This legislative session, Illuminate Colorado worked with legislators, families, and fellow advocates to advance policies that strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment. Although Colorado legislators faced funding constraints and difficult decisions, we at Illuminate and our partners in prevention are celebrating several wins for children, families, and parenting people. This year, Illuminate monitored 21 bills and initiatives, supporting 18 legislative efforts that strengthen families.

2024 Legislation and Illuminate Policy Priorities

This year, Illuminate supported 18 bills that would strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment. Of these bills, 14 passed. Included below are highlights of 2024 legislative wins that strengthen families and promote Illuminate’s policy priorities.

To learn more about our 2024 policy priorities and how they build research-based protective factors that prevent child maltreatment, read Prioritizing Families Under the Dome: 2024 Policy Priorities and Promoting Protective Factors.

Priority #1: Support a comprehensive family strengthening system

HB24-1262

HB24-1262 Maternal Health Midwives supports a comprehensive family strengthening system by requiring a study of maternal health deserts and maternal care closures to better understand gaps in care and opportunities to expand access to care for pregnant people, postpartum people, and infants. In addition, this bill makes updates to the maternal health midwife workforce and prohibits discrimination of pregnant people in public settings.

SB24-175

SB24-175 Improving Perinatal Health Outcomes requires private insurance coverage of doulas, who offer vital care and support for pregnant people and infants, and especially promote happy and healthy outcomes for families of color. In addition, this bill expands opportunities for the Colorado Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative to gather and analyze data to improve health outcomes for pregnant people, postpartum people, and infants.

Priority #2: Increase economic support for all families to thrive by enhancing access to resources that promote financial well-being, economic security, and economic mobility

HB24-1311

HB24-1311 Family Affordability Tax Credit (FATC) creates a new tax credit that provides up to $3,200 to lower-income families with children and teens. Eligible families will be able to claim the FATC in 2026 when filing for tax year 2025. In combination with the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, this initiative is anticipated to cut Colorado child poverty in half!¹

HB24-1312

HB24-1312 State Income Tax Credit for Careworkers creates a new tax credit for low- and middle-income home healthcare workers and child care workers, including family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) providers, promoting participation and longevity in the vital care workforce. Eligible careworkers, including eligible family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) providers, will be able to claim this tax credit in 2026 on their 2025 income taxes.

HB24-1134

HB24-1134 Adjustments to Tax Expenditures to Reduce Burden increases the state Earned Income Tax Credit to 70% of the federal credit in the 2025 tax year and expands the tax credit at lower percentages in future tax years.

Jade Woodard, Executive Director of Illuminate Colorado and Reps. Judy Amabile, Chad Clifford, and Cathy Kipp.

Priority #3: Optimize resources dedicated to addressing substance use disorders in families

Illuminate Colorado Policy Manager Lex Loutzenhiser, fellow advocates, and Reps. Willford and Garcia at the HB24-1223 Committee Hearing.

HB24-1223

HB24-1223 Improved Access to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), in addition to its components that promote financial well-being, promotes access to child care for families impacted by substance use by adding participation in substance use treatment at the intensive outpatient level or higher as a qualifying activity to receive CCAP, assuming other eligibility criteria is met.

HB24-1045

HB24-1045 Treatment of Substance Use Disorders, among many other components, devotes additional funding to the Child Abuse Prevention Trust Fund for the specific purposes of reducing prenatal substance use and convening stakeholders to identify strategies to promote child care access for families impacted by substance use. In addition, this bill ensures the Behavioral Health Administration can apply for federal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder funding.

SB24-047

SB24-047 Prevention of Substance Use Disorders, among many other components, invests in and expands the Perinatal Data Linkage Project to track perinatal substance use and answer research questions to inform public investment, programs, and policies that strengthen families impacted by perinatal substance use.

Policy Priority #4: Establish and connect long-term funding pathways to sustain and scale Illuminate Programs, including, but not limited, to Family Connects; Healthy Families America; Circle of Parents; FASD Navigation, Support, & Training; and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) requested $4,000,000 to establish a 5 year Family Connects universal home visiting pilot program. As the state intermediary of Family Connects, we at Illuminate were grateful that legislators, during an especially tight budget year, prioritized and passed the HB24-1430 Long Bill (state budget) with $2,850,000 to Family Connects in order to support current Family Connects sites, expand to additional counties, and fund a cost savings study to learn more about the cost benefits of universal home visiting in Colorado. To learn more about Family Connects, visit the website!

Thank you to our partners!

Illuminate could not celebrate the successes of this legislative session without celebrating and thanking our partners, who led many of the policy initiatives highlighted, supported us in our work, and provided vital feedback to promote policies that strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment. Learn more about our incredible partners who led this work:

What’s Next?

Although the 2024 state legislative session has come to a close, the work continues! Illuminate’s policy team works year-round to ensure our state agencies, state legislators, and federal congressional delegation are prioritizing policies that strengthen families and are informed by research, evidence, and the perspectives of people with lived experience to prevent child maltreatment. In addition, we will be working with partners to remind our communities to vote this November and offer information about important ballot initiatives. Keep an eye out for future blogs and updates from Illuminate’s policy team to stay in the know and get involved!

Learn about the full expanse of bills Illuminate supported and how they fit into our multi-year policy framework and priorities:

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Families impacted by substance use face unique barriers and challenges to accessing support. By promoting access to prevention programs and supportive services, we can build a foundation for families to thrive. This Colorado legislative session, Illuminate is at the capitol urging legislators to prioritize families impacted by substance use.

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