Shifting Colorado Toward a Culture of Mandatory Supporting

Shifting Colorado Toward a Culture of Mandatory Supporting

With HB22-1240 Mandatory Reporters making its way through the Colorado legislature, an opportunity to transform how we approach ensuring child and family safety and well-being, including reducing disparities, is on the horizon for our state. 

The bill highlights the importance of ensuring that individuals who are required to report child abuse or neglect have access to the resources necessary for doing so, including information regarding obligations and protections pursuant to the law, standardized training and materials, and specialized training to address and decrease the disproportionate impact on under-resourced communities.

Due to historic and ongoing systems of racism, oppression, and explicit/implicit bias, under-resourced communities, communities of color, and persons with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by the mandatory reporting system. 

With the goal of creating a more equitable mandatory reporting system, the most recent version of HB22-1240 would establish a Task Force charged with:

    • Analyzing best practices and recommending changes to training requirements and reporting procedures.
    • Analyzing the effectiveness of mandatory reporting and its relationship with systemic issues, including the disproportionate impact of mandatory reporting on under-resourced communities, communities of color, and persons with disabilities.

Based on its findings, the Task Force may propose clarifications to the law and identify recommended changes to mandatory reporter training requirements and procedures for reporting child abuse or neglect. 

Illuminate Colorado is excited about the potential that the efforts and recommendations of the Task Force have to shift the approach to addressing concerns for a child/family’s safety and well-being to be one that is more supportive.

As Katie Facchinello, Illuminate Colorado’s director of communications, shared during her testimony on the bill, “our organization hopes that we are moving forward in Colorado to embrace the idea that while we may not all be mandatory reporters, we should ALL be mandatory supporters. The improvements in this bill are greatly needed, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also encourage everyone to embrace the opportunities before us everyday to strengthen families, offer counsel and connection to a parent or caregiver beyond reporting our concerns. Making a call to report is no doubt a critical part of a functioning child welfare system, but is not all that is needed to create a 21st century system in Colorado where all children and families thrivea Colorado where there are far fewer concerns about the well-being of a child to report.

While we may not all be mandatory reporters, we should ALL be mandatory supporters.

Katie Facchinello

Director of Communications, Illuminate Colorado

Illuminate is grateful to the Child Protection Ombudsman of Colorado for their leadership on the stakeholding process and development of a bill that we hope will be a step in the right direction toward ensuring that families have what they need and disparities within the mandatory reporting system are reduced. 

“Colorado’s mandatory reporting system is outdated, unresponsive to the times and it is not working as effectively as it should to protect our children from abuse and neglect. House Bill 22-1240 is a critical first step to addressing and assessing this system. If passed, this bill would require a diverse set of professionals and members of the community to examine the deep and complex issues that have plagued mandatory reporting for decades. These discussions will position Colorado to better support families, address disparities in how the system impacts communities of color, those with disability and our rural communities, and ultimately, determine how best to serve children when there is suspected abuse and neglect.”    

Stephanie Villafuerte

Colorado's Child Protection Ombudsman

Illuminate is particularly encouraged by the amendments that were made to the bill to prioritize prevention and improve efforts to ensure that recommendations are informed by those with lived experience by increasing the number of family voice seats required to be on the task force and adding a seat for a prevention expert.

At Illuminate, we firmly believe that families are the experts on their own experiences and are the ones who hold the best solutions to the challenges that they and their communities face. Furthermore, we believe that meaningfully involving those with lived experience on the topic at hand is the only way to create real and effective systems change.

We could not be more appreciative of our partners at Elephant Circle for leading advocacy efforts regarding the importance of increasing the involvement of those with lived experience. 

“Mandatory reporting is important to many people and professionals, but most of all to families. That is why we wanted to make sure the new Mandatory Reporter Task Force includes people who have experienced reports as parents or kids. As we saw in testimony for this bill, there are a lot of people impacted by these laws and a lot of strong opinions. We wanted to make sure that members of the general public can attend Task Force meetings.”

Indra Lusero

Director, Elephant Circle

As an organization, we are constantly working to learn and grow around engaging and following the leadership of families with lived experience related to the topics of systems-change initiatives that we help to convene.  Visit the blog posts below to read more, learn alongside us, and hear directly from families about their experiences with and perspectives on engaging in systems-change efforts:

HB22-1240 Mandatory Reporters passed the House last week and is being heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee today at 2 p.m. Contact members of the committee before the hearing to ask for their support in transforming how Colorado approaches ensuring child and family safety and well-being.

Review the 2022 Policy Agenda

The Illuminate Colorado 2022 Policy Agenda highlights policies that build one or more protective factors in Colorado. Download the full Policy Agenda to learn more.

Bill Tracker

Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills this session related to strengthening families.

Subscribe

Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2022 Illuminating Policy Agenda by subscribing to Illuminate Colorado’s blog.

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Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring An Early Childhood Teacher

Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring An Early Childhood Teacher

We are so excited to announce that we are hiring an Early Childhood Teacher!

Under the guidance of the Child Care Manager, the Early Childhood Teacher will plan, organize, implement, and deliver an infant and toddler program curriculum to meet enrolled children’s individual and group educational, intellectual, physical, social, and emotional needs. This position will manage a mobile child care classroom for children whose parents are working to address complex issues impacting their family, such as mental health concerns, substance use disorders, or employment challenges; and ensure that the mobile classroom remains in compliance with the State of Colorado Child Care Licensing and ensure that the mobile classroom remains in compliance with the State of Colorado Child Care Licensing standards.

    Experience & Skills:

      • Enthusiastic leader and team member with a positive attitude.
      • Exceptional oral and written communication skills – ability to understand intermediate written materials and compose information/instruction in written form.
      • Effective interpersonal skills to support ongoing interaction with other employees, the general public, and children and parents within the community.
      • Effective organizational, time management and multitasking skills.
      • Excellent judgment as well as problem solving/decision making abilities.
      • Remain calm and calm others in an emergency, stressful and/or confrontational situation.
      • Identify conflict and take the steps necessary to resolve the issues or involve others to resolve the issues.
      • Work well with other people taking into consideration, among the dynamics, their needs, their personal style, and the requirements of their jobs.
      • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Google Suite applications.

    Qualifications:

      • Professional Development Information System (PDIS) Level 2 Early Childhood Teacher
      • Must meet or be willing to work towards obtaining the Colorado Child Care Infant Nursery Supervisor requirements (ECE 111 and ECE 112; Expanding Quality in Infant Toddler Care; or Child Development Associate)
      • Bilingual in English/Spanish preferred
      • Valid Driver’s License required
      • Must pass background check, post-employment medical examination and drug screen
      • Experience working in Head Start or Early Head Start program preferred

      Compensation: This is a full-time position eligible for benefits. Starting salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience in the range of $40,000 – $50,000.

      This position will be required to travel to service locations in the Denver Metro area. Mileage will be reimbursed. A cell phone will be needed to complete necessary duties regarding this position. At this time a cell phone stipend will not be provided. Flexibility to work a pre-set alternating schedule that will include opening and closing center hours with possibility of occasional evenings and weekends. The start and ending hours can range from 7:30am to 9:00pm.

      Illuminate Colorado offers health and dental benefits as well as participation in a Simple IRA, EAP, and Life & AD&D benefits. In addition, Illuminate has a generous paid time off policy.

       

      View the complete job posting here.

      To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three references via email with “Early Childhood Teacher” in the subject line to hiring@illuminatecolorado.org. The application deadline will remain open until position is filled.

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      This Digital Advocacy Day, Speak Up to Prevent Child Abuse

      This Digital Advocacy Day, Speak Up to Prevent Child Abuse

      Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) America’s Digital Advocacy Day is today, April 27th! YOU can participate by reaching out to your members of Congress and using your voice to urge them to support children and families across Colorado and nationwide.

      How can I get involved?

      This Digital Advocacy Day, please join Illuminate Colorado, and our partners across the country, in contacting lawmakers to urge them to act now to reauthorize and increase funding for the bipartisan Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

      As the Colorado chapter of PCA and a member of our state’s Home Visiting Investment Task Force, Illuminate Colorado enthusiastically supports the importance of maintaining and bolstering the infrastructure necessary to offer high-quality home visiting services to families across our state.

      Get involved by emailing, tweeting, posting on social media, and/or calling your senators and representatives. For more resources, such as key messages, tweets, and graphics to help you communicate with your representative easily and effectively, please visit preventchildabuse.org/2022-digital-advocacy-day or see the resources below. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the PCA America policy team at pcaapolicyteam@preventchildabuse.org.

      Send an Email in Two Easy Clicks

      Your members of Congress need to hear from you! We have the extraordinary opportunity to educate lawmakers about evidence-based home visiting programs and its positive impact on families and children.

      Background Information

      The MIECHV program is a federal grant to states, territories, and Tribes that supports evidence-based home visiting for families and children from the prenatal period through the time that children start kindergarten. While the program’s ability to positively impact maternal and child health outcomes–including by reducing child maltreatment, improving positive parenting practices, and improving family economic self-sufficiencyis clear, the current funding level limits its ability to reach the children and families who need it most. Only 150,000 of the 18 million current and expectant parents who could benefit from the program receive services.

      In our state in particular, while some level of home visiting services is available in all counties, according to the Child Fatality Prevention System’s 2020 Annual Legislative Report, “Not a single county in Colorado… has home visiting programs to meet the overall needs of families in the county.”

      To bring the power of home visiting to more families and promote improved maternal health outcomes, we need Congress to reauthorize and increase funding. Specifically, we’re requesting that Congress: 

      • Increase MIECHV funding over the next five years to reach more families and better support the workforce
      • Double the tribal set-aside within MIECHV from 3% to 6%
      • Continue to allow virtual home visiting with model fidelity as an option for service delivery

      Key Messages
      • The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program is a federal grant to states, territories and Tribes that supports evidence-based home visiting for families and children from prenatal period through kindergarten entry. The law that authorizes MIECHV will expire in September 2022.
      • Home visiting programs are a prevention strategy used to support pregnant moms and new parents as they work through the challenges of raising babies and young children.
      • Home visiting programs help new and expectant parents develop the skills and confidence it takes to raise healthy families.
      • Home visiting prevents adversity and builds resilience by being there during a child’s most critical years of development (prenatal to age five).
      • Evidence-based home visiting programs, such as Healthy Families America, prevent and reduce the recurrence of child maltreatment, promote healthy child development, and enhance family well-being. Among many other positive outcomes, families who participate in HFA and other home visiting programs have shown reductions in the number of low-birthweight babies, improved school readiness for children, and increased economic self-sufficiency.
      • For nearly 30 years, HFA has worked toward a singular vision: all children receive nurturing care from their family that leads to a healthy, long, and successful life. All families can benefit from support during pregnancy and throughout early childhood owing to the enormous life transitions and rapid growth occurring during this time.
      • HFA serves nearly 70,000 families across the United States each year, with nearly 600 sites in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and five US territories. Approximately 30% of HFA families served are supported through MIECHV funding.
      • Local implementation of HFA is funded through a variety of mechanisms, including federal funds such as MIECHV, state funds (including Medicaid and TANF) and local and private funding.
      Sample Tweets
      • Invest in our children’s future, reauthorize home visiting #MIECHV funding. Make #GreatChildhoods happen all year long! @PCAAmerica @HFAatPCA
      • Today, April 27th, is our third annual Digital Advocacy Day. You can help us grow online word-of-mouth and show your support for policies and programs that support all children and families with a few simple steps. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3IS3aj7 #GrowingBetterTogether
      Find Your Members of Congress
      What important dates should I be aware of?

      Digital Advocacy Day is April 27th. Use the resources on this page to contact your elected officials and spread the word about policy changes that’s vital to the well-being of children and their families.

      The law that authorizes MIECHV will expire in September 2022. The House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over MIECHV will begin to hold hearings in the spring and into the summer in preparation for the reauthorization of MIECHV.

      What do I need to know about the difference between education, advocacy, and lobbying?

      Advocacy or Education is public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. Lobbying is seeking to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue or a specific ask such as supporting la piece of legislation.​

      There are many avenues of advocacy that nonprofits can engage in that do not constitute lobbying. ​Advocacy happens in many different ways, but at its core it’s about raising awareness, building and leveraging relationships, and educating others around the issues and policies that matter to you. There are varying degrees in which an HFA site, PCA chapter, or nonprofit organization, can engage in advocacy that do not cross into lobbying. Advocacy can include such activities as:

      • Educating and informing lawmakers
      • Helping to shape state laws and budgets
      • Making your voice(s) heard about important issues that affect our daily lives
      • Helping policymakers find solutions to problems
      • Providing critical information for adoption or rejection of introduced legislation
      • Urging the public to contact policy makers to advocate for adoption or rejection of legislation

      On the other end of the spectrum are lobbying activities. Key lobbying activities include activities in direct support or opposition to a specific piece of proposed legislation. While nonprofits can engage in some lobbying, the IRS has strict rules regarding the percentage of a nonprofit’s budget that can go toward lobbying activities. It’s recommended that any agency follow the rules and guidelines as set around lobbying and advocacy when engaging with lawmakers.

      Questions?

      If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the PCA America policy team at pcaapolicyteam@preventchildabuse.org.

      To bring the power of home visiting to more families and promote improved maternal health outcomes, we need Congress to reauthorize and increase funding. The law that authorizes the MIECHV program will expire in September 2022, so we need your voice now more than ever.

       Specifically, we’re requesting that Congress: 

        • Increase MIECHV funding over the next five years to reach more families and better support the workforce
        • Double the tribal set-aside within MIECHV from 3% to 6%
        • Continue to allow virtual home visiting with model fidelity as an option for service delivery

      This crucial investment in our children and families will support resources at the state and community level that reduce challenges and stressors on parents. Therefore, we have the extraordinary opportunity to educate lawmakers about evidence-based home visiting programs such as Healthy Families America, spread the word about vital policy change, and encourage action on issues that increase positive childhood experiences and prevent child abuse and neglect.

      Remember – advocate for children and families where you live. Make your voice heard by contacting your elected officials today, April 27th. Together, we can prevent childhood abuse and ensure families have what they need to thrive.

      In October 2018 I experienced every parents worst nightmare: my three and a half year-old son passed 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.

      Alexa Chenoweth

      Review the 2022 Policy Agenda

      The Illuminate Colorado 2022 Policy Agenda highlights policies that build one or more protective factors in Colorado. Download the full Policy Agenda to learn more.

      Bill Tracker

      Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills this session related to strengthening families.

      Subscribe

      Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2022 Illuminating Policy Agenda by subscribing to Illuminate Colorado’s blog.

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      Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring A Bilingual Communications & Education Associate

      We are so excited to announce that we are hiring a Bilingual Communications & Education Associate!

      Under the guidance of the Communications Manager, this position will work with our entire organization and community members from all over the state to manage first impressions for our organization, seamlessly connect people interested in the prevention of child maltreatment and integrate our systems building brighter childhoods. The Communications & Education Associate will help implement the strategic communications plan to achieve high quality communications and increase brand awareness for Illuminate Colorado. The individual should be detail-oriented, able to meet tight deadlines, flexible, and experienced with supporting an organization’s internal and external communication to a variety of audiences via websites, email, social media, print and events. The ideal candidate will be able to create and edit quality content, able to clearly and effectively communicate in writing and orally and have strong administrative and organizational skills. He/She/They will provide support with project management, social media, events, PR, administrative tasks, and other duties as assigned.

        Experience, Skills, and Qualifications:

          • Outstanding oral and written communication skills.
          • Strong social media engagement and content development skills.
          • Highly proficient with MS Office applications, (e.g. MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint) Google Workspace (e.g. Google Docs, Gmail, Docs, Drive, Slides); project management tools, constituent management tools, (e.g. Constant Contact or MailChimp) and website platforms (e.g. WordPress, Drupal, SquareSpace, Weebly)
          • Ability to plan, prioritize, organize, and manage tasks simultaneously; ability to work independently and collaboratively and adapt to changing priorities.
          • Highly organized and detail oriented, has initiative and follow-through to execute projects from initial state through completion, including tracking and reporting.
          • Ability to build, manage and sustain relationships with internal staff, board members, volunteers, and stakeholders through professional, effective, and timely communication.
          • Outstanding critical thinking, problem-solving, and project management skills including the ability to multitask, stay on top of ever-changing priorities in a fluid environment, manage expectations and negotiate deadlines and workloads.
          • Must be capable of maintaining clear, effective, timely communication with multiple team members, clients, stakeholders, sub-consultants & vendors;
          • Able to communicate authentically with all audiences, from parents and caregivers with lived experiences to local community members to executives to elected officials and willingness to work towards recognizing and eliminating bias
          • Event planning experience including registration set up, volunteer and onsite event management, and budget and timeline project management.

        One to three years of external communications, journalism, or other related experience. Equivalent combinations of experience/education will be considered. Excellent verbal and written communications skills in English and Spanish required.

          Compensation: This is a full-time position eligible for benefits. Starting salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience in the range of $40,000 – $50,000.

          Illuminate Colorado offers health and dental benefits as well as participation in a 401K, EAP, and Life Insurance benefits. In addition, Illuminate Colorado has a very generous paid time off policy and offers both flexible scheduling and remote work opportunities.

           

          View the complete job posting here.

          To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three references via email with “Communications and Education Associate” in the subject line to hiring@illuminatecolorado.org. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2022.

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          Media Coverage of the Pueblo Open House

          Before a parent can begin to address any complex issue impacting their family, like mental health concerns, substance use disorders, or employment challenges, they are too often faced, first, with struggling to find child care.

          That’s why Illuminate Colorado has partnered with Children First/Pueblo Early Childhood Council to expand the Illuminating Child Care program. Caramel, the newest classroom in the Illuminating Child Care fleet, is increasing access to child care for parents and caregivers navigating complex life situations in Pueblo and Fremont counties.

          “We can support parents in… really being able to be present and well for their kiddos, then we can support children in building all of those brain connections that we know happens in early childhood. So that’s how this is really contributing to school readiness and long-term educational success for kiddos,” Jade Woodard, Executive Director of Illuminate Colorado, told Fox 21 News.

          “As a single mother, and as a single mother in recovery, the greatest barrier to me being able to complete those tasks that I need to complete and stay on track would be child care.”

          Karie, one of several parents who’ve depended on Illuminating Child Care

          According to Angie Shehorn, Director of Children First/Pueblo Early Childhood Council, Caramel will officially begin services in late April or early May. “We have a schedule worked out… where we are out at facilities every single day, Monday through Friday,” she told The Pueblo Chieftain.

          Getting this child care classroom ready to serve young children means we need your help!

          Illuminate is hosting an online baby shower to help stock Caramel with all the items child care teachers need to help young children learn and grow while providing drop-in care on-site where parents are getting the support they need to strengthen their families.

          The registry for Caremel is set up through Lakeshore Learning Materials.

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