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Fowler Tribune - Fowler, CO
  • Colorado Improves in National Preschool Rankings

  • Ranking 35th may not sound like much to cheer about, but for Colorado it's a marked improvement in the state of child care over past years.
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  • Ranking 35th may not sound like much to cheer about, but for Colorado it's a marked improvement in the state of child care over past years.
    The Child Care Aware "We Can Do Better" 2013 rankings are out today, and Colorado has moved from being one of the worst states in the nation as recently as 2011 to 35th overall.
    Gladys Wilson, president and chief executive of Qualistar Colorado, said Colorado is one of only 13 states nationwide to do comprehensive background checks on child-care workers. The state fully meets national standards for child-care center health and safety as well as access to inspection reports and information on staff credentials.
    "I know this is not an easy fix," she said. "The important thing to remember is these are basic standards, and we certainly want to continue to making licensing standards even better."
    The report finds Colorado failing in the size and number of staff in classrooms, caseloads for state inspection workers and in the frequency of those inspections.
    The recommended caseload is 50 centers for each inspector, Wilson said, which would allow for quarterly visits. In Colorado, the ratio is 140 to one - and that means inspections take place once every two years.
    "As the revenue forecasts get better and better," she said, "this would be a great place for us to talk about investing some of those dollars so that that staff has a reasonable caseload."
    The 2014 presidential budget plan released Wednesday offers some ways for Colorado to solve those problems. It includes block grants to states to improve monitoring of and access to preschool programs.
    The full report is online at naccrra.org.
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