Request for Proposals Awareness Campaign – Social Norming Campaign – Social Connections

Request for Proposals Awareness Campaign – Social Norming Campaign – Social Connections

Illuminate is seeking proposals to develop a multi-year awareness campaign to influence social norms related to social connections among parents and caregivers in Colorado with an initial budget not to exceed $110,000. The deadline to submit proposals is at 5 p.m. on July 27, 2022.

Social norms marketing campaigns are a form of health promotion and universal prevention. Respondents are required to address expertise in the development of social norming campaigns, creative content development and digital marketing. It is preferred that respondents also demonstrate knowledge of primary prevention strategies associated with child maltreatment, Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, inclusive messaging strategies for diverse cultures and regions of Colorado and trauma-informed messaging.

Download the complete Request for Proposals (RFP) Awareness Campaign – Social Norming Campaign - Social Connections

RFP Questions from Potential Respondents & Responses from Illuminate

Questions from Potential Respondent A.

Just want to clarify that the RFP is just for the development of the campaign (messaging, creative, assets, and media plan) to be developed in August and September 2022, and that there will be a separate execution phase launching in October 2022 (and the budget for the paid execution phase is at least $50k)?

Yes, depending on how quickly the work is executed there may be a possibility to utilize the $100,000 funds toward execution, but that is not required.   

All campaign development and collateral should be under the $110k budget. This budget does not include paid execution, correct? 

Our hope is to, at a minimum, develop a creative concept(s) that is well-tested within the $110k budget, administer baseline survey data and develop a strategy and media plan with a $50,000 budget.  Assets needed to execute that strategy should be developed within the $50,000 budget or depending on an agreed-upon scope of work. See the answer to question 4. 

Is there a maximum budget for the paid execution phase (October 2022 to September 2023)?

No. Our hope is to attract additional execution funds in the future based on a well-thought-out strategy and compelling culturally appropriate creative concept(s). Additionally, the assets developed under this contract will be made available to local and statewide partners through Illuminate to utilize in Colorado and local communities by blending and braiding available funds based on future social norms strategies.  

Is there any wiggle room in the campaign development phase between August and the end of September? Is there a timing consideration that we should understand for the October 2022 campaign launch?

Illuminate Colorado is a subrecipient on a federal grant to implement this project which is dictating the timeframe. Illuminate Colorado must receive invoicing associated with the $110,000 budget and the contracted work through September 30, 2022 by October 4, 2022. These funds may or may not be eligible to carry over, however, we can purchase work aligned with an agreed-upon scope of work and set of deliverables by September 30, 2022. Hours to complete work may not be pre-billed.  

Our expectation is that the campaign would launch in during the time period October 2022- September 2023, depending on the proposed strategy and continue for four years, depending on additional funding secured.

Questions from Potential Respondent B.

When do you expect to launch the campaign?

Illuminate Colorado is a subrecipient on a federal grant to implement this project which is dictating the timeframe. Illuminate Colorado must receive invoicing associated with the $110,000 budget and the contracted work through September 30, 2022 by October 4, 2022. These funds may or may not be eligible to carry over, however, we can purchase work aligned with an agreed-upon scope of work and set of deliverables by September 30, 2022. Hours to complete work may not be pre-billed.  

Our expectation is that the campaign would launch in during the time period October 2022- September 2023, depending on the proposed strategy and continue for four years, depending on additional funding secured. 

What activities do you expect to complete in the first year?

Our hope is to, at a minimum, develop a creative concept(s) that is well-tested within the $110k budget, administer baseline survey data and develop a strategy and media plan with a $50,000 budget.  Assets needed to execute that strategy should be developed within the $50,000 budgeting aligned to an agreed-upon scope of work.

Can you please provide additional details on the evaluation requirement?

There are no requirements other than what is outlined in the RFP. The Illuminate evaluation team and the Colorado Lab, the contracted evaluation partner for the Partnership, will partner with the Vendor to develop an evaluation process to measure the effectiveness of the social norms strategies.The vendor(s) will be responsible for using the survey created in exhibit A to administer a statewide survey of a statistically representative sample of Coloradans in the key audiences by September 30, 2022 and prior to the implementation of any strategies to serve as a baseline measurement of effectiveness.

Are you planning to measure the effectiveness of proposed or in market social norms strategies?

Yes. 

What services are you expecting to need as part of the $50,000 to support continued work completed from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023?

Assets needed to execute that strategy developed before September 30, 2022 should be developed within the $50,000 budget and any other agreed-upon scope of work.

As part of Message Development are you anticipating receiving visual concepts, branding, or animatics?

Yes, to some degree, to enable visual testing in front of outlined audiences. 

Do you have an existing panel for fielding research or are you expecting the vendor to provide this?

We have an existing panel of families with lived experiences. Outside of that, we are expecting the vendor to provide this. 

How are you expecting vendors to leverage the research shared in the appendices?

Create an innovative and thorough plan to implement the recommendations outlined in exhibits A and B for the campaign over the course of four years, use the survey to gather baseline survey data and use all known research findings and recommendations to inform messaging and creative development. We also acknowledge that the vendor will likely need to conduct additional research and focus groups to fully inform the messaging and creative content.

Questions from Potential Respondent C.

Can vendors apply through larger organizations, or do they need to apply as individual entities? 

One or more parties with shared capabilities and capacity partnering to provide the requested services are eligible for consideration for this project. Qualified parties are encouraged to collaborate through one proposal demonstrating prior experience and expertise and the capacity to manage the statewide campaign over the courage of four years, as outlined in the RFP. 

May you please explain the rationale behind the timeline of the allocation of funds?

Illuminate Colorado is a subrecipient on a federal grant to implement this project which is dictating the timeframe. Illuminate Colorado must receive invoicing associated with the $110,000 budget and the contracted work through September 30, 2022 by October 4, 2022. These funds may or may not be eligible to carry over, however, we can purchase work aligned with an agreed-upon scope of work and set of deliverables by September 30, 2022. Hours to complete work may not be pre-billed.  

Our expectation is that the campaign would launch in during the time period October 2022- September 2023, depending on the proposed strategy and continue for four years, depending on additional funding secured.

Questions from Potential Respondent D.

Is Illuminate or the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families currently working with an agency?

Yes, but we are aware that our current partner is not planning to submit a proposal in response to this RFP. 

Has Illuminate or the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families previously worked with any agencies to support the work of the Partnership? If so, who?

Yes, Amelie Company

Is there an incumbent agency for this work?

No.

Big Changes This Summer Every Parent Needs to Know About to Create Safe Sleep

Big Changes This Summer Every Parent Needs to Know About to Create Safe Sleep

If you have a new baby in your life, or one on the way, you’ll want to be aware of the new consumer safety regulations, research and safe sleep guidelines this summer.

Here is a quick overview of all of the big news that you’ll want to know about to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant death. Be sure to share with anyone who is helping out with child care or thinking of buying gifts for your new baby. 

New Safe Sleep Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics

In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its first update to safe infant sleep recommendations since 2016. The recommendations, which apply to children up to 1 year old, are based on an evidence review from nearly 160 scientific studies since 2015.

The AAP highlights that studies have demonstrated an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sudden unexplained infant death syndrome (SUIDS) when babies overheat while sleeping. This, in part, has lead the AAP to recommend that weighted blankets, weighted sleepers and weighted swaddles should not be placed “on or near” a sleeping infant and infants should not wear hats indoors except in the first hours of life or in the neo-natal intensive care unit as it can lead to your baby overheating.  

In its recommendations, the AAP also urges parents to make sure your baby sleeps on a flat – not inclined – surface during sleep and strongly discourages bedsharing. These practices are often used as means to alleviate the sleepless nights which are a stressful part of everyone’s journey through parenthood during this first year of life. 

“Parents might think that their infant is waking up too much during the night and fear that something is wrong,” said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP in a news release from AAP.  “But babies by their nature wake up frequently during the night. Although this can be understandably frustrating for parents who are exhausted and losing out on their own sleep, babies have to wake to feed every 2-3 hours, so this is normal and healthy, and should be expected. When parents have questions about their infant’s sleep, they should always ask their pediatrician for guidance.”

Recommended reading

Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP is the lead author of the statement and technical report, generated by the AAP Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and the AAP Committee on Fetus and Newborn.

In the article How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained on HealthyChildren.org, Dr. Moon walks through the recommendations and some ways parents and caregivers can help create a safe sleep environment.

The policy statement, “Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment,” published in the July 2022 Pediatrics and the accompanying technical report providing the evidence base for the updated recommendations will be a focus of the upcoming Colorado Infant Safe Sleep Partnership meeting on July 11. Dr. Susan Hwang, a neonatologist with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, will present on the policy statement and technical report.

New Law and Consumer Safety Rules in the U.S. are Creating a Marketplace that Promotes Safe Sleep

In May of this year, President Joe Biden signed into law the Safe Sleep for Babies Act, which bans inclined sleepers and crib bumper pads, both of which are unsafe for infant sleep and together have been linked with close to 200 reported deaths.  It will be illegal to make or sell both crib bumpers and inclined sleepers after November of this year, making it easier and less confusing for parents and baby shower gift buyers to follow the AAP guideline discouraging babies from sleeping on an inclined surface. 

Enacting this law was an important and critical next step toward creating a marketplace everywhere, for every baby, in the U.S. that will help parents and anyone shopping for families with a new infant prevent sleep-related infant deaths. Last year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a new federal rule to ensure products marketed or intended for infant sleep provide a safe sleep environment for babies under 5 months old. Any product intended or marketed for infant sleep, such as inclined sleepers, travel and compact bassinets, and in-bed sleepers, which have been linked to dozens of infant deaths, must meet this new federal safety standard. 

Kate Jankovsky, childhood adversity prevention manager with the Violence and Injury Prevention-Mental Health Promotion Branch of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and member of the Colorado Infant Safe Sleep Partnership reflected on this new federal safety standard at the time it was announced last year.  “This change will be historic and save lives in Colorado,” said Jankovsky.  “[The new CPSC federal safety standard for infant sleep products] will make it easier for all consumers to buy, use and give infant sleep products as gifts. Today, many people are unknowingly buying products known to be unsafe for an infant to sleep.” Sadly, only a few days before the CPSC rule went into effect on June 23, 2022,  Fisher-Price issued a safety warning about rockers after 13 infant deaths. 

 

Recommended Reading

WhatToExpect.com shared more about what parents need to know about the Safe Sleep for Babies Act when the law was signed, including reasons why things like baby rockers and bouncers will be recalled — or are safe — based on the new law.

Your Community Impacts Your Ability to Create a Safe Sleep Environment At Home - Particularly for BIPOC People

While advocates and professionals in Colorado emphasize the promotion of safe sleep practices at home and in child care settings, environmental changes are necessary to create safe sleep for every baby, everywhere.  Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, the third leading cause of death for Coloradans under age 18 and accounts for significant infant mortality rate disparities in Colorado. These tragic realities for people of color were also identified by the AAP.

According to the AAP news release, while overall numbers of deaths have declined, persistent racial and ethnic disparities exist that reflect broader societal inequities, according to research. The rate of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) among Black and American Indian/Alaska Native infants was more than double and almost triple, respectively, that of white infants (85 per 100,000 live births) in 2010-2013.

Social, economic, and environmental inequities, such as food insecurity and poverty in Colorado, provide an explanation as to why Colorado communities are experiencing significant infant mortality rate disparities. It is for this reason that the Infant Safe Sleep Partnership (ISSP) is focused on working collaboratively with families, providers and other community stakeholders to address three priority areas.

Recommended Reading

The mission of the Colorado Infant Safe Sleep Partnership is to support families, providers, organizations and policymakers to increase infant safe sleep practices and address related barriers and disparities, through education, practice change and systems improvement.  

What's NOT Big News - "World first breakthrough could prevent SIDS"

That’s what the press release from the Sidney Children’s Hospitals Network was titled in May of this year when new research was released related to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The world took notice because all families deserve to have the support they need to create environments at home and in the community for their infants to sleep safely. The ABC’s of safe sleep are simple and easy: babies should be Alone on their Backs and in a Crib. Understandably, it’s a parent’s worst nightmare to follow all the safety guidelines and advice from their pediatrician, only to have their infant tragically die while sleeping as a result of unexplained causes or SIDS.

Perhaps that is why, when a new study was released in May of this year highlighting the identification of the first biochemical marker, Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), that could help detect babies more at risk of SIDS while they are alive, the news spread quickly through social media and traditional media news outlets. What made this news even more compelling was the fact that the lead author of the study, Dr. Carmel Harrington, was a mourning mother who lost her son Damien to SIDS 29 years ago. Still, numerous news reports have cautioned that while the preliminary findings offer hope, no – the cause of SIDS has not been identified.

Recommended Reading

The Atlantic explains how this inspiring research project went viral for the wrong reasons, causing a media train wreck many parents, Illuminate staff included, could look away from. 

Related Posts

Do you know if your playdate’s house is a safe place to play?

Do you know if your playdate’s house is a safe place to play?

Sending your kids over to play at a friend’s house to play is one of the best ways to make it through the summertime while school is out, child care is limited and the need to find activities to entertain our kids is endless. But, it can also be a scary decision for any parent to make to entrust the safety of your child with another adult. Do you know if it is a safe place to play at your playdate’s house?

The Mother of All Advice Columns

The Mother of All Advice Columns

You often don’t know the value of what you’ve lived through until it’s in the past. If you’ve had kids at home throughout this pandemic, you have so many life lessons to share with other parents. But putting the pandemic aside for a moment, traveling the long road through parenthood has always given us valuable lived experiences to share with those following in our footsteps. 

We asked parents, without any other pre-text other than I was planning to reflect on where I was three years ago on my parenthood journey, “if you met yourself three years ago – what parenting advice would you share?”

What Parents Told Us They Would Tell Themselves About The Road Ahead

All you can do is the best you can with the tools you have. If they have a smile on their face and a full belly that’s a win itself.

Makita Cotto

Looking back in time, it’s easy to remember who I was as a parent. Reflection is a great tool, not for regret… but to learn the lessons that can be applied now and forward. Three years ago, I was a different parent. I just came out of homelessness and was struggling with depression, bi-polar disorder, alcoholism and finances. I did the best I could to shield my son from all my shortcomings, but as we all know, kids are sponges to what we project. He knew there was stuff going on. Somehow, through all the layers of junk I was dealing with, he remained my number one priority; I kept up with visitations, made sure his education continued, and gave him my full attention.

If I could travel back and talk to this earlier version of myself, I would have shared my current strengths, wisdom, and instilled the power of abundance the universe delivers. I would have said this; 

‘The who you are now will not be the who you are going to be in the future. You WILL manage your bi-polar disorder and depression. You WILL quit alcohol and embrace the strength of strangers who love you. You WILL inspire others with your successes and become an amazing role model to your child as your dreams become reality.’

anonymous

The parenting advice that I would give myself would be, that it’s important to do self care. If we want to be happy parents, we have to be happy with ourselves. The things you don’t get done today, will still be there tomorrow, so just relax! To celebrate the small things and also to not sweat the small stuff. We only have this one life and our kids will only be this little for a short time.

Toni Miner

Work on healing your inner wounds and traumas. Our kids are our greatest teachers and mirror what we need to heal within ourselves.

Alison Knight

My best advice that I give (and need to be reminded of) is: don’t take credit when your kids excel and don’t blame yourself when they don’t. We are not responsible for the choices our children make. We are here to guide them, but each child is an individual and will make a path that suits them.

Jill McIntire Green

There will be wonderful joyous days and hard exhausting days… and minutes. Embrace the joyous ones, breathe through the hard ones, practice gratitude, and hold on to your optimism.

Jade Woodard

You will be a better mother, if you don’t lose yourself in motherhood.

Tara Petersen

Work life balance is a myth it ebbs and flows.

Lisa Kjeseth

Each piece of advice is valuable and likely resonates with every parent reading this article. And so, let this serve as a reminder to you to share your pearls of wisdom with others to, at least, let other parents know they are not alone in their self-doubt, stresses or challenges.

Parenting Advice to Past Me 

As I outreached to other parents I promised to share my own advice to the mom I was three years ago when my daughter was little over a year old and my son was three; and I was working through depression. My mom died from Cancer two months after my daughter was born and the swirl of postpartum emotions and hormones, coupled with grief and loss, still had a pretty strong hold over me. When I set out to write this inspirational column I wasn’t sure what words of wisdom I had to share with myself during that time, but after reading everyone’s varying perspectives it is this: 

Talk to other moms. Make friends. Remember to ask for advice because their perspectives are amazing and insightful. And, above all else, ACCEPT help. You will need it to get through the days and years ahead, but I promise you, you will still be standing. And, as a friend recently told me, ‘if they have a smile on their face and a full belly that’s a win.’

Katie Facchinello

Not Everyone is Having a Happy Mother’s Day

Having struggled through infertility for many years and now having lost my mom, it seems like I’ve experienced more bad Mother’s Days than good. So, a word of advice: if you are having a Happy Mother’s Day with your mom or taking the time to celebrate with your kids, remember to see and comfort those who are planning to pull the covers over their heads and let it pass. 

Thousands of parents in Colorado whose children are growing up in foster care are doing their best to make it possible for their kids to come home. Love doesn’t disappear because mental health struggles, substance use disorders or whatever other significant challenges helped make home unsafe exist. It’s still a hard day. The same can be said for their children. No matter what trauma a child may have endured, it is natural to want love from your parents and to want to be together. This day is hard for them too. We are thankful for the foster parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, and single parents who may feel unseen on this day of celebration. Thank you for strengthening your families. Your kids may, or may not, thank you for it, but Illuminate Colorado is grateful to you for helping to create a Colorado where all children and families thrive. 

To Future Us

Every year there are more than 61,000 babies born in Colorado.1 Those first days and months are full of joy and stress for every family. If you are celebrating someone in your life that is about to become a parent this Mother’s Day, let this be a reminder to make sure you are up to date on what safe sleep looks like at home and everywhere babies sleep.

When you walk into any store to buy something for a new baby on the way, you may assume that the products on the shelves are safe, but those who’ve spent some time learning about safe sleep recommendations and guidelines know that isn’t the case when it comes to infant sleep products. Thankfully, beginning in mid-2022, any product intended or marketed for infant sleep must meet a federal safety standard.

Of course, recalls and safety guidance aren’t the only thing new parents have to know, so, I’m passing along a word of advice that one of the parents we outreached to for this column recently shared with a friend.

A letter to My Dear (pregnant) Friend, 

Happy Mother’s Day.This day is very special for you and your little one. You will soon find out why our moms love us so much. There is no kind of love that can equal or surpass it. 

I never envisioned loving anyone more than my cat. I never knew it was possible to love another person so much. 

Some advice:

1) Get as much rest as you can now.

2) Enjoy your personal space, like having a daydream or a private thought.

3) Remember what your life is like now. You will soon look back and realize how simple it was.

4) Enjoy small stuff like bathing alone or going to the bathroom in a restaurant (which will soon be very complicated).

5) Savor the romance, travel… and sex (you will understand what I mean).

6). Enjoy reading as many adult books as you can now; because your next chance won’t be until  they go off to college. 

Being a mom is the most precious blessing in life. I can’t wait for you to join the club.

Eliza Sultan

About the Author

About the Author

Katie is the proud mother of two children, four and six,  sharing her lived experiences so that children and families can grow and thrive together. As the Director of Communications for Illuminate Colorado, she specializes in the development of strategic communications plans related to the field of child welfare, child abuse prevention, and the use of evidence-based communications aimed at improving the well-being of children and strengthening families in the State of Colorado.

Parents’ Stories a Focus of the Campaign to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

Parents’ Stories a Focus of the Campaign to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

Nearly one hundred people gathered on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol to promote positive childhood experiences and listen to parents share their experiences in recognition of child abuse prevention month. The event is the first of many activities happening throughout the nation, and Colorado, as part of the month-long Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together.  

“Every one of the more than 1.2 million children in Colorado today deserve to be valued, healthy and thriving, including the children in my community. And, every day, we each help positive childhood experiences take root,” said Beverley Besha Moore, emcee for the event and board member of Illuminate Colorado (Illuminate), the statewide nonprofit organizing this annual grassroots effort to raise awareness during child abuse prevention month. As the Colorado Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, the organization leads the national Pinwheels for Prevention® Campaign in Colorado which has grown exponentially over the years, giving away more than 40,000 FREE pinwheels last year as many families were under significant stress doing their best to parent during a pandemic.

2022 Colorado Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign Launch Event

Thank you to all the partners, parents and kids that joined us at the Colorado State Capitol! What a great start to Child Abuse Prevention Month!
VIEW PHOTO ALBUM

A leading champion for all children in the United States, Prevent Child Abuse America is the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. Prevent Child Abuse America experts develop innovative, evidence-based prevention strategies, raise public awareness, and advocate for family-friendly policies and programs at the national, state, and local levels to ensure that all children and families get what they need to thrive. “Research shows that positive childhood experiences grow thriving families and communities,” explained Dr. Melissa Merrick, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “This is the moment to build a child and family well-being system that propels families to grow and thrive together. Please consider joining us to ensure safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are cultivated to enable children, families, and entire communities to succeed – today and for generations to come.” 

As a mom to seven kids myself, two by adoption and five by birth, I know that no parent can do this alone. All parents need support from their community to raise their kids—it truly does take a village. And while all families need support, some families do experience social, economic and environmental inequities more than others and this explains why children of color experience significant disparities in child well-being.” said Besha Moore. As an African American mother, I’ve experienced first-hand the struggle of wanting to ask for help but being fearful that I would be looked at differently or treated differently because I’m African American. We can all help by proactively calling out inequity and injustice and working to create the conditions for safe, stable and nurturing spaces. All children and families thrive when communities focus on addressing root causes that lead to health and social inequities. We all need to know how to strengthen the family next door.”

This year, Illuminate is giving away 10 Free pinwheels to anyone interested in getting more involved and asking all Coloradans to pledge to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. “When parents, caregivers, family, friends, neighbors, employers and elected leaders work together to increase five critical protective factors in families’ lives that is when we can prevent child abuse, strengthen families and build brighter childhoods,” continued Besha Moore.

Every one of the more than 1.2 million children in Colorado today deserve to be valued, healthy and thriving, including the children in my community. And, every day, we each help positive childhood experiences take root.

Beverley Besha Moore

Board Member, Illuminate Colorado

Conditions in communities where people live, learn, work and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes – including child abuse and neglect – a serious problem affecting every segment of our community. The occasion focused on effective community-based solutions including home visiting, homeless shelters, family resource centers and other local community supports that support all families thereby reducing the likelihood of child maltreatment.  In October 2018, I experienced every parents worst nightmare; my three and a half year-old son pasted away. After that tragedy, I was offered a whirlwind of supportive services, counseling, classes, family and friends coming to offer support. Every single one played a part in my healing process. What I found most life-altering was my home visiting program,” shared Alexa Chenoweth, a mother of two girls under the age of four from Rifle, Colorado. 

Another father opened up about his journey through parenthood having experienced homelessness. “I never thought I would ever become homeless until it happened. A number of events led me to a point in my life where I needed to find a temporary home so that I could start working to rebuild my life from the ground up and continue to support my basic needs and be there for my son,” said Dave Ehlert the Colorado Springs father of a nine year-old boy.  “Parenting isn’t always easy. There’s no book to follow on how to be a perfect parent and it can be difficult at times. The good news is there’s so many resources in all of our communities that are reaching out to us to provide services, programs and support as we navigate our parental journey.”

 

In addition to the more than 50 campaign partners displaying pinwheels in April as a show of support for the prevention of child maltreatment, promoting the campaign messaging on social media using #GrowingBetterTogether, and encouraging Coloradans to take part in the campaign; campaign sponsors including the presenting sponsor SafeCare Colorado of Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood, and organizing sponsor Colorado’s Office of Children, Youth & Families and media sponsor Colorado Parent, also supported the event.

As added incentive to make a commitment to strengthening families this month, one person who takes the pledge to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together will be selected at the end of the month to win an opportunity to choose a Colorado nonprofit, school or child care organization to receive a $2,500 grant, thanks in large part to the campaign sponsor Colorado Child Welfare Scholars Consortium, part of a statewide effort to invest in the education of selected students in order to attract qualified social work professionals into the field of public child welfare services in Colorado.  For more ways you can to strengthen families and take the pledge to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together and learn more about child abuse and neglect prevention and activities happening around the state all-month long, visit COPinwheelsForPrevention.org

Following a message from Governor Jared Polis, Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families, and Mary Alice Cohen, director of the Office of Early Childhood from the Colorado Department of Human Services addressed the crowd to thank the thousands of professionals, parents and caregivers who have strengthen families throughout the pandemic. “I’ve seen amazing collaboration happen with partners across the state throughout this pandemic to take care of families in their communities and ensure they have what they need to be successful and help their kids grow up healthy, strong and ready for school,” said Castillo Cohen. “We know that when families are connected and have access to concrete support in their communities, child maltreatment can be prevented. It truly takes all of us to ensure every child has the opportunity to thrive.”

“The last two years have been so challenging for children and their families. I know many of you have first hand experience with this,” shared Cohen. “Our routines and our support systems were changed abruptly. In the Office of Early Childhood we were heartened to see the creativity and resilience all of our partners showed to ensure the youngest Coloradans continued to thrive; yet we also recognized the significant needs families faced, and continue to face.”

The event ended on a heartfelt note with Besha Moore share a personal story after reflection on the work going on inside the Capitol. “You see, I was a teen mom. When he was just three and half years old. At that time, I was handling the financial struggles of being a single mom. I found myself in a position when I was wondering do I purchase diapers or purchase sanitary items that I needed. And of course, the diapers won. So I swallowed my pride and I did whatever was needed. But, just imagine if there was such a thing as not having a tax on diapers back then,” shared Besha Moore referencing a bill Colorado lawmakers are working on this legislative session to make essential items, like period products and diapers, more affordable.  “That definitely could have helped me. And If I had really felt confident about these wonderful services that we have here in Colorado, if those things were made available to me, I definitely would have taken them.” 

Growing a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

Every one of the more than 1.2 million children in Colorado today deserve to be valued, healthy and thriving, including the children in your community.

Take the pledge to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. 

Show your support for strengthening families in Colorado and take the pledge to build protective factors and prevent child abuse in your community.

Get Your 10 FREE Pinwheels

Illuminate Colorado, a statewide nonprofit working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, is giving away 10 FREE Pinwheels for Prevention® to Coloradans to inspire our communities to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together.

>>Interested in getting more involved or sharing your lived experiences?

Parents: It’s Time to Talk About Strengthening Our Families

Parents: It’s Time to Talk About Strengthening Our Families

For more than ten years now, you may have seen gardens of pinwheels planted at your child’s school, day care or a local hospital or nonprofit organization, and wondered, why? It’s because pinwheels are the national symbol for child abuse prevention meant to start a conversation about how to strengthen families. 

“What research has shown, and what our experiences have borne out, is that people respond to the pinwheel. Child abuse is a hard topic for most people to think about, let alone talk about. By its very nature, the pinwheel reminds us all of the bright childhoods we want for all children,” said Jade Woodard, executive director of Illuminate Colorado, the statewide nonprofit organizing this annual grassroots effort to raise awareness during child abuse prevention month. As the Colorado Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, the organization leads the national Pinwheels for Prevention® Campaign in Colorado which has grown exponentially over the years, giving away more than 40,000 FREE pinwheels last year as many families were under significant stress doing their best to parent during a pandemic. 


“Families get overloaded with stress when facing significant challenges like unemployment, substance misuse or mental health struggles, making it incredibly hard to parent and keep your child safe. That’s when kids are at greater risk for abuse or neglect. Just like a truck carrying too much weight, they can’t move forward. But when other parents, friends, family, employers, neighbors, community organizations and even elected officials increase protective factors around families, then we lighten the load. That’s how we prevent child abuse and strengthen families,” continued Woodard. “We are encouraging Colorado communities to have a conversation about helping families upstream- reducing stress on parents and building resources and systems that work together to help us raise our families. Every one of the more than 1.2 million children in Colorado today deserve to be valued, healthy and thriving.” 

Locations where pinwheels tend to sprout up are usually: 

  • organizations that are working every day with young children like elementary schools, child care centers and home visiting programs; 
  • organizations that recognize their role in strengthening families like family resource centers, medical offices and hospitals; 
  • businesses supportive of family-friendly work environments and the children and families in their communities;  and, of course,
  • nonprofit and human services agencies doing the incredibly hard job of helping children and families heal from child maltreatment. 

This year, many of those same organizations are doing more to empower parents who are passionate about making sure their neighborhood protects children and strengthens families. On April 1st, parents are joining Colorado legislators and representatives from more than 50 campaign partners to gather on the West steps of the Colorado State Capitol at 11:00 am to promote positive childhood experiences and launch a month-long campaign to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

Organizers plan to share more about ways to show your support and earn a $2,500 grant for your favorite Colorado nonprofit, school or child care provider at the event. Illuminate is also giving away 10 FREE pinwheels to anyone who wants to get more involved and join this movement. You can order your free pinwheels online at COPinwheelsForPrevention.org or stop by the public family-friendly campaign launch event to pick up your pinwheels. Each pinwheel comes with a small greeting card to give to someone else or display to help inspire other people in your community to learn more about how we can strengthen families.

Five Way to Use Pinwheels for Prevention®

Display your pinwheels in a pot in your front yard or window to show your support and get people talking about strengthening families.

Organize a pinwheel parade in your neighborhood, school or child care center.

Give your pinwheels to a child you care about along with the Pinwheels for Prevention® coloring sheet, available in the campaign community activity guide

Ask your favorite restaurants, pediatrician and dentist offices to display a small bouquet of pinwheels at the front desk to let customers know they support children and families in the community.

Leave one pinwheel on the doorstep of 10 of your neighbor’s homes to build the movement or say “thank you for keeping me strong.”

“We’ve done this for many, many years in person at the Capitol with our pinwheels and we are so excited to be back together in person for the first time since 2019. We definitely did our best virtually during the pandemic, but it is just nothing like the energy that we get when we are all together at the Capitol to launch Child Abuse Prevention Month,” continued Woodard.

Five Ways to Build Stronger Families

Protective factors are conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities or the larger society that help people deal more effectively with stressful events and mitigate or eliminate risk in families and communities. Protective factors help buffer from the negative consequences of exposure to risks by either reducing the impact of the risk or changing the way a person responds to the risk. Consequently, enhancing protective factors can reduce the likelihood of problem behaviors arising.

Research by the Center for the Study of Social Policy has shown five protective factors increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Throughout the month of April, campaign partners will be highlighting ways parents, employers and community members can build the following protective factors to strengthen families.

1 – Be Strong in the Face of Stress – Build Parental Resilience 

Resilience is managing stress and dealing with your life, even when things get difficult.

Right now, stress is HIGH. You’ve likely felt a little short-temper, yelled or not been your best-self at moments. Everyone needs to practice self-care right now, especially parents. Take care of yourself, to take care of your kids. Share a mindfulness or stress management tip, encourage others parents to give themselves permission to not be perfect.

2 – Connecting With Other People Matters – Build Social Connections

Having a network of friends and family helps us feel secure, confident and empowered. Accept help from others and look for opportunities to give back. Reach out to others, talk about what is going on in your life. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Focus on nurturing relationships where you feel respected and appreciated.

3 – Grow Your Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development – Build Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

There is no perfect parent, but knowing what to expect does make the job easier. Discover what to expect as your child grows. Try new skills and tips to help your child progress and thrive. Pause to understand why your child is acting out and respond in a positive, nurturing, and developmentally appropriate way.

4 – Every Parent Needs Support Sometimes – Build Concrete Support in Times of Need

Some problems are too big to solve alone. Knowing where to get help in the community can make life easier. Know what help is available in your community. Make a plan for what programs you might need if you were faced with unemployment or severe illness. Reach out and ask for support when needed. Share your story with others about programs and resources that have helped you along the way.

5 – Help Your Child Manage Feelings and Relationships – Build Social and Emotional Competence of Children

Help children develop skills so they can manage their emotions and build healthy relationships with their peers and adults. Respond warmly and consistently to your child. Allow your child to express their emotions. Model how to be kind and interact positively with others.

Most parents, including those known to child protection, are truly doing the best they can and want to do well by their children. All families need help sometimes. Some are overburdened and close to breaking points as they struggle with child care and work, the threat of unemployment, food or housing insecurities, and other intense pressures. Creating better outcomes for children starts with ensuring families are supported and strengthened when they need help – rather than penalized. 

The Colorado Department of Human Services recently reported that calls to the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline, 844-CO-4-Kids (844.264.5437), have rebounded after a significant drop during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Most of the calls that come into the hotline are really around a parent’s lack of resources, so, one of the ways that we can really support families is by making sure that we are connecting them to those resources -those concrete supports that families need,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families, one of three organizing sponsors of the campaign. 

“I am very excited about the campaign because it gives us an opportunity to work outside of our child protection system and really talk about human services, so instead of child welfare, thinking about child well-being,” said Castillo Cohen. “ I just really hope that people put out the pinwheels in their yard, encourage their elementary schools and the businesses in their own communities to get involved and recognize strong employees who have families are even stronger when they have a support network,” said Castillo Cohen.

“I am very excited about the campaign because it gives us an opportunity to work outside of our child protection system and really talk about human services, so instead of child welfare, thinking about child well-being,” said Castillo Cohen. “ I just really hope that people put out the pinwheels in their yard, encourage their elementary schools and the businesses in their own communities to get involved and recognize strong employees who have families are even stronger when they have a support network,” said Castillo Cohen. 

Ways to Get Involved

Join Together on April 1

You can promote positive childhood experiences and preventing adversity by wearing blue on April 1 – National Wear Blue Day – and share your picture online letting others know you support #GrowingBetterTogether. 

Colorado Campaign Launch to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together
April 1 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Colorado State Capitol West Steps
200 E Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80203

RSVP to let campaign organizers know you plan to support the cause and help the campaign get off to a strong start. 

Come down to the Capitol to meet other parents passionate about making sure their neighborhood protects children and strengthens families. Be the first to learn more about how you can WIN a $2,500 grant for your favorite Colorado nonprofit, school or child care provider! 

Organize Your People

Become a campaign partner, download the campaign community activity guide and encourage your friends, other parents and your child’s school or day care to order their FREE 10 Pinwheels. 

Join the Movement

Follow #GrowingBetterTogether to connect to the movement in your community and tag us on Illuminate on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to show you support. 

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