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  • Dawn Alexander

Duplicate UPK Provider Survey

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

We added one additional question to the state survey (see the response at the bottom).

If you are a UPK provider and haven't taken the duplicate survey yet, take it here:

We will be updating this as responses come in. Thank you for participating!! We will relay information to CDEC and the Governor's Office.

187 respondents on 10/3/23 at 1:30 p.m.

***Please note: Any reference to "BridgeCare" is done by the individual and not by ECEA.

Change in format due to google sheets:

I saved spots at my preschool for UPK, because the state asked me to. I wanted to help get this program off the ground! It kept saying I had matches in the system, but I couldn’t ever see any. Meanwhile parents were telling me the program was impossible to register for. Several families left my program to go to a school district program that promised them they “had UPK” even though my program is also registered for UPK. They we’re never able to get registered there either, so they eventually came back, but it was a huge hassle for everyone involved. The whole program seems like a bureaucratic nightmare for providers and parents.

This has been the biggest administrative burden ever! I am spending hours and hours trying to match Bridgecare, to the applications and enrollments I have in my system and then trying to go back and match payment reports to what is in Bridgecare. Every time a family wants to change their childs schedule it takes several back and forth emails or call with the LCO. I have been spending so much time on this I am not getting into my classrooms and supporting my staff. Staff are burning out and quitting because I am can support them because I am trapped in my office trying to manage enrollments so we get our funding! This all needs to go away and let us direct enroll our families!

I have filled out my profile several times and it still shows not complete. Extremely annoying. I have been matched with 3 children who had ieps and I am a home provider. I had several other potential parents Extremely frustrated at the fact that they were not getting as many hours as they thought they would get. Those parents take it out on me as the provider.

I have had a few children who have matched to us multiple times and have never actually enrolled or even responded when we reached out. These families who continuously match to us hold up spots that could go to families who actually want/need schooling and care for their child. It would be helpful if we were able to decline a family for non-communication when we reach out multiple times over a few weeks and they ignore us.

One of my kids was not matched to my program where he had already been attending for the past three years

never was contacted by matched parents.

nothing worked as they promised and the rules keep changing. We had families apply at the same time, and one family got in first rounds, and others were kicked through the system two and three times because their application was more complicated, leading to unequal access to the same seats. Families call us for support, but we can't help them, and the CDEC keeps changing who can help them and when. Our families were given the run-around, and they were asked to complete hours of wait time to get help. They have taken a system where we could serve families, and removed providers ability to support changes in the system, see what families had applied for, support them with helpdesk issues. This isn't a one-done program for us. We are trying to establish relationships for YEARS with families. This just made us seem like we didn't know anything and we couldn't help. That doesn't establish initial trust.

The process takes too long for families to find out if they have a spot. In rural areas this long process is not necessary. We need the ability to accept the families right away to move the process along. We also need the ability to make changes to our program without have to go through so many people. Some examples; My portal was listed as the wrong county and I was getting kids from another town in my portal, I couldn't change it and NO ONE would get back to me to correct this. I sent numerus emails, made numerus phone calls and so did our LCO with no help with no response. This was finally fixed in August but from the time the portal opened to August our 3 yr old's couldn't get into out portal. If I would have just had the control to fix this myself it would have saved such a headache. Another example; Since hardly anyone received full day funding, we are no longer offering full day but I am unable to change my seats to match what I am offering. The State is trying to control too much of the process and not letting us Directors do our jobs.

The whole program is a mess and nothing makes sense.

Multiple verification requests have been a significant pain point for families, leading to unnecessary frustration. Both centers and home providers, including us, face the risk of families mistakenly attributing these issues as provider-specific and potentially seeking alternatives. It is imperative for the program to be intuitive and straightforward for families; the emphasis on this cannot be overstated. Many respected professionals in our field may explore other income avenues if early education continues to be challenging in this manner. Additionally, there have been instances where families, despite clear disparities in their income factors, are incorrectly informed that they do not qualify. The program must improve its mechanisms to identify and rectify such discrepancies. As providers, while we're committed to laying the groundwork, we rely on our partner programs to optimize the UPK process. This entails: 1. Simplifying the enrollment process for families. 2. Ensuring timely and consistent payments to providers, enabling us to augment the program further.

The roll-out of UPK has been horrible for both families and providers. It is confusing for families, with long wait times in between applying and getting matched. Families should have had the ability to find a school that works for their family, enroll, then be put into the UPK system. For providers, it has been a logistical nightmare, requiring way more administrative hours than we are budgeted for. While I'm very happy that 3-year-olds were included in this program, the fact that we have to go through the school district, and then they take a cut of of our revenue, just doesn't seem fair. They are totally overloaded. At one point I reached out to the APS admissions team for the status of a family that we knew had applied, and was told that they were sifting throug over 800 application! This caused a delay in students being able to start school in a timely manner and frustration for both the families and for us. This whole process seems to have been put together by people who have no clue what the front line of preschool is really like. Very unorganized and very disappointing.

The process from the beginning has been very difficult from children constantly going from matched back to placed , and so forth , and not having an answer nor realistic timeline for when children are available to start . As well as there is no way before enrolling for us to know if a family is 15 hours or 30 hours , even when exporting enrolled kids to the CSV document , its not stated clearly how many hours on this document .

An abundance of families thought that being matched with my school was the equivalent of enrolling. I spent a ton of time explaining the difference between registration for UPK vs my school and it was still problematic. There were a handful of occasions where my current families couldn't get matched because outside families accepted the match but would not enroll. Jordan Clothier at Arapahoe County was instrumental in correcting this which is why I didn't pull my hair out. With a good LCO, the issues are more easily overcome, but I feel for those who may not have had the same support I did.

this was incredibly frustrating process. Children who were already enrolled in my school, were not matched with us and it was a pain to get it changed.

I had one family who messed up on their application and forgot to mark currently enrolled. Since their address is a Denver address, but they are in Jefferson county still. All their information was stuck in Denver and it took a few months to get them matched with me. It took me getting the parent in the email and having to email my LCO, Denver LCO & numerous individuals at CDEC & the governors office.

Adding in the details of our program was challenging and still does not list our Colorado Shines rating (level 5) as part of advertising the high quality of our program. A handful of our current students had issues matching with us for months. We had to bump students to accommodate our current students who wanted a spot, but the internal issue was not fixed for them to be accepted. We had lots of students be matched to us, and very few who accepted a spot. Once those students accepted the spot, they often did not go through our registration process and eventually we wouldn't see them on our portal anymore, with no explanation of why.

Children should enroll in our program and then enroll in UPK. It's backwards right now

On their matching process, names are sent more than 70% of time. No one gets back to me for weeks if ever, then I never know now the window of families to accept? Then they might accept or might not, but I am down to PM classes and have no way of letting parents have that choice.

There are way to many steps - Place, Matched Accepted, then enroll- it is too much for families and hard on providers. Especially the UPK3!!! It is very confusing to families that they get matched and accepted to a district but that does not necessarily mean they are attending a district preschool- The half day- full day is super confusing for families as well- They get word that they are enrolled full day - but many only have funding for half day- It should say 30 hrs or 15 hours or 10 hours not full day or half dat that is decided by families and providers. UPK 4 children with IEP's can choose any site and many of those sites are not equipped to provide SPED services. ALL SPED students should be funneled through the district that by law needs to provide those services so together SPED teams and families can find the best fit for that child. If we were not such a tightknit community SPED students could fall through the crack easily with the way it is now.

Many broken promises and we are very low on enrollment after hiring a new UPK teacher and opening a new classroom for UPK we only have 5 students in our UPK classroom.

My continuity of care kids were booted out by other kids I didn't know, whose "ten extra points"carried over. Also, parents didn't seem to have accurate information about how to choose providers with which they had continuity of care. The largest (other) problems I have experienced are 3 things

1) kids with multiple applications getting enrolled and re- enrolled into my program so I've gone 2 months with empty spots bc of it. (The lag time between when we see our matches and the parents deadline to accept them-- that entire process takes way too long.

2) I offered extended wraparound care but EVERY PARENT who chose those (with the exception of my continuity kids) didn't WANT THOSE SPOTS, only the free 15hrs) so I'm currently losing money on two spots that should've had wraparound care but don't. I didn't kick these last two out bc I'm losing too much money week by week, and I've removed several. This information needs to be on the spot choices and crystal clear for parents. I had the info in my bio and info page but that's not where it belongs. It needs to be addressed at the point where they choose the spot they want.

3) my waitlist supposedly has 31 people on it at some point so WHY DID I EVEN HAVE EMPTY SPOTS? THAT makes ZERO sense.

I don't like you have to wait a week for matches and be able to accept/enroll.

It was difficult at the beginning, but everything worked out. It just took a while.

I just don't understand why there are so many steps. The difference between part time and half time were confusing.

Bridgecare was constantly kicking kids out of our program, losing them completely, and just is really not user friendly. I had to have our LOC do a lot with the program.

it just creates more steps for parents and our program. we are waisting time on computers trying to get children in our program rather than with the children or families providing support

There was an extreme lack of communication or information given with providers left in the dark. Additionally, the turn around time for getting answers to questions was very challenging and we wouldn't hear back from our LCO before deadlines had already passed.

The whole process is not a smooth transition for those unfamiliar with the computer or email. There are so many steps that parents have to take to complete the enrollment process. They have to take a picture of their proof of income, upload it, and wait to receive an email so they can accept the match. Parents do not need extra steps. They are too busy with their life and sometimes just plain laziness. That extra step is too much for them.

Confusing for providers and parents to accept and enroll child correctly so they don't go back into the pool to be rematched or disappear on the providers site

Change in format due to this:

Give providers more leeway for enrolling and declining families once they have verified the family either does or doesn't want to enroll.

Let families tour school ahead of the application process. If a matching process must be used, all children need to be screened for learning challenges BEFORE they are matched with a program. We have so many students that need additional support that we were not told about during the enrollment process.

Allow providers to enroll their own 4 yos already attending their program. Allow providers to change their available seats and times.

Get rid of BridgeCare! Get rid of all of the additional steps that providers have to do. Direct Enrollment for families. Families don't want to talk to the LCO or anyone else. They want to make a connection with the providers that will be taking care of their children.

I want to be able to handle registration directly with families who are committed and understand my program. This will cut down on the withdrawals many other providers had.

It was just a lot of information and it felt like the information changed rapidly. The one family I enrolled did not match with me, we facilitated that through Liberty. She has been a HUGE help in this process and she was critical to the process, really. I'm not sure I could have successfully navigated the system w/o her help. I assume the process will even out as providers become more well versed in the system itself. I'm not sure what could be helpful.

Once a provider realizes this family is not a good fit... It should not take a week to get a new family in that slot. Maybe we can have providers do an immediately denial by adding a reason so we don't have to wait a week to get a new family. I have had the last five families wanting three hours only... The weeks are adding up quickly and I still have a slot open...with no income for that slot. Frustrating. However I love having that time to contact families and setting up a visit. My experience has been 9 out of 10 times... that I am not what the parent was expecting so denying that family on Mondays and have to wait to the following Monday for a new family. I could deny that family on monday and get a possible new family faster. Or maybe parents don't have access to my information if they're only looking for 3 hours a day. What would direct enrollment look like?

Get rid of Bridgecare and LCOs

Direct Enrollment

Just let me enroll kids into the program myself. The “matching” program is crazy. Let the programs actually working with families enroll kids, and the state can reimburse the fees.

We don't need a middle man! The State and LCO are making everything harder for families and programs. Let us take care of our families and have administrative rights to do the enrollments.

If our current families could be matched with us first

Allow providers to actually decline families under certain protocol. Make sure families understand that they MUST follow a centers specific guidelines for enrollment before they are allowed to accept a match and must communicate with providers as they go.

Let school districts manage their own enrollment and help families. Let families know what they match for when they match, not make the families who are experiencing poverty wait until August to know how many hours they qualify for. Do not put the burden of figuring things out on families when providers used to be able to help them. This did not mean more families had access, this meant more advantaged families got a fast track to what they wanted, and those with risk had to wait for CDEC to figure things out. We need timelines, clear rules and communication and consistency. This has been a disaster for relationship building with families.

I think you are starting to move in the right direction. Just giving us back control over our programs.

Create a system more like CCcAP where parents can open enroll

When the child gets enrolled, I'd like to see how many hours the child is approved for and what their rate will be. I've been told that information will show up on our first paycheck.

I want to reiterate, not only has this process been a shamble, but out has taken the industry back several years. This program should have been tested in a small sample before impeding on the reputation of professional sites. I hope this helps.

1. **Streamline the BridgeCare Portal**: - **Enhance User Experience**: Optimize the BridgeCare portal for clarity and ease of use. Reducing complications will help families apply without hiccups. - **Password Recovery**: Simplify and streamline the process for password recovery, ensuring parents can regain access quickly if they forget their credentials. 2. **Proactive Communication**: - **Automated Reminders**: Implement a system of automated reminders for parents, notifying them of incomplete steps or missed notifications. - **Clear Instructions**: Ensure that all communication to parents, whether emails or portal notifications, are lucid, concise, and actionable.

3. **Synchronization with School Rosters**: - **Real-Time Updates**: Create a system where BridgeCare is updated in real-time with school rosters. This can mitigate the mismatch between the number of enrolled students in BridgeCare and actual school attendance. - **Feedback Mechanism**: Allow schools to provide feedback or updates on enrolled students directly through the system, ensuring an accurate count.

4. **Special Needs and IEP Students**: - **Dedicated Section**: Introduce a dedicated section or portal for children with special needs and IEPs. This will ensure their specific requirements are met, and placement is expedited.

Work with licensing to help in home providers accept preschoolers as a part of school age equation stating at age 4 or 5 regardless of school enrollment status

Reserve seats for current enrollment and only allow truly available seats to the public. It also has to be clearer to prospective families that not all school choices are just 15 hours a week and/or free!

Do direct enrollment, not a matching system

Allow centers to enroll privately so we have better control over helping families enroll. In addition allow providers the opportunity to edit their own profile (details, seat offerings, etc). Having to wait on a painfully slow tech team was maddening and hurt our enrollment.

I am registered as a learning co-op and as result have been able to do direct enrollment. It has been easy and allowed me to make strategic decisions about our program And to best serve the students

for the school to apply or the families?

I run a private faith-based program. It would be helpful if we could enroll our own families since we have the same families come back year after year with their subsequent children. OR, at least if we could verify the matches are part of our program, before the families are notified, if the parents indicate that on the application. It would be possible for a new family to check the box stating that they are already affiliated with a program as a way to give them priority, even if they are not actually already part of the program.

Overall for it being the first year and expecting some glitches, I think it went well.

Have parents contact centers directly upon application, they must know that if they do not contact with in a week of application it will be assumed that they do not want a place.

All SPED students 3 or 4 got to District portal. Less steps for families - More local control LCO or sites should be able to help families rather than them having to get back into their parent portal over and over again! This is not equitable and those that have English as a first language, are tech savvy, and have the time to keep up with all this got in first. This was especially unfair for the limited UPK3 slots.

To let parents know there are many preschools with openings and not to keep those parents disillusioned that they are getting a spot in a public preK classroom and missing out for their child.

Direct enrollment would make the process so much easier. We already have all of our information on our website and some people like to choose a school by location to their house or work. The matching process adds so much unknown stress to an already stressful situation. Direct enrollment would allow the parents and school to know right away if the child is accepted.

I listed some above but I would also like to see some direct placement options for continuity kids. Also FCCHs need to have a few more options to dismiss. We are ALONE with these families and kids. We need to be able to negate matches with families who make us uncomfortable since there is no (or maybe only one) additional staff to send these people too. You cannot just randomly place people when we don't have the same support system as a school building.

It was nice and easy

Payment information has been hard to track down

Let LCOs directly help us.

Why match? Let parents find a school, enroll, and then call to see if the child is attending.

Easier to navigate. Knowing what funding each child is getting would be nice. Less steps to get them enrolled. Eliminate the tax information. This had a lot of parents upset.

Create a system that is thought out and prepared prior to rolling it out.

Have UPK specialists that come to the child care home to coach/update providers. We are not on our phones/computers/at a desk all day. We are caring for children and that’s super hands on. Family Child Care Homes need in person visits to update us and coach us.

More details in application questions

Cut down extra steps

easier and less technical to accept and enroll

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