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Early Childhood At-Risk Enhancement - ECARE

General Guidelines for the Early Childhood At-Risk Enhancement (ECARE) Program:

In addition to the 20,160 traditional CPP positions, the General Assembly has authorized funding for 9,200 ECARE positions that may be used to fund half-day preschool, combined for full-day preschool or to provide full-day kindergarten.  

Preschool ECARE Requirements

  • Programs using ECARE positions to fund preschool children must meet all the requirements noted for CPP

  • Children funded with ECARE positions must have the appropriate number of significant family risk factors documented

  • Two ECARE positions may be combined to create a full-day preschool opportunity for an eligible child

  • ECARE positions may not be combined with CPP positions to create a full-day opportunity. This is because of the 5% statewide cap on full-time CPP placements.

  • A child who qualifies under IDEA as a child with a disability and thus eligible for a half day of preschool or kindergarten general education may be funded for an additional half day of programming if they meet the eligibility criteria of ECARE, creating a full day opportunity. This combination of funding must be used to increase the hours of programming for a child from a half day to a full day program

  • ECARE positions may be used to fund a second year of preschool for eligible children served with CPP funds as three-year-olds in the prior school year

  • ECARE positions may not be used to fund a second year of preschool for children served with CPP funds as four-year-olds

  • ECARE positions may not be used to serve kindergarten age-eligible children in preschool

Kindergarten ECARE Requirements

Programs serving kindergarten-age children funded by the Colorado Preschool Program must:

  • Follow the Colorado Academic Standards

  • Meet all School Readiness requirements as required by Senate Bill 212, the Preschool to Postsecondary Education Alignment Act Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K)

  • Demonstrate how funds are being used to enhance quality in their kindergarten programs.

  • Use the Colorado Quality Standards for Early Childhood Programs to measure quality and ensure best practices are in place.

  • Kindergarteners who are funded with ECARE positions must be counted during the October pupil count period

    Children Served with ECARE in 2017-18

  • Half- Day Preschool: 1,571
  • Full-Day Preschool: 713
  • Kindergarten: 5,203

ECARE Highlights:

  • ECARE slots must be used to serve CPP eligible preschool and kindergarten children.
    • Eligibility - Three-year-olds with must have at least three eligibility factors and Four-year-olds and kindergarteners must have at least one eligibility factor may be served.
    • Four-year-olds and kindergarteners with at least one eligibility factor may be served with ECARE slots.
  • ECARE may be used to provide half- or full-day preschool programs
    • In districts with existing full-day kindergarten programs, eligible kindergarteners can be served in full-day kindergarten programs using one .5 FTE ECARE slot per child.
  • Districts have the flexibility to use their ECARE slots differently from year to year.

ECARE Continued:

  • The planning process and application development in districts with existing CPP programs must be guided by the district preschool advisory council.
  • As with all CPP expansions, the award of expansion slots is made through a competitive application.
  • The review panel will consider factors such as the quality of the application, the quality of the program plan, the level of unmet need, the degree of community partnership, district risk factors such as dropout rates and history of unspent or “carryover” funds in the district CPP program. 

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