Unifying the Early Childhood System: Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families members weigh in on HB1304 Implementation

Advocacy | Thriving FamiliesFrom the Blog

Colorado is at a turning point. Due to the passage of House Bill 1304 Early Childhood System, the state is embarking on a journey to redesign how the state structures early childhood programming by creating a new state Department of Early Childhood, effective July 1, 2022. Over the course of the next year, the Early Childhood Leadership Commission will be developing and approving a transition plan–with input from families and professionals across the state. There is no bigger opportunity for members of the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families (the Partnership) to inform systems alignment for family well-being for families with young children.

On July 28, members of the Partnership, including several Partnership members who are also serving on the Department of Early Childhood Transition Advisory Group, met to share ideas about how the implementation of House Bill 1304 Early Childhood System can strengthen families by building on what’s working while transforming what isn’t. We are grateful to those who were able to join and share their insights on which programs should/should not move to the new department, what considerations the State should keep in mind in structuring the new department, and what the State should consider around timing of the transition. Participants identified a number of key considerations:


  • We need to bring intentionality and focus to how family strengthening programs are impacted by this change.
  • It’s not so much the what; it’s the how. No matter what programs move (or not), there will continue to be a need for clear roles, responsibilities, and communication between state departments.
  • Family voice needs to be centered–now and ongoing. By centering and collaborating with parents and families on an ongoing basis, we can ensure that the new department is being built and run with a holistic family perspective that will work for Colorado families.
  • We can both boldly reimagine our systems while also building on our strengths. Especially considering family strengthening work, our state has a lot of great programs and efforts–like the Partnership–that can be learned from and leveraged even as we transform our structures.