Kids First promotes quality child care |

Kids First promotes quality child care

Nonprofit Spotlight
Kay Vasilakis
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kay Vasilakis

Kids First has raised the bar for delivering information and referrals to families seeking child care in Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties. Director Shirley Ritter stated Kids First has attained Child Care Aware Quality Assurance, a national recognition for its high-quality family services.

The Child Care Aware Consumer Education Quality Assurance Program, a national voluntary certification for child-care resource and referral agencies, is designed to ensure families across the nation have access to consistent, high-quality services that support them in making informed child-care choices.

Kids First is a governmental nonprofit that started in 1992 in Pitkin County, funded by a dedicated sales tax in the city of Aspen. In 2003, Kids First was selected by the Aspen Community Foundation to partner in their Early Childhood Education Initiative. The partnership has provided funding to establish a Glenwood Springs office to provide child-care referrals, support for child-care providers in general, and quality improvement coaching for programs and professional development for child-care staff. It also offers information to people wanting to start a child-care program and sends licensing packets to people to help them start a home child-care business.

Two people work in the Kids First Glenwood Springs office. One is the referral specialist for all three counties, and the other is the quality improvement site coach working with programs from Aspen to Parachute.

Kids First’s referral specialists provide parents with information they need to make wise child-care decisions. With a specialist’s help, parents are better prepared to: know what to look for to ensure their child-care program is high-quality; identify the ideal child-care program that meets their needs; help determine if they should stay home or return to work after having a new baby; and more.

In addition to helping families find child care and other parenting resources, Kids First also offers child-care financial aid to qualified families, grants, quality improvement coaching and T.E.A.C.H. scholarships to child-care programs and staff.

Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column is published every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her, call 384-9118 or e-mail

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