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  • Dawn Alexander

How UPK will Operate

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

Update 1/25/23: 1,598 programs are signed up accounting for 62,951 spaces. To ensure mixed delivery....private providers MUST participate in this program! Don't be the reason why mixed delivery doesn't exist in this state.

  • 16,767 applications submitted by families

  • 2,561 applications in process (are eligible, probably just still selecting providers, expect these apps to be submitted soon)

  • ~2,100 applications for 3yos

CDEC has been working very hard to put this program together and to get consistent messaging out to the community. We put together this concise summary of the FAQ's provided by CDEC. Here are the answers to the most frequent questions that we receive:

1) If a child is in your program and the family wants them to remain in your program, they will be able to stay with your program. They can put only your program down as their selection.

2) Your program will need to use curriculum that is in a CDEC list of recommended

curriculum. There will be opportunities for your curriculum to be added to the approved list. As long as your curriculum meets the standards of the Early Learning Development Guidelines, (ELDG's: you will likely be fine using it.

3) To participate, you must be licensed. There will not be a requirement to have a Quality

Rating through Colorado Shines. Additional quality standards will be developed and

implemented through a spring rule set. Please note: CDEC is not going to be putting up barriers to entry through this rule set at this time. They need you to participate and are not looking to make this harder on you or your program. Here is a provider guide on how


4) You CAN offer programming of 10 hours or more and receive funding under this program. If you provide a 12 hour program for instance, then UPK funding pays for 10 hours and you would have parent private pay for the additional 2 hours. Keep in mind though....parents can choose this option through you OR go to another program and receive 15 hours for FREE. Be very careful about how you set your programming!

*CDEC will pay for 10, 15 or 30 hours.

*For a family to qualify for 30 hours they will have to meet the following household

income limits (270% of the Federal Poverty level):

5) You will be paid based on the community plan that indicates how many slots you will be


*Payments will be provided in August, November, February, and May.

*Any payment received for a slot that becomes vacant or unfilled will have to be r

returned to the LCO/State and may result in a loss of spaces at some point.

6) Funding is stackable. That means that if you are receiving CCCAP or Head Start funding for a child, that amount is intended to be additional funding support for your program. This is intended to help build quality funding into your program.

7) The UPK funds are not intended to be a direct offset of parent fees. If you do that, your program will lose the opportunity to have some excess in funds to support your programs quality. ECEA is working with CDEC on how private providers would be able to determine a family credit. A program's other option is to block your services and fees

similar to how public schools do. UPK 10, 15, or 30 hours is paid for through UPK funds.

Wrap care costs whatever your program charges as it's own block of time.

8) Registration opens for families on January 17, 2023. It would be wise for your program to have a registration event that day with parents (snacks and registration support onsite). You do not have to do that on the kick off date but parents will be hearing and be anxious to secure their slot. ECEA has created some flyers for members to use to support family communication! Members can access those from our Private FB page at: . To join ECEA in membership:

9) You can find your Local Coordinating Organization here:

*Reach out and let them know you want to participate. Sign up will be at this link on

*Logon to, sign your provider agreement and build out your profile to advertise the specifics of your services. Here is a provider

10) As a reminder, here is what each LCO will pay per slot:

A final note: Three year olds must go through the public schools or into a program that a school district contracts with. The state assures us that the number of 3 year olds served are limited by the funding amount established by CPP utilization this year.


If you run into issues with setting up your portal, the state help desk is who can provide support:


In the August payment programs will be paid based on the spaces they said were available through October. In November this will be trued up to ensure children were enrolled. No situations that create budget shortfalls are going to happen. If you are sure at that point that the seat will not get filled then you keep the money but can be removed as a mid-year option with your unfilled spaces. No additional funding would come for those slots. ( time stamp 1:27:00)

Funding will come as follows:

1st check - 30%

2nd Check - 30%

3rd Check - 30%

4th Check - 10%

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