Nationally, the opioid epidemic has been declared a public health emergency and communities and families across Colorado are feeling the effects of this crisis, as well as the effects of other substances being used and misused across our state. As attention and resources are devoted to responding to this epidemic, it is critical that the impact on children remains high priority. There is no single solution to reducing the impact on children of caregiver substance use, and when we view this as not only a public health issue but also a multigenerational one, we know our strategies need to be as multifaceted as the issue.

In the fall of 2017, Illuminate Colorado, with the support of the ZOMA Foundation, began a project focused on this very issue of preventing child maltreatment and improving outcomes for children affected by caregiver substance use. Illuminate engaged statewide leaders in the development of recommendations and strategies for policy and practice.

The recommendations are intended to serve as a research-based framework for substantial, actionable change to better meet the needs of children impacted by caregiver substance use. They provide a starting point for multi-sector partners as they develop goals, objectives, and activities to prevent harm and improve outcomes for children.

To read the recommendations overview and the full report, visit Implementation planning for the recommendations is now underway. To learn more or get involved, email

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