This year, Colorado legislators are pursuing policy changes that will enhance financial well-being and help build a foundation for Colorado families to thrive.

By focusing on economic security for working families, Colorado has the opportunity to promote the five research-informed protective factors that increase family strengths and prevent child maltreatment.

How are lawmakers addressing economic security this legislative session?

Legislators have introduced three bills that would enhance economic security, promote awareness of supportive tax credits, and ensure families have the concrete support they need during times of need.

      • HB23-1112 Earned Income And Child Tax Credits – In Colorado, working families who are low and middle income can participate in earned income tax credits (EITC) and child tax credits (CTC). If passed, this bill would increase the amount families can receive through state tax credits and broaden the CTC’s definition of an eligible child to include children 17 and under, matching the age of eligibility for the federal credit. 
      • HB23-1006 Employer Notice Of Income Tax Credits – Although many families are eligible for the EITC, only 76.1% of eligible families in Colorado participate and receive these tax credits. (1) If passed, this bill would require employers to notify employees annually of availability of the state and federal EITC and CTC.

      • HB23-1078 Unemployment Compensation Dependent Allowance – When unemployed, Coloradans have the opportunity to claim unemployment insurance benefits to meet basic needs while seeking new employment opportunities. This bill would enable eligible Coloradans to collect an additional $35/week per child or adult dependent.

How does promoting economic security strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment?

Economic supports promote protective factors that reduce instances of child maltreatment.

Investing in concrete support in times of need for families is one of five crucial research-informed protective factors for preventing child maltreatment. (2) Chronic stress spurring from financial hardship can result in toxic stress, increasing the risk of child maltreatment. Building concrete economic supports to enhance financial well-being can reduce stress and increase positive interactions. Research has shown states that increased the EITC, CTC, and unemployment benefits saw a reduction in substantiated reports of neglect and hospital admissions for injuries resulting from abuse. (3) 

Increasing the EITC and CTC promotes financial well-being, providing families with a tool to maintain a healthy environment.

When parents have access to economic support, they can build and maintain environments that promote healthy parent and child development. Families use the EITC and CTC to pay for everyday necessities, such as rent, mortgage, groceries, and to pay off debt. (4) In addition, families with school-aged children commonly use these credits to pay for school supplies, while families with children under 5 commonly use credits to pay for child care. Increasing the EITC, CTC, and unemployment benefits promotes healthy parent and child development by providing families with tools to build and maintain a healthy environment.

How is Illuminate Colorado involved?

Illuminate is excited to take action alongside our partners in the Helping Colorado Families Get Ahead Coalition to advocate for the passing of these three impactful bills. As these bills move through the House and Senate, we will lend our voice to share how these bills strengthen families, organizations, and communities to prevent child maltreatment.

How can I get involved?

Contact Your State Legislators

Have you and your family benefited from the EITC or CTC? Have you received unemployment benefits? Contact your legislator to share your story and urge them to vote ‘yes’ on HB23-1112, HB23-1006, and HB23-1078! Click Here!

Stay Up To Date

Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills that we are tracking this session. Click Here!

Join Us!

Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2023 Illuminating Policy efforts by subscribing to Illuminate’s blog. Click Here!

Citations

(1) Internal Revenue Service. (2022). EITC Participation Rate by States Tax Years 2012 through 2019. Retrieved From: https://www.eitc.irs.gov/eitc-central/participation-rate-by-state/eitc-participation-rate-by-states

(2) Center for the Study of Social Policy. (n.d.) About Strengthening Families and the protective factors framework. Retrieved From: https://cssp.org/our-work/projects/protective-factors-framework/

(3) Chapin Hill. (2022). Child and Family Well-being System: Economic & Concrete Supports as a Core Component. Retrieved From: https://www.chapinhall.org/wp-content/uploads/Economic-Supports-deck.pdf

(4) United States Census Bureau. (2021). Parents With Young Children Used Child Tax Credit Payments for Child Care. Retrieved From: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/10/nearly-a-third-of-parents-spent-child-tax-credit-on-school-expenses.html

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