Yesterday evening, Colorado’s Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed SB20-28, the Substance Use Disorder Recovery bill, with a vote of 3-2. This bill does so much to expand substance use disorder recovery services throughout the state. What many may not know is that it will also increase our state’s ability to prevent child maltreatment by including revisions to the child abuse and neglect definitions related to prenatal substance exposure in the Colorado Children’s Code.

“As Colorado considers revising our Children’s Code definitions in Sections 5-7 of the bill, the well-being of children and families must remain a high priority…and we don’t want fear and stigma to prevent parents from accessing the services they need to maintain recovery and strengthen their families.” – Jade Woodard, Executive Director of Illuminate Colorado.

This revised language has been a result of a five year process during which a diverse group of stakeholders labored hard to replace the current definition with consensus language. The revision to the child abuse and neglect definitions work towards shared prosperity for Colorado families by: 

  • Aligning definitions with the state and federal policy landscape
  • Addressing the ways fear and stigma prevent pregnant people from accessing services
  • Ensuring families are assessed holistically
  • Supporting attachment and bonding within the maternal/infant dyad
  • Incorporating shifts in clinical practices for neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • Acknowledging the limitations of toxicology testing related to prenatal substance exposure
  • Accounting for the implications of prenatal substance exposure.

The next step for SB20-28 is a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Stay tuned to our Illuminate Blog for more policy updates as this bill and others continue to move!

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