This Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month, we at Illuminate Colorado are reflecting on our advocacy throughout 2023 to increase awareness of FASD among legislators and expand Colorado’s capacity to respond to the needs of individuals and families impacted by FASD.

Moving forward, we are excited to continue advocating at the federal and state levels to ensure legislators are FASD-aware and to elevate the voices and experiences of Colorado families.

Jillian Fabricius (Illuminate Colorado Deputy Director) and a staffer for Senator John Hickenlooper.

Advocating at the State Level

This past 2023 Colorado legislative session, advocates from SuPPoRT Colorado’s FASD Awareness Workgroup and Illuminate staff engaged with state legislators to highlight the need for a stronger system of services and support for individuals and families impacted by FASD.

This summer, Illuminate has continued this important work by engaging with the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee, an interim bi-partisan committee made up of 10 state legislators tasked with responding to challenges associated with substance use disorders in Colorado by identifying gaps in prevention, intervention, harm reduction, and treatment– and identify possible legislative solutions. 

In August, Illuminate Policy Manager, Lex Loutzenhiser, testified to urge the committee to continue the work started in the 2023 legislative session to address challenges associated with FASD experienced by Coloradans. Illuminate will continue to work with state legislators to highlight the need for increased capacity to serve individuals and families impacted by FASD and provide considerations for future legislation.

August 30, 2023 Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee. Left to Right: Rep. Elizabeth Epps, Jade Woodard (Illuminate Colorado Executive Director), Jillian Fabricius (Illuminate Colorado Deputy Director), Lex Loutzenhiser (Illuminate Colorado Policy Manager), and Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy.

To learn more about Illuminate’s engagement with Interim Study Committees, read Advocating for Family Strengthening Throughout the Year.

Advocating at the Federal Level

This June, the FASD Respect Act (H.R. 3946/S.1800) was introduced to the House by Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) and in the Senate by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). To ensure widespread national support for this important legislation, FASD advocates from across the United States have been reaching out to their Congressional offices to share their support of this comprehensive bill. Alongside advocates who are parents of children and adults with an FASD, Illuminate staff have met with staffers from the offices of five of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation. We are grateful to Rep. Joe Neguse, representing Colorado House District 2, for prioritizing the needs of constituents and co-sponsoring the FASD Respect Act.

Today, September 21, Illuminate staff, as the Colorado affiliate of FASD United, and advocates from the FASD Awareness Workgroup will be participating in Hill Day during FASD Impact Week (hosted by FASD United). Throughout the day, Illuminate staff and FASD advocates will be in Washington D.C., meeting with Congressional offices to share the experiences of Coloradans impacted by FASD and asking Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor the FASD Respect Act.

2022 FASD Hill Day. Left to Right: Kelli Sutton (Illuminate Colorado Strategic Initiatives Manager), Jillian Fabricius (Illuminate Colorado Deputy Director), and a staffer for Rep. Joe Neguse.

To learn more about the FASD Respect Act, read Introducing the FASD Respect Act or visit the FASD United Policy and Training Center.

Join Us to Advocate for the FASD Respect Act!

Use your voice to join Illuminate and advocates across the country in urging Congress to pass the FASD Respect Act.

Coloradans can learn more about how to advocate for this impactful legislation here. If you live outside of Colorado, utilize FASD United’s FASD Respect Act advocacy tool to learn about how to be an advocate in your state.

Check out what else Illuminate Colorado has planned for FASD Awareness Month here! 

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