In the mid 1990’s the Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes Study revealed an alarming result, “42% of the infant and toddler rooms observed in the study were observed to endanger children’s health and safety” (Helburn, 1995). Less than 10% of infant/toddlers classrooms were deemed developmentally appropriate. In 1998, these findings in conjunction with other factors such as welfare reform and discoveries from emerging brain research led the federal government to earmark a portion of the Child Care Development Block Grant dollars to be used directly for improving quality for infant toddler care (Matthews, 2008). Colorado used a portion of this earmark to create the Expanding Quality in Infant Toddler Care (EQ) Initiative.
The Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care convened a statewide group of stakeholders with expertise in infant toddler development and care. This group determined that the most effective strategies for increasing quality for infants and toddlers included extensive professional development for those caring for them, increased local capacity to provide this professional development, and strengthened community partnerships to address the needs of infants and toddlers. After developing a research-based curriculum to address the needs of infants and toddlers, CDE conducted the first EQIT Training of Trainers in 1999. Thirty-four individuals attended this training of trainers and began providing the EQIT Course to the infant and toddler providers in their local communities. Currently, twenty-nine Early Childhood Councils conduct the EQIT Course for providers in over thirty-six Colorado communities. The EQ Initiative added the OUNCE Scale Assessment for Infants and Toddlers in 2004 and the Touchpoints Approach in 2005.
To create a network of Infant Toddler Specialists around the state, the EQ Initiative provides a variety of professional development opportunities to EQ Instructors. These opportunities include trainings with national presenters from organizations such as Pacific Oaks College and Zero to Three. As the Infant Toddler Specialists within their community, EQ Instructors work closely with their Early Childhood Council and other community partners to address the needs of infants, toddlers, providers, and families.
Helburn, S. (1995). Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers, Technical Report. Denver: Department of Economics, Center for Research in Economic and Social Policy, University of Colorado at Denver.
Matthews, H. (2008). Infants and Toddlers in the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program. Center for Law and Social Policy.