Illuminating Policy in 2023

Illuminating Policy in 2023

The regular session of the Colorado General Assembly kicked off last month, and Illuminate continues our commitment to ensuring our state’s policies build brighter childhoods for all Coloradans. 

Built on research-informed protective factors, the Illuminate Colorado Policy Framework offers an organized approach for advancing family strengthening now and into the future–and, Illuminate has also prioritized policy solutions to be responsive to what Colorado families need today. Click here to learn about Illuminate’s overarching Policy Framework with key highlights about how each priority builds specific protective factors in Colorado. Read the high-level summary of each advocacy priority below.

In 2023 and 2024, Illuminate will be focusing our advocacy efforts on:

  • Increasing economic support for all families to thrive, by: 
    • Promoting the coordination of prevention efforts.
    • Increasing prevention funding to optimize resources dedicated to primary prevention.
    • Delinking poverty from neglect. 
  • Prioritizing and protecting funding for child sexual abuse prevention in Colorado.
  • Optimizing resources dedicated to addressing substance use disorders in families.

  • Establishing and connecting long-term funding pathways to sustain and scale Illuminate programs, including but not limited to Family Connects Colorado and Healthy Families America.

What are the five protective factors?

        • Parental Resilience
        • Social Connections
        • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
        • Concrete Support in Times of Need
        • Social and Emotional Competence of Children

Investing in programs and policies that support families to overcome and bounce back from life’s challenges enables children to achieve their potential.

These kinds of programs help Coloradans to raise children to be good neighbors and productive community members. It is essential for elected officials and policy makers to understand how to prevent child maltreatment and to listen to parents in every community.

Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills that we are tracking this session.

Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2023 Illuminating Policy efforts by subscribing to Illuminate’s blog. 

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Take Action! Congress Can Still Prioritize Family Well-Being This Year

Take Action! Congress Can Still Prioritize Family Well-Being This Year

With the election behind us and the end of this session approaching, Congress has a lot to accomplish before the end of the year. In January, a new Congress will be sworn in so the remaining month of 2022 is the last chance for this version of Congress to pass their priorities. Luckily, the Congressional to-do list includes a number of ways to invest in family well-being as Congress finalizes an end-of-year legislative package. Below, we’ll discuss the to-do list and how you can get involved. 

Reauthorizing the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

One of the wisest investments we can make as a nation is in healthy pregnancies and early childhood development. That is why the MIECHV program is so critical. Evidence-based programs that help families provide proper nutrition, mental and behavioral wellbeing, and a loving home pay massive dividends throughout the life of those who are served. Unfortunately, this important bipartisan program is at risk.

If Congress doesn’t act by December 16th to reauthorize the program, it will expire, which would cause untold hardship for the program’s beneficiaries, and negatively affect recruitment and retention of qualified and effective home visitors. That is why Illuminate Colorado has joined the National Home Visiting Coalition and hundreds of other organizations around the country in our support of the bipartisan Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022 (H.R. 8876). Read more about why Illuminate supports MIECHV reauthorization.

“Expiration of MIECHV would cause untold hardship for the program’s beneficiaries, and negatively affect recruitment and retention of qualified and effective home visitors.”

This week, the U.S. House will vote on a major bipartisan MIECHV reauthorization that would increase the program’s funding for the first time ever.

Now is the time to urge our Members of Congress to act, because home visiting works.

Take Action: The U.S. House is expected to vote on this critical bill this week, and we urge its passage without delay. Healthy pregnancies, infant and child health and development, and school readiness are too important for these critical services to slip through the cracks.  Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask them to vote YES on HR 8876 with this easy-to-use Action Alert to help support the first ever expanded funding for the MIECHV program!

Click Here to Take Action Now!

Contact your U.S. Representative and ask them to vote YES on HR 8876 with this easy-to-use Action Alert.

Reauthorizing the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).

CAPTA provides federal funding to states and provides grants to public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations. Through CAPTA reauthorization, the current 117th Congress has an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen community-based supports to families to prevent child abuse and neglect. The reauthorization bill emphasizes prevention and race equity and increases funding for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention. Reauthorizing this program would be transformational for communities and families and greatly expand our capacity as a nation to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting families.

“Reauthorizing this program would be transformational for communities and families and greatly expand our capacity as a nation to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting families.”

Enhancing Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Policies that strengthen family financial security can go a long way toward reducing childhood adversity and enhancing the relationships that help children thrive. Congress has the chance to enhance the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the remaining days of this session. The EITC and CTC are known to improve the health and well-being of families who receive them, and can even help kids do better in school and lead healthier, longer lives. Improvements to the CTC alone were largely responsible for cutting our national child poverty rate nearly in half in 2021, lifting 3 million children — including 1 million children under 6 — above the poverty line. However, the expiration of the CTC and EITC improvements, combined with high food costs and rising rents, sent many families with children back to experiencing significant material hardship, increasing child hunger and suffering.

“Improvements to the CTC alone were largely responsible for cutting our national child poverty rate nearly in half in 2021, lifting 3 million children — including 1 million children under 6 — above the poverty line.”

Take Action: If your organization takes positions on policy, join Illuminate in signing on to the joint letter led by First Focus Campaign for Children by filling out this form by 5 pm ET on Monday, December 5, 2022.

Click Here to Call on Congressional Leaders to enhance the CTC and EITC!

Fill out this form by 5 pm ET on Monday, December 5, 2022.

 

Want to stay updated on state and federal public policy that impacts children and families?

Click Here to Subscribe to Illuminate's Email List!

Select the “Subscribe to advocacy and legislative blog content” checkbox in the “Interested in other programs, training, or topics?” section.

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Art for Advocacy: Register Today for Strolling Thunder Colorado 2022!

Art for Advocacy: Register Today for Strolling Thunder Colorado 2022!

Make your voice heard with and for Colorado families with young children! Join Illuminate Colorado and our partners on Oct. 1 for the fifth annual Strolling Thunder Colorado. This year’s family-friendly event will be held virtually from 9:30 – 11 a.m.  

Join families and advocates from around the state as we raise our voices using art for policies that families with young children need. Illuminate is proud to be a hosting partner of Strolling Thunder because child care, paid leave, and other family supports strengthen the foundation for families and communities to thrive. 

 

Learn more from our friends at the Colorado Children’s Campaign and register for the event below:

At Strolling Thunder, attendees raise their voices for babies and their families in a fun, family-friendly setting. The event celebrates recent wins at the legislature, brings attention to what families need to thrive, and helps participants connect with their state and local elected officials. This year’s event theme is “Art for Advocacy.” Register today by clicking here. All who register by Sept. 17 will receive an art kit for the art activity and a care package before the event.  

 

Strolling Thunder Colorado brings together people who care about babies and their families at an event featuring guest speakers, story time, a dance party, an art activity, and an advocacy training. Each year, it encourages elected officials to make pregnant people, babies, and their families a priority when policy decisions are made. The event is hosted by Raise Colorado, Clayton Early Learning, Colorado Association for Education of Young Children (COAEYC), Colorado Children’s Campaign, Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance (ECCLA), Illuminate Colorado, and ZERO TO THREE.  

As a part of this event, Raise Colorado is asking community members to share photos of them and their children strolling – whether that be taking a walk in a park or pushing their child in a stroller, as well as a quote sharing why they think it is important to prioritize pregnant people, babies, and their families in Colorado. This is optional, and photos and quotes will be shared at the event and possibly on host organizations’ website. To make a submission, please click here.

Register for Strolling Thunder Today!

Register by clicking here before September 17th to receive an art kit for the art activity and a care package prior to the event!

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Colorado Substance Exposed Newborn Effort Name Change: Introducing SuPPoRT Colorado

Colorado Substance Exposed Newborn Effort Name Change: Introducing SuPPoRT Colorado

Our collaborative effort has a new name! Moving forward, the groups that were previously referred to as the Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN) Steering Committee, Family Advisory Board, and associated Work/Advisory Groups will be collectively known as Supporting Perinatal substance use Prevention, Recovery, and Treatment in Colorado (SuPPoRT Colorado). SuPPoRT Colorado will continue to work toward the same vision of a Colorado that equitably serves all families through prevention and reduction of substance use during pregnancy and provides multigenerational support for families to thrive, under a name that more accurately reflects our mission, values, and the work we do.

Aligning Our Name with Our Mission and Values

Hear from Family Advisory Board and Steering Committee members in their own words why they chose to make this name change:

The name change is important because it has a supportive person center description. I think it is important to keep the recovery from SUD during pregnancy in the title too so that it is also focused on the solution.”

Ashley Miller

Family Advisory Board member

“The new name, SuPPoRT Colorado: Supporting Perinatal substance use Prevention, Recovery, and Treatment in Colorado, is now inclusive of those who are affected by perinatal substance use throughout their entire lives. Effects of fetal alcohol exposure often require lifelong supports.”

Marilyn Fausset

Parent advocate, FASD Work Group Co-chair & Steering Committee member

“I really appreciate that the new name “SuPPoRT Colorado” shifts the focus from the newborn’s exposure to the support provided to both the newborn and the parent(s) related to prevention, treatment and recovery.”

Deborah Monaghan, MD, MSPH

Medical Director at Office of Children, Youth and Families-CDHS, Steering Committee member

“The name change reflects our commitment to learning with and from families, providers, researchers, and advocates. The new name better embraces our commitment to data-informed action that is family-led and community-based.”

Courtney L. Everson, PhD

Senior Researcher/Project Director at Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab, Data & Research Advisory Group Co-chair & Steering Committee member

“As our work has continued to evolve over the last 14 years, it only seems fitting that our language evolves too. Our new name “SuPPoRT Colorado” better reflects our continued commitment to families across the lifespan.”

Jade Woodard, MPA

Executive Director of Illuminate Colorado, founding Steering Committee Co-chair

“Rising to meet the current needs and opportunities in our state has been core to our collaborative work since the very beginning, and I’m looking forward to the impact we’ll have in this next phase as “SuPPoRT Colorado.”

Kathi Wells, MD, FAAP

Executive Director of the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse & Neglect, founding Steering Committee Co-chair

The Steering Committee was originally established in 2008 and is a subcommittee of the Colorado Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force. In 2019, the Family Advisory Board (FAB) to the Steering Committee was formed in order to elevate the voices of families who have experienced, directly or indirectly, the impacts of substance use during pregnancy. A reflection of the shared leadership of the Steering Committee and FAB, changing our initiative’s name to  SuPPoRT Colorado marks an exciting new chapter in our ongoing collaborative efforts to identify and implement strategies for reducing the number of families impacted by substance use during pregnancy and for improving outcomes for families across the lifespan.  

Beginning in April of 2021, the Steering Committee and FAB began a process to revisit our language and explore a name change to better align our name with our shared mission and values. Over the last year, the FAB and Steering Committee engaged in a process to identify ideas and ultimately choose our new name. Along the way, small ad-hoc groups of Steering Committee and Family Advisory Board members led the thinking with multiple opportunities for members across the effort to weigh in. We’re so grateful and excited to officially launch our new name and logo that was crafted with the input of so many dedicated partners.

Visit the SuPPoRT Colorado webpage to learn more about our history, vision, and mission,  click here to learn more about the current work, and sign up to join the effort here!

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Illuminating Policy in 2022

Illuminating Policy in 2022

The regular session of the Colorado General Assembly kicked off on Wednesday, January 12th, and Illuminate Colorado is continuing its commitment to ensuring Colorado’s state policies build brighter childhoods for all Coloradans.

Illuminate has prioritized 2022 policy solutions to be responsive to what Colorado families need today. In addition, and built on research-informed protective factors, the Illuminate Colorado Policy Framework offers an organized approach for advancing family strengthening now and into the future.  

Click here to see the full Policy Framework with key highlights about how each policy builds specific protective factors in Colorado, or read the high-level summary of both below.

In 2022, we will be particularly focusing our advocacy efforts to:

    • Dedicate ongoing funding for community education about child sexual abuse prevention 
    • Improve Colorado Works for families
    • Ensure child care access for parents accessing behavioral health care
    • Support the recommendations of the Home Visiting Investment Task Force
    • Standardize mandatory reporting

Illuminating Policy Prevents Child Maltreatment

The Illuminate Colorado 2022 Policy Agenda highlights policies that build one or more protective factors in Colorado. But more broadly, Illuminate approaches its advocacy efforts based on the following framework:

Primary Prevention

These strategies build protective factors in all families to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs–including advancing equity by addressing systemic barriers to building protective factors.

    • Prioritize primary prevention in federal and state budgets by investing in proven services and professional education that support families and keep kids safe. 
    • Strengthen economic security for families.
    • Implement family-friendly work policies.

Secondary Prevention

This focused strategy builds protective factors in families in high stress situations to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs.

    • Ensure and expand tailored, non-stigmatizing, and culturally responsive support for families impacted by: 
        • Behavioral health, including both parental and pediatric
        • Intellectual and developmental disabilities, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
        • Intimate partner violence

Tertiary Prevention

This strategy builds protective factors in families to prevent recurrence of child  maltreatment–including addressing systemic barriers to healing and recovery.

    • Ensure communities identify and support children and families when abuse and neglect has occurred, focusing on creating equitable access to services to support healing and recovery.

    Investing in programs and policies that support families to overcome and bounce back from life’s challenges enables children to achieve their potential and grow up to be good neighbors and productive community members. It is essential for elected officials and policy makers to understand how to prevent child maltreatment and listen to parents in every community.

    Subscribe

    Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2022 Illuminating Policy Agenda by subscribing to Illuminate Colorado’s blog.

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