HRC Column: Connections 4 Kids works to empower the lives of young families  |

HRC Column: Connections 4 Kids works to empower the lives of young families 

Human Resource Coalition Column
People browse some of the pieces submitted by local students for the 10th annual Cherish the Little Things art show sponsored by Connection 4 Kids in 2022. This year's fundraiser is set for April 6-10 at the Center of Craig.
Eli Pace/Craig Press

The importance of early childhood education is often overlooked. It cultivates a future workforce, promotes economic growth, and develops our future leaders. Brain development begins before birth and into adulthood. Early interactions and experiences with caregivers help to shape a young child’s brain. Building a healthy brain early provides a child with a solid foundation and increases positive long-term outcomes. 

The problem is that Moffat County is a child care desert with extremely limited child care slots available. This puts a strain on the workforce and affects families’ overall well-being.

The exciting news is that Connections 4 Kids is prepared to support any interested individuals who would like to become a child care provider. These supports include financial and business planning, obtaining necessary certifications, and moving through the licensing process. The state is giving a $5,000 incentive to individuals who become newly licensed. There are also numerous grant and scholarship opportunities available. If you or anyone you know is interested or would like more information, please contact Cristina LaRose at 970-824-1081.

Colorado is one of many states across the nation working hard to ensure that young children and their families have access to high-quality services and supports that lead to success in school and life. The most recent effort being the implementation of Universal Preschool, which will provide at least 10 hours of preschool for all 4-year-olds in Colorado and 10 hours for 3-year-olds with qualifying risk factors. 

Connections 4 Kids is one of 35 early childhood councils in the state with the goal of improving the quality of early learning environments, ensuring families have access to social, physical and mental health services, and delivering resources to early childhood professionals and young families, while hosting community events such as the Wild About Wellness Health Fair, Christmas 4 Kids, Children’s Festival, and offering professional development for early childhood professionals. They are also the Local Coordinating Organization for Universal Preschool, so child care professionals and families can contact them with any questions or for assistance completing the application. 

Connections 4 Kids also offers a Parent Education Center to the community. Serving both Moffat and Rio Blanco counties since 2016, Connections 4 Kids has helped 1,315 families access essential services. The programs focus on enhancing parenting practices and behaviors, such as developing and practicing positive discipline techniques, learning age-appropriate child development skills and milestones, as well as promoting positive play and interaction between parents and children. These classes are offered free of charge with dinner and child care being provided. 

The following programs are offered at the Parent Education Center: 

  • The Incredible Years (spring) 
  • Love and Logic (summer) 
  • Positive Solutions for Families (fall) 
  • Ready! For Kindergarten (year-round, schedule an appointment anytime) 

The annual Cherish the Little Things Art Show is taking place April 6-8 at the Center of Craig. This is Connections 4 Kids’ annual fundraiser, which displays youth art from all around the community.

If you would like to support Connections 4 Kids and the work they do, please consider visiting this event or contacting Betsy Overton at 970-824-1081 for more information. 

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