Foundations - Joint Initiatives

The Foundations Program

Did you know . . . leading researchers, economists, and academicians agree there is one specific economic development strategy that will, by itself, do more than any other strategy to optimize future economic growth in the United States. The strategy?

High-quality early care and education.

Program Overview

Foundations is the early childhood program of JI and includes Alliance for Kids, El Paso County’s Early Childhood Council. The AFK Council serves as the oversight group for Foundations. Collaborative efforts of community leaders from early care and education, health, mental health, and family support programs come together to ensure that our community of families, young children, and our early childhood workforce have the resources and supports needed to thrive!




Foundations will serve as a vehicle that brings together agencies and individuals to work collaboratively on a seamless system of care for young children and their families in El Paso County.

Foundations works with local service providers and organizations to support young children and families in El Paso County to ensure that:

All FAMILIES and children have access to the resources and supports to thrive.


All CHILDREN have the resources, supports, and interactions early in life to thrive in school and life.

El Paso County is a COMMUNITY where children are valued and supported to thrive.

All members of the El Paso County early care and education WORKFORCE have access to the resources and supports needed to enhance their professional knowledge and skills, health, and wellness to thrive.

Frequently asked questions

Alliance for Kids is the Early Childhood Council of El Paso County, housed under the Foundations program of Joint Initiatives. This oversight group, consisting of 20 community members, guides the strategic planning and oversees the implementation of those plans for our community.

The Foundations program supports families looking for quality child care. We are not a child care provider, but we can connect you with the resources you need to get started. Please call us at 719.205.2691 or visit the Finding Quality Child Care page. If you need financial assistance, you will find this information included.

The Foundations program maintains a calendar of parenting classes and events on this website. Visit the Community Family Calendar for current listings.

If you are required to be licensed, are interested in Pre-Licensing classes, or need other support, please visit our Opening a Child Care page for complete details.

Yes, the Foundations program offers scholarships depending upon the needs of each student and the availability of funding. Visit the Early Childhood Workforce page for more information.

Yes, you can connect with an Early Childhood Career Navigator for free. Visit BuildMy to get started. They will help chart the path forward and understand all of your options, including:

  • What skills or previous education of yours could easily transfer to a career in early childhood education
  • Where to take introductory classes and how to take advantage of earn-and-learn opportunities
  • How to find career openings in your area and which positions you are already qualified for
  • Help with answering questions about PDIS, a CDA, or becoming Early Childhood Teacher qualified

The Foundations Team at Joint Initiatives for Youth + Families is your local early childhood liaison, dedicated to supporting ALL early childhood programs and professionals in building strong early childhood foundations for children and families. We provide support based on needs and individual starting points – almost always at no cost. These include supports related to QRIS and PDIS, as well as accessing grant funds – both stimulus funding from the State and Colorado Shines Quality Improvement grants. You can visit the pages under the Foundations menu and check out our flyer HERE to learn more.


Yes, the Foundations program posts early childhood career opportunities. Early childhood programs may visit the Careers page to submit your information. Through the collaborative efforts of our El Paso County Early Childhood Workforce Taskforce, we also offer a comprehensive Wages + Stages Toolkit for ECE Programs.

Each family has unique needs and our Family Support Line offers assistance in navigating the many resources available to families with young children.

Call us at 719.205.2691 to:

  • Get connected to parenting events, workshops, and classes
  • Find child care
  • Receive support to navigate resources in El Paso County
  • Learn more about early intervention services or Child Find
  • Receive a copy of our Community Resource Directory
  • Learn about kindergarten transition and get connected to school readiness resources

Share our Family Support Line Flyer with others!

The Foundations program can help early care and education programs and family child care providers with both aspects of Colorado Shines.  Whether it’s the Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) or the Professional Development Information System (PDIS), we are here to assist you!  Visit the Quality Programs page for more details and contact information.

Joint Initiatives has been selected as the Local Coordinating Organization (LCO) for UPK and is excited to provide a hub of information HERE. UPK launched in August 2023 after Colorado House Bill 22-1295 (Department of Early Childhood and Universal Preschool Program) was passed with bipartisan support on April 25, 2022.  This bill established operations and governance structures for the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC), moved programs to this new department, and established the Colorado Universal Preschool Program. Additionally, the bill established a new state-local partnership model: Local Coordinating Organizations (LCOs).  In El Paso County, the Legacy Institute funded and convened stakeholders to determine the local organization best suited to apply for this role.

The new home for Alliance for Kids and FamilySPEAK websites.

Alliance for Kids and FamilySPEAK website information is now on this site. See below and under the FOUNDATIONS Menu!