Kids First


The City of Aspen - Kids First, in partnership with Pitkin County Human Services, Eagle County Human Services, Aspen Valley Hospital, and local childcare programs, is working to match available childcare staff with children of “essential” healthcare and emergency response employees in our community.

Childcare programs in Pitkin County are closed to the general public in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to keep children, families, and staff healthy. We know there is a need for those of you that are “essential” healthcare and emergency response employees. We are working with qualified childcare staff to meet that need on an individual basis.

Who is covered? The emergency program is meant to target and serve the children of the employees who are most essential to containing and treating the virus and protecting our most vulnerable populations. We encourage you to work with your employer at the same time – you may have additional resources we aren’t aware of.

The critical workplaces that are exempt include:

•    Health care operations.

•    Critical Infrastructure, including utilities, fuel supply and transmission, public water, telecommunications, transportation, hotels, organizations that provide for disadvantaged people, and food supply chain.

•    Critical Manufacturing, including food, beverages, chemicals, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, agriculture.

•    Critical Retail, including grocery stores, liquor stores, farms, gas stations, restaurants and bars for takeout, marijuana dispensaries but only for medical or curbside delivery, hardware stores.

•    Critical Services, including trash and recycling, mail, shipping, laundromats, child care, building cleaning and maintenance, auto supply and repair, warehouses/distribution, funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, animal shelters and rescues. 

•    News Media.

•    Financial Institutions.

•    Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations.

•    Construction.

•    Defense.

•    Public Safety Services like law enforcement, fire prevention and response, EMTs, security, disinfection, cleaning, building code enforcement, snow removal, auto repair.

•    Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products including logistics, child care, tech support, or contractors with critical government services.

•    “Critical Government Functions.” 

If you qualify in one of these categories, please contact Kids First – 970-920-5363 or Kids First staff will put you in touch with a childcare staff person, available to care for your children, in your home.   

Then please complete this survey from the Colorado Childcare Collaborative to register your need. 

If you are a childcare teacher, please also contact us to be added to the list of available care providers.

During this period of social distancing, we want to let you know that Kids First staff is working from remote locations, but fully accessible. We will respond to you as quickly as we can, and we will find answers to your questions if we do not know!


Phones: 970-920-5363 - we are checking messages throughout the day and will return you call.

Shirley Ritter, Kids First Director: 970-920-5370

child laughingKids First is an early childhood resource center that supports quality, affordable childcare choices in Aspen, Pitkin County, CO. We can help you choose childcare, see if you qualify for help to pay for childcare, and provide information about community resources for young children, their families and the early childhood education programs that care for them.

We can help you navigate the childcare system!

We have a new inter-active map to help you locate childcare kids-first-childcare-map Opens in new windowprograms!  

Kids First does not recommend one program over another, it is up to you as a family to choose the best program for your child! We can help you navigate the system; contact us if you have questions. You can also click at the bottom of this page to search the Colorado Shines data base.

If you don't find the information you are looking for here, please contact us. We also have a list of licensed childcare programs in our resource directory.

Childcare Financial Aid

The next deadline for Kids First Childcare Financial Aid is May 1; you can fill out the application on-line!
You can also try out the calculator before you fill out the application to see if you qualify.

Kids Thrive

Kids Thrive is a page with services and information that helps strengthen families, prevent child abuse and neglect, and promote positive interactions.

Early Childhood Newsletter

Kids First publishes a newsletter for people working in early childhood programs, and community members who are interested in early childhood education - in Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield, and Lake Counties.
If you would like to receive our newsletter, or if you already do, and you have suggestions - you can let us know here!

What makes a child ready for school?

Turns out there are a lot of answers to that question. One thing that is widely agreed is that the secret ingredient is that a child have strong social and emotional skills. It's also clear that this development starts at birth, with loving family and supportive caregivers providing a sense of safety and a buffer against stressful times. We'll be giving you some resources to help you think about this for your child, no matter what age they are right now or when you expect them to begin Kindergarten. Start here, the Zero to Three website that gives more details about the roots of school readiness!

Find Child Care Resources
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