GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KREX) —The Colorado Department of Early Childhood has announced a $21.5 million dollars in Grants to Community Innovation and Resilience for Care and Learning Equity — also known as C.I.R.C.L.E.

Funded through the Federal American Rescue Plan and in partnership with Early Milestones Colorado — the grants are designed to help strengthen Colorado’s Child Care system and address child care challenges worsened by the pandemic.

Across 52 counties…nearly 200 organizations — including 106 early child care and education providers, 19 early childhood councils, and 63 statewide organizations were awarded “C.I.R.C.L.E.” grants.

Organizers say the grants will be put towards approaches to make child care more affordable, plan for and address gaps in infant and toddler care, boost the early childhood education workforce, as well as promoting children’s health, social-emotional development, and learning.

The Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Early Childhood says this support is absolutely critical — and she’s grateful to ensure young Coloradans and their families are well supported.

“All of us in the pandemic, especially, saw the need for childcare especially as we are all working from home with our children so these grants are really working towards innovative solutions to make sure that those services are accessible throughout the state moving forward,” says Colorado Department of Early Childhood’s Stimulus Grant Manager, Bonnie Rouse-Caputo.