Illuminate Colorado is Hiring a Training Specialist

Illuminate Colorado is Hiring a Training Specialist

We’re excited to announce that we’re hiring a Training Specialist!

The Training Specialist will be responsible for aiding in the outreach, coordination and delivery of professional training and education programs to adult professionals and community members across Colorado. This position reports directly to the Director of Education.

Experience in training or facilitation with adult learners is required and expertise in child welfare practices, protective factors, substance use issues and child sexual abuse prevention is highly desirable. Bilingual in English/Spanish preferred.

This is a full-time position eligible for benefits. Starting salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience in the range of $45,000 – $55,000.

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

If this sounds like an exciting opportunity to you, click on the link below for more details about the position. There is no deadline to apply. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. This position is a full-time position eligible for benefits.

Illuminate Job Posting – Training Specialist

TO APPLY: Please submit cover letter, resume, and three references via email to info@illuminatecolorado.org. Please include “Training Specialist” in the subject line.

Tax Measures Impacting Community Resources are on Colorado’s Ballot

Tax Measures Impacting Community Resources are on Colorado’s Ballot

We all face challenges in our lives when we could use extra support. When families have information and access to available local resources to meet basic needs, we strengthen the foundation for families and communities to thrive. As we cast our ballots – due in just 12 days – we all play a key role in shaping Colorado’s policies and public investments to build and maintain a strong foundation of community resources critical to ensure a strong economic recovery from this pandemic across Colorado.

Vote NO on Proposition 116, YES on Amendment B, and YES on Yes on Proposition EE with children and families in mind this election season.

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Illuminate Colorado urges a no vote on Proposition 116. If passed, the measure would reduce the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55% for tax year 2020 and future years. This change would decrease Colorado’s state income tax permanently, resulting in as much as $236 million less in the state’s budget next fiscal year alone. Reducing state revenue will compound the impact of significant budget cuts already being made to education, transportation, health care programs, and other state services as a result of the current economic crisis.

Furthermore, the passage of Proposition 116 would have an inequitable impact with over half of the total resulting tax savings going to those with incomes over $500,000–less than 2% of taxpayers. Comparatively, average families would only see a benefit of $37 a year from Prop 116, resulting in slashes to many programs those same families benefit from or rely on, including K-12, higher education, health care, and more. White Coloradans are overrepresented in higher income quintiles while Black and Latinx Coloradans are overrepresented in the state’s lower income quintiles, meaning the vast majority of the tax cuts would flow to white residents and ultimately widen the racial wealth gap. 

As families, communities and organizations are struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and associated economic hardships, now is the time to invest in community resources, not diminish them. Learn more about the opposition campaign here.

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Voting yes on Amendment B is a tangible way to protect state funding as the global pandemic continues to negatively impact state budgets. The measure was referred to voters by a bipartisan majority of the state legislature. In Colorado, property taxes fund local government services, including those provided by cities, counties, and special districts, such as local fire protection, hospitals, transportation, and the local share of K-12 education, all of which are currently being constrained by the Gallagher Amendment. 

In 1982, the Gallagher Amendment established a formula that splits the total property tax burden between residential (homeowners) and non-residential (commercial) property. It outlines that no more than 45% of statewide property tax collections can come from residential property. As residential property values have risen over recent decades, the residential assessment rate has continued to decrease over the years–creating a widening imbalance and decline in revenue. This is problematic for schools, counties, and other special districts who rely on property taxes for funding. By repealing the Gallagher Amendment and freezing residential and nonresidential property assessment rates at their current levels, Colorado can protect funding for schools, hospitals, fire protection districts, libraries, and other critical community services, all of which contribute to the five Protective Factors for families. Learn more about the supporting campaign here

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Proposition EE will increase Protective Factors for Colorado families, particularly including social and emotional competence of children and concrete support, by shielding K-12 schools and housing programs from deep budget cuts caused by COVID-19 as well as expanding access to preschool. This measure would increase taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products as well as create a new tax on nicotine and vaping products in Colorado for the first time. These taxes would increase incrementally until they are fully phased in by 2027. The revenue raised will be aimed at improving child and family well-being by investing in programs that improve health and educational outcomes.

In 2021-2023, the funding will support Colorado’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on affordable housing, rental eviction assistance, and K-12 public schools with an emphasis on rural schools. In 2023-24 and after, the funding will be directed toward tobacco education, prevention, and cessation initiatives, and will ultimately create universal access to ten hours per week of voluntary preschool for all children the year prior to kindergarten entry, with the greatest resources invested in those who face the greatest barriers to school success. The Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Colorado Academy of Family Physicians, Colorado Medical Society, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and more endorse the measure.

All tax policy involves burdens and benefits which should be considered, balanced, and mitigated within the larger context at hand. It must be acknowledged that tobacco companies have disproportionately targeted low-income neighborhoods for decades and that flat taxes are regressive thus more burdensome on low-income populations. Considering that Black and Latinx Coloradans are overrepresented in the state’s lower income quintiles while White Coloradans are overrepresented in higher income quintiles, communities of color may be especially impacted by the increased taxes. Disproportionate burdens may be partially mitigated by saving lives and reducing health care costs considering tax increases have proven useful in decreasing consumption, with every 10% cigarette tax increase being correlated with a 3-5% decline in use. Proposition EE additionally will thoughtfully reinvest money into the most burdened communities through universal preschool (with extra offerings for working and low-income families), investment in K-12 education, affordable housing, and tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Learn more about the supporting campaign here

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To review proponent and opponent arguments for all of the measures on Colorado’s ballot this year, read the 2020 Ballot Information Book (Blue Book). 

As a reminder, in Colorado you can register to vote and vote in person up to 7pm on Election Day, November 3rd. In order to still receive a ballot in the mail, the deadline to register to vote or update your registration is October 26. Colorado voters can now sign up for BallotTrax – a system promoted by the Colorado Secretary of State that will allow you to track your ballot from sent to accepted. Sign up for BallotTrax here!

RELEASE: San Luis Valley to Benefit From Nearly Half a Million Dollar Federal Investment To Reduce The Number of Babies Experiencing Withdrawal

RELEASE: San Luis Valley to Benefit From Nearly Half a Million Dollar Federal Investment To Reduce The Number of Babies Experiencing Withdrawal

NEWS RELEASE

Today, Illuminate Colorado, in partnership with the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force, announced the award of a Federal grant totaling nearly $500,000 over three-years to reduce the incidence and impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in rural communities. NAS is a withdrawal syndrome that can occur in newborns exposed to certain substances, including opioids, during pregnancy. The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will fund work to improve integrated care and care coordination for pregnant people, mothers and women of childbearing age in the San Luis Valley who have or are at risk of a substance use disorder. 

“This is critical funding needed to continue the work of the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force in our community. Unlike other regions that may need to build their capacity, we already have a multidisciplinary task force focused on healthy babies for women with substance use disorder. Our communities have critical services including a methadone clinic, a community mental health center and a federally qualified health center, all skilled in treating opioid use disorders,” said Ruth Horn, the co-founder and coordinator of the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force. “Yet 2.8% of births in the San Luis Valley have been diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome. We need this support to combine prenatal services and treatment, help women access those services and de-stigmatize treatment for women to decrease the high rate of NAS in our region.” 

Illuminate Colorado, a statewide nonprofit working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, is partnering with the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force, a group comprised of health care, human service providers and community members that have been impacted by substance use, as well as the San Luis Valley Health, Valley-Wide Health Systems, San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center and Early Childhood Council of San Luis Valley to focus on strategies in prevention, treatment and recovery funded through the grant. Colorado’s award is one of 30 awards nationwide from HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome which totals nearly $15 million. 

In addition to supporting the work of the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force, the grant will provide support for Illuminate Colorado to continue to expand a new program – Illuminating Child Care – in the San Luis Valley by partnering with community-based nonprofits, local substance use disorder treatment providers and government agencies in the area to deliver mobile child care onsite where parents are getting the support that they need to strengthen their families.

“We are very excited to deepen our partnerships in the San Luis Valley to ensure community-based solutions supporting families impacted by substance use disorders have the resources they need to make a difference. When families have information and access to available local resources to meet basic needs, we strengthen the foundation for families and communities to thrive,” said Jade Woodard executive director of Illuminate Colorado.

DOWNLOAD THE NEWS RELEASE

Vote Yes on Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave

Vote Yes on Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave

Colorado prospers when Colorado families and communities prosper.With ballots in mailboxes and on kitchen tables across the state, Colorado voters now have the opportunity to ensure every family has access to Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML), securing Colorado’s future prosperity.

Voting yes on Proposition 118 is especially important because according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, four in five Coloradans don’t have access to Paid Family and Medical Leave. They can’t afford to take time off work to care for a newborn or a seriously ill loved one — something that’s needed now, more than ever. Viewed through a health equity lens as well as a family strengthening lens, PFML is an urgently needed solution–and within reach if Coloradans vote yes on 118.

Illuminate Colorado supports Proposition 118, and we hope you’ll join us in voting YES for paid leave. It’s going to take all of us standing up and working hard from now through November 3rd to change the lives of millions of hard-working Coloradans. 

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How Will the Program Work? 

Proposition 118 creates a state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave (including an additional four weeks for qualifying pregnancy or childbirth complications) and keep their job. To qualify, an employee must have worked for their employer for at least 180 days. The program will be paid for by premiums split between workers and their employers. The employer must pay at least 50 percent of the premium, but may choose to contribute a larger percentage.

Depending on weekly wage, workers will be eligible to receive up to 37-90% of their income during their time off, with higher percentages for lower-income workers. A new PFML division in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) will oversee the new program and create rules and regulations to govern the program. To learn more, review the 2020 Ballot Information Book (Blue Book). 

Strengthening Families & Preventing Child Maltreatment

Paid Family and Medical Leave programs are associated with significantly higher rates of successful breastfeeding and maternal mental health, improved maternal and infant sleep, as well as improved child health and educational outcomes. PFML decreases caregiver stress, work-family conflict, employee burnout, and rates of family stressors and risk factors. PFML programs improve economic stability of families and improve women’s economic growth after paid leave. It is crucial to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave considering that many child care facilities do not accept infants before 12 weeks of age. 

Paid Family and Medical Leave allows the family more time with an infant during the most critical year for preventing child fatality: the first year of life. PFML programs have been found to decrease infant mortality rates as well as decrease rates of abusive head trauma (shaken baby syndrome). Abusive head trauma is the leading cause of physical child abuse in the United States. Medical costs alone attributable to abusive head trauma in the four years after diagnosis average nearly $50,000 per affected child. After California implemented a minimal paid family leave policy in 2004 (6 weeks of 55% wage replacement), abusive head trauma hospital admissions decreased by 5.1 per 100,000 children.

Offering paid time to parents/caregivers to care for not only their infants, but also themselves, increases Parental Resilience, Concrete Supports, Social Connections, Knowledge Of Parenting and Child Development, and Social and Emotional Competence Of Children, each of which are shown to strengthen families and decrease the likelihood of child maltreatment. 

Advancing Gender & Racial Equity to Ensure Opportunities for All

Currently, higher wage jobs are more likely to provide paid family leave than low-wage jobs. White workers and male workers are disproportionately overrepresented in the highest wage brackets in Colorado, meaning that Black and Hispanic workers as well as women workers are less likely to have access to paid family leave. Over time, gender and racial barriers to accessing and building wealth are compounded by a lack of access to PFML. This inequitable access to economic support may make it more difficult for families of color to overcome the financial burden of a serious family or medical need, such as COVID-19.

One of the biggest barriers that limits women’s path to economic security is unaffordable child care. Women often face a trade-off between going to work and paying for child care or staying at home and forgoing the work opportunity. Although the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid time off and job protection for workers at companies with over 50 employees, it doesn’t protect the many workers who do not qualify for the benefit, and even those that do qualify may be unable to afford to utilize it because the time is unpaid. Both pregnancy and the subsequent birth of a child cause challenges for FMLA-exempt women who would like to remain in their current position after the birth of a child, but don’t have any legal guarantee of being able to return. 

Another barrier to economic security for women is gender-based violence. Research has found that intimate partner violence is more likely to start and/or escalate during the perinatal time period. Proposition 118 includes up to three days of paid safe time for survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This economic support for survivors can allow time for safety planning, accessing any needed medical care or mental health care, obtaining legal assistance, etc., ensuring affected employees and their families receive the time, resources, and care they need to safely exit a dangerous environment or situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that states implement PFML to reduce gender inequality by protecting maternal employment and earnings, which are vital to being able to leave an abusive relationship. 

Paid safe time is incredibly valuable given the intersections of perinatal mental health, substance use, and intimate partner violence, all of which impact the wellbeing of children in the home. Several studies suggest that survivors may use substances as a way to cope with ongoing violence and mental health symptoms. Paid safe time may empower survivors to begin to meet potential co-occurring needs such as mental health supports or substance use disorder treatment. Offering support services for caregivers that use a two-generational approach and provide support for whole families is essential to building protective factors, breaking the generational cycle of abuse, and sustaining recovery. 

In consideration of the combination of all of the above factors, women of color are disproportionately impacted by the absence of PFML. Proposition 118 will ensure that all workers, regardless of race, income, or gender, can take the time they need to care for themselves and their family members. When we strengthen parents, we strengthen children, families, and communities. For additional information, see how paid leave can be a tool for improving equity.

Proposition 118 will help us put our families first, and it will help Colorado businesses by providing a low-cost benefit option to businesses of any size. Coloradans should no longer have to choose between taking care of their newborn and keeping their paycheck or their job. The PMFL program that would be established through Proposition 118 would create significant long-term improvements for children and families, and is the kind of innovation we need.

If you’re interested in additional ways to support Proposition 118, receive updates, and more, get connected with the grassroots Colorado Families First Campaign.

Read the entire  Illuminate Colorado 2020 Statewide Ballot Measure Guide
READ THE ENTIRE ILLUMINATE COLORADO 2020 STATEWIDE BALLOT MEASURE GUIDE
Illuminate Colorado 2020 Statewide Ballot Measure Guide

Illuminate Colorado 2020 Statewide Ballot Measure Guide

Today is the first day that Colorado counties can begin mailing ballots to registered voters for the 2020 General Election. For the first time in Illuminate Colorado’s history, our organization is sharing public positions on several ballot measures because we want Coloradans to know how your decisions will have the power to affect the lives of children and families in your community and influence the prevention of child maltreatment in Colorado. 

Your ballot will be arriving within the next few weeks if you are a registered voter. The deadline to register to vote or update your registration to still receive a ballot in the mail is October 26. Colorado voters can now sign up for BallotTrax – a system promoted by the Colorado Secretary of State that will allow you to track your ballot from sent to accepted. Sign up for BallotTrax here!

Illuminate Colorado 2020 Statewide Ballot Measure Guide 

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Strengthening Families Through Paid Family and Medical Leave
For Colorado to remain one of the healthiest economies in the country, we need to work together to build brighter childhoods. Our future workforce, innovators, leaders, and community members can only reach their full potential through thoughtful development and investment in services and policies that strengthen children and families. Investing in practices, policies, and services–like Paid Family and Medical Leave–that promote children’s healthy development ensures that children build the skills they need to be successful. Positive experiences and loving relationships create a strong foundation for a lifetime of health and wellness. Paid Family and Medical Leave is good for families, good for businesses, and good for Colorado. Colorado voters have the opportunity to strengthen families by voting in support of paid leave:

Yes on Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave
Now more than ever, Coloradans shouldn’t have to choose between a paycheck and recovering from a serious illness, caring for a loved one, or bonding with a new child. Paid Family and Medical Leave allows families more time with an infant during the most critical year for preventing child fatality: the first year of life. Paid Family and Medical Leave programs are associated with significantly higher rates of successful breastfeeding and maternal health, reductions in infant hospitalizations for abusive head trauma, and lower rates of family stressors and risk factors.

Currently, 80% of Colorado workers do not have access to paid family leave. Proposition 118 will ensure that all workers, regardless of race or income, can take the time they need to care for themselves and their family members. Offering paid time to parents to care for not only their children, but also themselves, increases all five of the Protective Factors to strengthen families: Concrete Support, Parental Resilience, Social Connections, Knowledge Of Parenting and Child Development, and Social and Emotional Competence Of Children. Illuminate Colorado endorses Proposition 118. 

Building and Maintaining a Strong Foundation of Community Resources for Families
Investing in programs and policies that support families enables children to achieve their potential and become productive members of the community as adults. When families have information and access to available local resources to meet basic needs, we strengthen the foundation for families and communities to thrive. Colorado voters have the opportunity to build and maintain a strong foundation of community resources across Colorado by voting with children and families in mind:

Yes on Amendment B: Repeal the Gallagher Amendment
Voting yes on Amendment B is a tangible way to protect state funding as the global pandemic continues to negatively impact state budgets. The measure was referred to voters by a bipartisan majority of the state legislature. The Gallagher Amendment outlines that no more than 45% of statewide property tax collections can come from residential property. As residential property values have risen over recent decades, the residential assessment rate has continued to decrease over the years. This is problematic for schools, counties, and other special districts who rely on property taxes for funding. By repealing the Gallagher Amendment and freezing residential and nonresidential property assessment rates at their current levels, Colorado can protect funding for schools, hospitals, fire protection districts, libraries, and other critical community services, all of which contribute to the five Protective Factors for families. Illuminate Colorado endorses Amendment B. 

Yes on Proposition EE: Tobacco-Vape Tax
Proposition EE, which will expand access to preschool, will increase Protective Factors for Colorado families, particularly including social and emotional competence of children and concrete support. This measure would raise taxes on tobacco and institute a tax on nicotine vaping products in Colorado for the first time. The revenue raised from these taxes will be aimed at improving child and family well-being by investing in programs that improve health and educational outcomes. The funding will support Colorado’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, fund tobacco and nicotine cessation initiatives, and will ultimately create universal access to ten hours per week of voluntary preschool for all children the year prior to kindergarten entry, with the greatest resources invested in those who face the greatest barriers to school success. Illuminate Colorado endorses Proposition EE. 

No on Proposition 116: State Income Tax Reduction
Proposition 116 would reduce Colorado’s state income tax permanently, resulting in as much as $236 million less in the state’s budget next fiscal year alone. The revenue reduction could result in cuts to K-12, higher education, healthcare and more. As families, communities and organizations are struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and associated economic hardships, now is the time to invest in community resources, not diminish them. Illuminate Colorado urges a no vote on Proposition 116. 

Ballot Measures Fast Facts:

  • Lettered measures are referred to the voters from the Colorado State Legislature. 
  • Numbered measures are put on the ballot through a Citizen Initiative signature gathering process.
  • Propositions create new laws. 
  • Amendments change or amend the state’s constitution.

For additional information, review the 2020 Ballot Information Book (Blue Book). 

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