Kids First Programs

Kids First began in 1990, and is funded by a dedicated sales tax in the City of Aspen. That tax is .45% and supports affordable housing and childcare. This amounts to less than half a penny for every dollar spent in Aspen. Childcare receives a portion of this tax fund.

The tax has been renewed 3 times by the voters, and is in place until 2038. Kids First is a department of the City of Aspen. We are able to provide services, programming, and support that is unique across the county! Kids First staff can answer questions, refer you to specialists, and put you in contact with resources in our community.

We have a community based advisory board that helps us respond to community needs and makes recommendations to the Aspen City Council.

To find out more about this funding, or the programs that provide for the community, please contact me at: 970-920-5363 or

Childcare Financial Aid

Kids First provides financial assistance for qualified families to help pay for childcare in most licensed Pitkin County childcare programs. (Financial documents required.)

Childcare Program Funding

Kids First gives annual funding for quality improvements, staff development, infant and toddler program operations, accreditation, bus passes, and childcare expansion costs. Kids First provides support for Colorado Shines; the Quality Rating and Improvement System for Colorado with coaching in the classrooms, and funding for quality improvements.

Education Incentives - Building on the Best

Kids First awards childcare staff an annual incentive based on attained education, employment retention, and current early childhood college class enrollment. Childcare staff may also choose to work toward a quality improvement goal, earning an incentive for that achievement.

Resource Teacher

Kids First Staff serve as a substitute teacher to all licensed childcare programs in Pitkin County.

Quality Improvement Coaching

Kids First Staff provide quality improvement assessments and coaching on site to all licensed childcare programs in Pitkin County. Kids First staff coordinates training for early childhood staff members and provides professional development planning. We also contract for professional consulting in early childhood social and emotional development.

Child Health / Nurse Consultation 

Kids First provides a Nurse Consultant to support increased child health in the classrooms by offering training and in person consulting.

Parenting workshops

Kids First offers parenting workshops in-person and with videos. We also are your contact if you are concerned about your child’s development - call 888-777-4041 for a referral to a child find screening.

Image of 2 young girls jumping into a pile of leaves barefoot and laughing during fall