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Nonprofit Spotlight

Kay Vasilakis
Glenwood Springs CO Colorado

Quality child care is crucial to growing families and vital to the healthy development of our future citizens.

The Department of Human Services Childcare Program supports strong relationships between providers and families, exposure to developmentally appropriate practices, low child/teacher ratios, well-educated providers, and safe and healthy environments, which in turn will produce healthy, well-adjusted kindergartners who are eager to learn.

Dana Damm is the program manager/licensing specialist for family child care homes in Garfield County. Ericka Anderson facilitates the social-emotional program, which assesses behaviors of children from birth to age 5 in centers and homes, and provides assistance to facilities and families to help children manage their behavior before they reach school age. Donna Ward administers the environmental rating scales, which are an indicator of quality, and she also promotes literacy in homes and centers. The program offers quality enhancement grants to facilities, and has a “lending library” resource van with equipment and supplies.



Trainings are sponsored so providers can stay current and obtain the 15 annual hours of education that are required for continuing licensing.

If you are interested in working in a child care center, or obtaining a family child care license and becoming part of the early childhood professional community, call Kids First at 928-7111. Kids First has the information you need about which centers are hiring, and if you are interested in starting a home child care business, they will mail you a licensing packet.



While an applicant is waiting for the state to process the application, several trainings are required. Pre-licensing training, medications administration and universal precautions training, CPR and first-aid training are needed. Once the application is processed, a licensing specialist will call the applicant and set an inspection appointment. After the inspection and after potential violations are corrected, the license is issued.

The licensing process takes approximately one month to complete. Future inspections are made at six months, one year, or two years or as needed. The department is available to providers to help the facilities succeed.

A free pre-licensing training sponsored by the Garfield County Department of Human Services will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 21 and 22, in Glenwood Springs. To register, call Dana Damm at 945-9191, ext. 3066, by March 14.

Parents who need child care may call Kids First at 928-7111 for referrals. Kids First updates its database quarterly and has information regarding vacancies, ages of children cared for, etc.

The eighth annual Provider Appreciation Brunch will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 20, at the Hotel Colorado. This event recognizes licensed child care providers, both family child care and centers, for the work they do for Garfield County’s young children and their families.

Members of the community may nominate an outstanding provider for recognition by sending an e-mail to ddamm@garfield-county.com or mailing their nomination to Dana Damm at 195 W. 14th Avenue, Rifle, CO 81650. Submissions should state why, in their opinion, their provider is outstanding. This is a wonderful way to let your child care provider know their efforts are appreciated.

Kay Vasilakis’ column, “Nonprofit Spotlight,” appears every other Wednesday. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her with a news tip or local inspiration, call 384-9118 or e-mail kvasilakis@postindependent.com.

Garfield County Department of Human Services Childcare Program

Began in Garfield County: 1999

Mission: To recruit and retain licensed child care providers as well as increase quality in established programs.

How many licensed child care facilities in Garfield County? Sixty licensed homes and more than 30 centers.

Contact numbers: Dana Damm at 945-9191, ext. 3066.


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