Everyone wants the best for their child, but many parents, caregivers and families are struggling to manage life’s challenges and the demands of raising children right now. Before anyone can begin to address complex issues impacting their family, like a substance use disorder or a mental health concern, too often parents must first face the stress of finding child care. That is why it is critical that treatment providers talk to their clients about what resources are available to parents to ease that burden on the path to recovery.
Outreaching to substance use treatment providers, in particular, is an important strategy for Colorado to prevent child maltreatment. Most referrals to the child welfare system related to substance use are for children under the age of one month. While pregnancy and motherhood can be an increased time of motivation for substance use disorder treatment, access to child care is a significant barrier to treatment. Prior to the pandemic, 35 percent of Colorado women who sought treatment had a child, but only 3.3 percent of outpatient substance use disorder treatment facilities in Colorado provide child care. Now, with the increased use of telehealth, it is even more important to aid clients in finding child care to ease parental stress at home.
Step One - If a client has a child, ask if they know about Colorado Shines.
Colorado is lucky to have Colorado Shines, one of the best tools in a families’ toolbox for building strong families. This resource offers families one-on-one support, in both English and Spanish, to find licensed, quality child care. Call 1-877-338-CARE (2273) to talk with a Colorado Shines navigator Monday – Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit coloradoshines.com.
Step Two - Talk about Safe Storage and Choosing a Safe Caregiver with No Judgement and Encourage Parents to Visit SmartChoicesSafeKids.org
This judgement free zone offers information to guide us all through the choices we have to make at every age and stage of life to keep kids safe. Choosing someone to take care of your child in a world of limited options is a real part of parenting. Whether you are looking for a regular child care provider or someone to help out here and there, clients can get basic guidelines and good questions to ask to help ensure their child will be safe and well cared for in their absence.
If a parent should take an unfortunate detour on the path to recovery, having a conversation about leaving a child in the safe care of someone else is critical to preventing child maltreatment.
Step Three - Help Your Clients Connect to Healthy Communities
Staying on the path to recovery is easiest with a supportive community around you. Parents need each other and connecting with other parents in recovery is critical to maintaining sobriety. Circle of Parents® groups are friendly, supportive communities led by parents and other caregivers, where parents are the experts. Parents in treatment can find a list of Circle of Parents in Recovery groups at CircleOfParentsCO.org, including a statewide virtual recovery group meeting every week on Wednesday at 9:30 am and Friday at 7:00 pm.
Illuminate Colorado embraces our collective responsibility to outreach to parents, caregivers, community-based organizations and businesses to promote safe care-giving and high-quality child care through Illuminating Child Care. We know parents trying to navigate challenging situations need a community’s help to shine a light on tools in their tool box to strengthen their families.
We hope substance use treatment providers and behavioral health management organizations will join us in this shared responsibility to keep children safe by downloading this flyer to help share these resources with clients to build brighter childhoods.