Growing Better Together During Child Abuse Prevention Month–and All Year Long

Growing Better Together During Child Abuse Prevention Month–and All Year Long

Child Abuse Prevention Month is an important time of year for so many organizations and individuals working tirelessly year-round to strengthen families and protect children.  For the first time since 2019, people were able to come together in person to launch the annual Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign, but that was just the beginning of the month-long awareness campaign to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. 

Growing Better Together in April

Here are some of the ways Colorado parents, caregivers, family, friends, neighbors, employers, organizations and elected leaders worked together this April to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together:

 

    • April 1 was Wear Blue Day, and we launched this year’s campaign at the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol–in person for the first time since 2019! Nearly 100 people joined us at the Colorado State Capitol to listen to a recorded video message from Governor Jared Polis and hear from professionals and parents about how they are growing a better tomorrow for all children, together.

       

    • The Colorado State House of Representatives and Senate recognized April 1 as the first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month and paid tribute to the work happening in Colorado to prevent child abuse.

    • Thanks to the Colorado Child Welfare Scholars Consortium, we were able to award a $2,500 grant to La Cocina as part of our campaign contest. La Cocina’s mission is to dismantle systems of oppression and co-create paths to liberation by providing full access to traditional and non-traditional forms of mental health and health equity support services.
    • 80 Coloradans took a FREE two-hour interactive online training designed to  create a new standard of child safety in communities and throughout Colorado. If you weren’t able to attend in April, free trainings are offered year-round. Find one that works for you.

       

    • More than 200 people across the country contacted lawmakers on April 27 to urge them to reauthorize and increase funding to offer high-quality home visiting services to families as part of  Prevent Child Abuse America’s third annual Digital Advocacy Day.

       

    • Communities used the hashtag #GrowingBetterTogether to connect to the movement, finding ways to get involved and signifying their commitment to helping children, families and entire communities to thrive.

       

    • Illuminate Colorado, with the support of SafeCare Colorado, Colorado Parent and numerous other 2022 Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign sponsors distributed 840,264 messages during the month of April to inspire a conversation to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. Partnering with 54 organizations, highlighted on COPinwheelsForPrevention.org, we reached more than 76,139 Coloradans.

What Are the Five Protective Factors?

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. The five protective factors that reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect are:

      • Parental Resilience
      • Social Connections
      • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
      • Concrete Support in Times of Need
      • Social and Emotional Competence of Children

Growing Better Together All Year Long

It can take nearly a year to plan and coordinate these efforts. But, each year we can see the impact greater awareness brings. 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. 

As the Colorado Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, Illuminate Colorado leads the Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign in Colorado and a collaborative effort to raise awareness during child abuse prevention month each year.

Since 2009, this collaborative effort in Colorado has grown exponentially over the years with hundreds of local organizations and thousands of passionate people organizing pinwheels displays – one of the many ways we work together to inspire conversations about how to strengthening families in Colorado.

The Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Awareness Campaign Planning Committee will be meeting later this year to being to align awareness efforts and plan create a greater understanding of how to prevent child maltreatment by building protective factors and strengthening families. 

 

Join Us

Interested in organizing awareness efforts in your community? Join the Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Awareness Campaign Planning Committee!

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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.

Subscribe

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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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      Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring A Community Initiatives Associate

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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

      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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      New Kid on the Block: Caramel Expands Illuminating Child Care to Pueblo and Fremont Counties

      New Kid on the Block: Caramel Expands Illuminating Child Care to Pueblo and Fremont Counties

      Caramel, Illuminating Child Care’s newest member of the fleet, was introduced to the Pueblo community at an open house on April 14th. Members of the community and local media toured the new classroom, learned more about the program and saw how the on-site classroom operates. Another open house is scheduled in Fremont County.

      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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