Strategies & Frameworks

We’re all about protecting kiddos and strengthening families. We use a combination of strategies and data-driven frameworks to achieve this mission.

Theory of Change

Imagine a Colorado where every child has what they need to thrive, and where parents and caregivers have the resources and supports they need to care for their children adequately. This vision fuels our belief that a brighter future is not only possible, but attainable. In response, we’ve developed a Theory of Change, a strategic roadmap that articulates our vision for enhancing the well-being of children and families across the state.

At Illuminate Colorado, our Theory of Change is more than a plan; it’s the cohesive blueprint guiding our journey. It illustrates how the various facets of our work seamlessly connect, each playing a crucial role in preventing child maltreatment and building brighter childhoods. This strategic framework is not just a theory; it’s our dynamic commitment to turning possibilities into realities, all in pursuit of our overarching mission and vision.

Key Components of Our Theory of Change

Values & Foundations: Our journey begins with our unwavering Values & Foundations, shaping the principles that underpin our work. These core beliefs guide our decisions, actions, and strategies.

Prevention Continuum: We strategically apply our principles across the Prevention Continuum, addressing child maltreatment at multiple stages. This ensures a holistic approach that spans from primary prevention to intervention.

Spectrum of Prevention: Our organizational strategies are informed by the Spectrum of Prevention, a framework that guides us in operating at different levels to create broad and lasting impact.

Protective Factors & Conditions Where Families Thrive: Focusing on enhancing Protective Factors within Colorado families – while also creating conditions where families thrive – is central to our Theory of Change. By reinforcing strengths, resilience, and support networks, we actively contribute to preventing child maltreatment.

Mission & Vision: Our Theory of Change is designed to fulfill our mission of strengthening families, organizations, and communities to prevent child maltreatment, with the ultimate vision of a Colorado where all children thrive. Each element seamlessly connects, creating a dynamic and purposeful pathway toward creating lasting positive change.

Explore the different strategic frameworks below to better understand how our collective efforts come together to build a safer, healthier future for everyone in Colorado.

Data-Driven Frameworks

One of the crucial pillars in accomplishing our mission lies in our commitment to using data-driven frameworks. By harnessing the power of data, we gain valuable insights into the specific needs and challenges facing families and communities. This information allows us to tailor our approach, ensuring that resources and support are directed where they are most needed. It also enables us to measure the impact of our work and make informed adjustments, ultimately leading to more effective and sustainable outcomes.

By incorporating these frameworks into our work, we acknowledge that child well-being is a multi-faceted issue that demands a multi-dimensional response.

The Prevention Continuum

By utilizing the Prevention Continuum, Illuminate Colorado ensures that our efforts are both targeted and comprehensive. This approach allows us to meet families where they are in their journey, providing the right level of support at the right time.

Primary Prevention: At the primary prevention level, we focus on stopping child maltreatment before it occurs. This involves implementing universal interventions that benefit the entire community and strengthen all families. By reaching a broad audience, we aim to create a safer environment for all children.

Secondary Prevention: At the secondary prevention level, we identify and provide support to families who may be at a higher risk of experiencing child maltreatment. Through early intervention and tailored support, we work to prevent issues from escalating.

Tertiary Prevention: At the tertiary prevention level, we concentrate on minimizing the negative impacts of child maltreatment and preventing its recurrence. This involves offering specialized interventions to families who have already experienced abuse or neglect, with the goal of supporting healing, recovery, and preventing further harm.

The Spectrum of Prevention

Used nationally to address complex public issues, the Spectrum of Prevention outlines a range of prevention strategies across different levels of influence within a community or society.

Illuminate’s programs and initiatives strategically span the Spectrum of Prevention, ensuring a holistic and lasting approach to building brighter childhoods. By adapting and employing the Spectrum of Prevention, we can target prevention efforts at various levels, from building individual knowledge and skills to influencing policies and legislation.

To learn more about Illuminate’s adapted levels of the Spectrum of Pevention, and to see what work is happening on each level, visit our Programs & Initiatives page.

The Five Protective Factors

At Illuminate Colorado, we believe that strong families are the key to preventing child maltreatment. We incorporate five guiding principles, known as Protective Factors, into all the work that we do. Developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, these factors are like shields that help lessen the harm caused by risks. They either reduce the impact of the risk or change how a person reacts to it. By boosting these protective factors, we can increase the likelihood of positive outcomes.

Research has shown that families who demonstrate the Five Protective Factors are better able to navigate difficult situations, resulting in stronger families and brighter childhoods


The ability to recover from difficult life experiences, and often to be strengthened by and even transformed by those experiences.


The ability and opportunity to develop positive relationships that lessen stress and isolation and help to build a supportive network.

Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development

The ability to exercise effective parenting strategies to guide and know what to expect as children develop in multiple domains.

Concrete Supports in Times of Need

Access to supports and services that reduce stress and help to make families stronger.

Social & Emotional Competence of Children

Family and child interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions, and establish and maintain relationships.

Want to Support Our Work?

At Illuminate Colorado, we believe in the power of strong, thriving families. Your support plays a pivotal role in creating a Colorado where children thrive. By supporting Illuminate Colorado, you’re not only preventing child maltreatment, but you’re also strengthening the very fabric of our communities.

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