Council & Committees

How AFK is Built

Alliance for Kids is a home, built to bring agencies and individuals together to work collaboratively on a seamless system of care for young children and their families in El Paso County. (Click here for flyer.)

Joint Initiatives for Youth & Families is the roof over Alliance for Kids and two other initiatives. JI serves as the fiscal agent for AFK and employs and manages the AFK staff and follows all applicable employment law.

The State provides the building permit for Alliance for Kids, directing the Council’s Scope of Work (SOW) and Strategic Plan through legislation, policy and regulation.

Bricks – Council members come together to form the walls of the house. These public and private stakeholders are children’s service providers, community organizations, parents, business leaders, and citizens; all coming together for the purpose of developing and ultimately implementing a comprehensive system of early childhood services for children in the community to ensure school readiness. The Council meets 4-5 times per year as the voting body responsible for developing and approving the Strategic Plan and approving the annual budget. Council members serve on sub-committees.

Mortar – The AFK staff works with the Coordinator and Council members to implement the Council’s Strategic Plan and the state-mandated SOW.

Window – The Executive Committee functions as the advisory committee for the Council and includes two Co-Chairs, each Sub-Committee Chair, the Fiscal Agent President/CEO, three Community Members-at-Large, and the Council Coordinator (non-voting member).

Walls – Subcommittees meet monthly to focus on the areas of Learning & Development, Health & Well-Being, and Family Support & Education. They provide guidance to implementing the Strategic Plan and SOW. Visit the tabs on this page to learn more.

Help us build a great Council!
We invite you to become a brick! Help us build a seamless system of care for young children and their families! To learn more about becoming part of AFK Council, click here.

Learning & Development

LearnThis committee meets the second Thursday of each month from 12 – 1:30 pm at Pikes Peak United Way (518 N. Nevada Ave). For dates, visit our calendar. *Lunch will be provided. For committee details or to RSVP, email Teresa Smarsh or call 719.659.7198. The new format of the L&D Committee allows for time at each meeting to break into smaller groups to discuss topics in detail. The L&D committee is made up of agencies and individuals who work collaboratively on a seamless system of care to provide access, quality, and equity in learning and development for children prenatal to age 8 and their families. It assists in the work of Alliance for Kids which aligns its work with the Strategic Plan and Early Childhood Colorado Framework.

Education & Advocacy

NEW! Connect with local organizations! The Education & Advocacy Committee meets from 11 am – 12 pm immediately prior to the Learning & Development committee.  The Education and Advocacy Committee serves to guide education of families and community on characteristics of quality early education and child care and the long term impact on children, families and the community. The committee also serves to communicate relevant legislation to the community and organize community advocacy around Council approved policies. Join the conversation and attend our monthly meetings. All are welcome to attend and may contact Deanna Stark for more details at or 719.291.8112.

Please read our committee flyer for full details and visit our Advocacy page for more information.

Family Support & Education

family strongThis committee meets the first Thursday of the month from 1 – 2:30 pm. Upcoming meetings will be held on November 2nd (location TBD). For more about this committee, please contact Dana Scarbrough at 719.466.0099.

The Alliance for Kids Family Support & Education Committee assists in the work of Alliance for Kids which aligns its work with the Strategic Plan and Early Childhood Colorado Framework.

The relationship between children and their families is the foundation upon which children’s lives depend. The care and support of the family is crucial to a child’s overall successful development. By providing support and information to families, the Alliance for Kids ensures that each child has that necessary foundation. We collaborate with the providers of early childhood services, and the families they serve, to ensure that the children of El Paso County have what is required to succeed in school and life.

  • Strong families and healthy children create thriving communities.
  • Every parent needs support at home, at work and throughout the community, from families, friends, neighbors, and community resources.

We recognize that true partnership occurs when parents and families have the support they need along with the knowledge and skills to function in leadership roles.

Dana Scarbrough
Parenting Matters Specialist

Health & Well-Being

baby at doctorThis committee meets the third Tuesday of the month from 12-1 pm at Peak Vista (2828 International Circle). The next meeting will be held on November 21, 2017. For more about this committee, please contact Jackie Florendo.

The Health & Well-Being Committee assists in the work of Alliance for Kids which aligns its work with the Strategic Plan and Early Childhood Colorado Framework.

Early childhood is a time of major developmental milestones and growth, and the first five years of life play a crucial role in defining later years. Children’s mental health is a key indicator of their continuing ability to maintain self-control, build positive relationships, and achieve academic success. This development begins in infancy and continues throughout childhood. It’s especially important during this time to encourage positive social-emotional, cognitive, behavioral and mental health. Positive interactions, reading, and play all stimulate healthy development and happy children. The Alliance for Kids works with local mental health service providers to ensure that all children and their families have access to appropriate mental health screenings and services.

The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning 

Ages & Stages: Social-Emotional is a parent-completed, child monitoring system for social-emotional behaviors. It is a series of 8 questionnaires, with 3-6 month intervals, for children 6 months to 5 years. By reviewing the results, professionals can identify young children at risk for social or emotional difficulties, identify behaviors of concern to caregivers, and identify need for further assessment. The complete kit comes in one box and includes a User’s Guide –which contains a Social-Emotional Development Continuum & Activities Guide – and reproducible questionnaires. Foundations for Early Learning  provides family tools and resources to assist parents with raising happy, healthy children.

Available at

The health and safety of children is critical to all other aspects of their development. Children need nutritious food, physical activity, plenty of rest, and protection from harm if they are to thrive. The Alliance for Kids works with local health organizations to ensure that every child receives immunizations, developmental screenings, and has access to a medical “home” for routine healthcare.