Did you know that there’s an initiative right here in Colorado that is working to create the conditions that kids– and the adults in their lives– need to thrive? The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families (the Partnership) has been working tirelessly to identify what Colorado communities need in order to be safe and supportive spaces for families. Illuminate Colorado provides backbone support for the Partnership, managing several projects and work groups that strive toward the coalitions’s mission. 

In April, the Partnership met to discuss exciting updates on work in specific priority areas, updates on cross-cutting projects, and to share presentations on how systems can be better aligned to effectively serve families. 

A few highlights from Illuminate Colorado staff and partners involved with the Partnership!

The Partnership has three priority areas, which Illuminate staff and partners shared updates on at the April meeting. 

Community Norms

Change community norms related to social connectedness and promote support offering and seeking behaviors in communities, with the intent to reduce parental stress and decrease child maltreatment.

Early Touchpoints

Strengthen the family well-being system service array to improve outcomes for parents and infants throughout pregnancy and up to age 1.

Systems Alignment

Align state and county human services, public health, and health care systems to place family well-being at the center.

Jillian Fabricius, Deputy Director of Illuminate Colorado, shared updates on Community Norms work, specifically the launch of Colorado Connected.

The campaign will partner with Colorado counties to distribute a validated community survey to understand attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors surrounding support offering and seeking behaviors. The goal of COConnected is to build connections that surround families with supportive networks, so parents do not feel alone when faced with challenges. Doing so creates a safe, stable environment for children to grow up in and produce positive childhood experiences and outcomes.

Angelica Fox, Director of Home Visitation at Illuminate Colorado, shared Early Touchpoints updates on Family Connects Colorado, a program that provides nurse home-visits and connection to community resources for new parents. 

At Boulder Community Health Hospital, the Boulder Family Connects team has reached 100% recruitment for families who are visiting to deliver a newborn. Additionally, the Boulder team is planning to expand into a second hospital in June! 

Next, Angelica shared that the Boulder team will be hosting their first Family & Caregiver Space in April, which provides an essential place for families to make their voices heard about the development and expansion of Family Connects.

“This is wonderful way for the Family & Caregiver Space to provide input for the program”

Angelica Fox

Director of Home Visitation

In Denver and Jefferson counties, a Community Alignment Specialist has been brought onto the Family Connects team, who will provide needed insight into the most effective resources to connect families with, as well as other program needs. Both counties are on track to launch Family Connects Colorado in early summer 2023!

In Eagle County, Family Connects is seeing high levels of recruitment, and the team is preparing to advance from the installation (or learning) stage into the implementation phase.

“We are learning a lot from Eagle as a rural area of how to implement [Family Connects] in similar communities.”

– Angelica Fox

Kendra Dunn, Director, Division of Community and Family Support at the Colorado Department of Early Childhood, shared Systems Alignment updates from the Government Systems Transformation Work Group.

The goal of the work group is to provide a space for government professionals to come together and get into the weeds about the ability that they have to make transformational change across systems. The Partnership is planning to host monthly meetings for the Government Systems Transformation Work Group to come together to collaborate around their collective power as government professionals. 

Courtney Everson, Senior Researcher/Project Director at the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab shared updates from the Financial Well-Being Work Group.

This work group has met since late 2022, and provides a space for various Colorado agencies, community-based organizations, and family leaders to identify opportunities for promoting financial-well-being among Colorado families. The Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab developed a Financial Well-being Data Brief, with input from the Partnership as an initial way to inform policy and practice. Feel free to use and share this brief widely!

Heather Hicks and Kaylie Weese, Family and Caregiver Space Leaders for the Partnership, shared updates on new family leadership spaces to be launched in May-June.

The Partnership Family Engagement Consultation Office Hours, led by family leaders, will be a collaborative space for family leaders and professionals standing up and sustaining local family engagement efforts. The Family Voice Affinity Space will be a space by family voice leaders, for family voice leaders. If you or someone you work with is interested in either space, please share your interest here. To get to know Family & Caregiver Space leaders, and share your questions and ideas on family engagement, please register here for our first information session on May 31st, from 4-5pm MT.

Stay updated on the Partnership’s work!

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