must be completed by February 28, 2021.
    3. Submit an affirmation form and banking information. These forms will be emailed to providers from “Child Care Relief Grants (CCRG)” via with the subject line “Child Care Relief Grants Certification for [your site name].” The email will be sent within 1-2 weeks after submitting the status portal update. The forms must be returned by February 17, 2021.

    What can the funds be used for?

    Grants may support child care providers with costs associated with COVID-19, including but not limited to: 

    • accommodating smaller group sizes,
    • activities designed to address the availability of child care, particularly those serving essential and emergency workers
    • purchasing additional safety and cleaning supplies, and; 
    • covering salaries and other compensations for staff who provide child care

    Providers can attribute previous expenditures and costs associated with COVID, including supplies they've already purchased or lost wages/income from lower enrollment, etc.
    We recommend that programs keep documentation of receipts and invoices for grant related expenses.

    What are the Grant Deadlines? 

    • January 15, 2021 -- Deadline to update information in Child Care Provider Status Portal
    • January 18, 2021 -- Department will determine the total number of eligible providers and maximum award amounts per provider
    • January 20, 2021 -- Payment to providers who have completed all application steps begin
    • February 17, 2021 -- Deadline to complete grant certification and banking forms
    • February 28, 2021 -- Deadline to complete provider rate survey; Last date the Department may distribute grant money to providers 

    Where can I get more information? 

    Check out the Child Care Relief Grant Program Frequently Asked Questions and view the email sent to child care providers on 12/16/20.

    For other questions, please email

  • Emerging and Expanding Child Care Grant Program
    The Emerging and Expanding Child Care Grant Program was created to expand access and availability of licensed child care throughout Colorado and especially in child care deserts. Eligible programs include:
    1. Currently open and operating licensed programs, serving children birth to five, with a permanent or provisional license which are expanding their current licensed capacity; OR 
    2. An applicant actively pursuing a child care license through the Division of Early Care & Learning.

    Family child care homes may apply for up to $50,000.  

    Child care centers may apply up to $200,000 under these conditions:

    • For Funding Requests between $50,001-$100,000, the program must serve at least 20 NEW six weeks to five-year-olds.  Of those 20, at least 5 of them must be infants and/or toddlers. 
    • For Funding Requests between $100,001-$200,000, the program must serve at least 40 NEW six weeks to five-year-olds.  Of those 40, at least 10 of them must be infants and/or toddlers.

    Programs that meet the criteria will be eligible for a grant award from $3,000 up to $50,000 in expenses related to the expansion of current capacity or the opening of a new child care program. Programs must serve children ages birth to five to be eligible.

    Who Do I Contact if I Need Support? 

    Child Care Licensing Specialists and Early Childhood Councils will provide support at the local level including offering consultation to prospective programs on how to become licensed and assisting existing child care programs to expand their licensed capacity. Please direct all questions to your Early Childhood Council, your licensing specialist or the Colorado Shines helpdesk at 1.844.447.4441. Scroll down to view the steps for completing the application or click here.

    What is Considered a "Program?"

    “Program” refers to both licensed child care centers and family child care homes and those seeking a license serving children birth to age five. Existing programs that have outstanding violations from a recent inspection or are under the adverse licensing process, must meet these requirements before funds can be awarded. Programs that receive 100% of funding from public sources such as Head Start/Early Head Start or the Colorado Preschool Program are not eligible.

    Programs that are actively seeking a license should submit an original application and receive a pending license number before they apply. Programs that are expanding or increasing their capacity should submit a change request form and fee.

    Tips for Submitting a Successful Emerging and Expanding Child Care Grant  Application: 

    To complete your application, you will need to do the following: 
    • Complete required licensing paperwork which includes: 
      • Your signed application and fee for the license type you are applying for 
      • A change request form with the correct fee
      • A letter of support for your project (this is only required if you are leasing or renting your space).
    • Consult with your Early Childhood Council to complete the budget template for your project. The budget template is a download included in the grant application. Your budget will need to include the following: 
      • An outline of the amount of funding being requested 
      • A breakdown of the projected expenses and a justification of the cost.
    • Have a description of your project available (you will be asked to describe your project in the application)
    • If you are renting or leasing your location you will also need a letter of support from your landlord that will need to be uploaded with your application. 
    For questions, please contact your Early Childhood Council, your Licensing Specialist or the Colorado Shines helpdesk at 1.844.447.4441.
    Click here to begin your application