Supporting Better Beginnings Through HB22-1295

Supporting Better Beginnings Through HB22-1295

Colorado prospers when our youngest children thrive because they are our future workers, leaders and community members. No matter where they live–the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers–children need high-quality experiences and loving relationships to support healthy development. That’s why Illuminate Colorado supports House Bill 22-1295 Department Early Childhood And Universal Preschool Program, which unifies Colorado’s early childhood system to provide the best experience for both families and providers.

Illuminate Colorado is proud to join early childhood advocates from across the state as part of the Coalition for Better Beginnings Colorado. Guided by a deep commitment to families and providers, the Coalition for Better Beginnings Colorado aims to ensure the new Department of Early Childhood provides the easiest, most accessible system to set all children and families up for a lifetime of opportunity. Together, our diverse array of voices provide knowledge and perspective on the best practices for creating high-quality, accessible early childhood programs for all.

How would the bill strengthen Coloradans?

HB22-1295 will address the many challenges Colorado families, early childhood educators, caregivers and providers are currently facing. Specifically, House Bill 22-1295 ensures families and providers have access to:

    • One high-quality early childhood system–including critical family strengthening programs and services like home visiting and family resource centers.
    • One simple enrollment application–reducing the burden on families and providers.
    • One universal preschool program–offering preschool to all families with kids the year before kindergarten, with extended hours for those who will benefit the most.

Illuminate has engaged in the Transition Advisory Group, participated in the process to establish the Department of Early Childhood and informed the development of this unified system. In particular, we are very supportive of the integration of critical family strengthening programs that prioritize the holistic well-being of children and families. Learn more about the bill by visiting the coalition website

Together, our diverse array of voices provide knowledge and perspective on the best practices for creating high-quality, accessible early childhood programs for all.

Jade Woodard

Executive Director, Illuminate Colorado

How can I get involved?

HB22-1295 made it all the way through the House and passed the Senate Education Committee last week. The bill will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday morning. As this bill makes its way through the legislature, your voice is critical in shaping its success.  By sharing your experiences with your legislators, you can help to pass this bill that will meet the needs of kids and families. Act now to pass HB22-1295 to ensure the new Department of Early Childhood creates better beginnings for all children and families.

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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Necessary and Adequate Medical Care for Your Child is Not Child Abuse

Necessary and Adequate Medical Care for Your Child is Not Child Abuse

Organizational Statement Opposing the Actions of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Providing necessary and adequate medical care to your child is not child abuse, and transgender and non-binary children need access to age-appropriate, individualized medical care just like every other child. 

Recently Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion classifying medically necessary gender-affirming care to youth as child abuse. AG Paxton’s statement stands in direct opposition to the evidence-based care recognized by numerous professional societies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Endocrine Society, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Illuminate Colorado can not stand idly by without speaking out against such an action simply because our programs and initiatives are focused on creating a Colorado where all children and families thrive. The children and families of Texas deserve our love and support as well as those in our own communities.

Our organization is proud to join our national partner Prevent Child Abuse America and numerous medical providers and child welfare advocates throughout our nation in opposing this legislation and laws that would deny healthcare access to any child, regardless of their gender identity. Such laws threaten the safety and security of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens — children and youth.

Necessary and Adequate Medical Care for Your Child is Not Child Abuse

Additionally, transgender youth are subject to violence based on their gender identity, and suffer substance misuse, homelessness, suicidality, child welfare involvement and other negative outcomes at distressingly higher rates. Medical and mental health care can reduce serious risks to their health and well-being and lead to healthy, resilient children, youth, and families.

Please take action to strengthen the foundations of love, safety and support that enable all of our nation’s children to thrive. 

Contact Your State Legislators

Let them know you do not want similar legislation that prevents access to medically necessary care for any children and youth, including those whose gender identity is transgender or non-binary here in Colorado.  To find your state legislators, click here.

Share this Statement on Social Networks

Let others know you too recognize that providing necessary and adequate medical care to your child is not child abuse, and transgender and non-binary children need access to age-appropriate, individualized medical care just like every other child.

Make a Similar Statement From Your Organization

This is one way we can protect the children of Colorado and create an environment where they are valued, healthy and thriving. 

Thank you for building brighter childhoods, together.

Jade Woodard

Jade Woodard

Executive Director

Jade has served as the Executive Director of Illuminate Colorado since its inception in 2015, following 7 years as the Executive Director of founding partner agency, the Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. 

Pivoting During a Pandemic

Pivoting During a Pandemic

The year 2020 brought with it unprecedented challenges and opportunities to fulfill our mission to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment. Monitoring local and national health reports and directives regarding the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting school closures, reduced child care services and isolation placing children and families at greater risk of experiencing toxic stress and child maltreatment, and taking into consideration the often intense stress our employees and community partners were under at work and at home, Illuminate Colorado made many adjustments throughout the year in order to continue supporting the communities with which we partner. At the same time, we engaged in conversations on systemic racism, discrimination and inequities. We listened to and elevated families and communities with lived experiences.

2020 Annual Report

We learned, adapted and continue these tough conversations today because pervasive and systemic racism, both overt and passive, causes stress and trauma that can physically change a child’s brain and inhibit children from reaching their full potential. We know it is critical to address stress, trauma and the root causes of racism and white supremacy in order to create the conditions for children and families to thrive.

In the midst of it all, I am so proud of our staff and the support that we received from the community and the Paycheck Protection Program, which enabled us to avoid downsizing our staff or lessening our impact during the pandemic. As a small business employer, we’ve continued to find new ways to build our employees’ resilience and continue on a path toward a Colorado where all children and families thrive by:

  • launching a new innovative program, Illuminating Child Care, increasing access to child care for families addressing challenges;
  • bringing a new research-informed training to Colorado, Youth ThriveTM, focused on building protective and promotive factors with youth; and
  • facilitating a new collaborative space, the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families, seeking to create the conditions for all children and families to thrive.

These are just some of the ways our organization was able to pivot during a global pandemic, highlighted in this annual report. Along the way, we learned from our experiences together, taking with us what works into the post-pandemic reality that awaits us all.

2020 Annual Report Timeline

Shaping Colorado’s Early Childhood Landscape

Shaping Colorado’s Early Childhood Landscape

Colorado is at a turning point. Due to the passage of House Bill 1304 Early Childhood System, the state is embarking on a journey to redesign how the state structures early childhood programming by creating a new state Department of Early Childhood, effective July 1, 2022. Over the course of the next year, the Early Childhood Leadership Commission will be developing and approving a transition plan–with input from families and professionals across the state. There is no bigger opportunity for Coloradans to inform systems alignment for family well-being for families with young children–which is why I’m humbled and honored to be named to the Early Childhood Transition Advisory Group. 

 

As a member of the Early Childhood Transition Advisory Group, I’ll be bringing both Illuminate Colorado’s research-informed family strengthening perspective to the process as well as my experience as a mom of three. Our systems will work better for Colorado families when they are built by Colorado families. 

Healthy brain development is a building process that begins before we are born. The interaction of genes and experiences shapes the developing brain and relationships are the active ingredient in this serve and return process. Cognitive, emotional and social capacities are intertwined, and learning, behavior and physical and mental health are interrelated over the course of our lives. Supporting positive experiences and loving relationships create a strong foundation that helps ensure that a child builds the skills necessary for a lifetime of well-being. 

With a holistic, strengths-based perspective, we can strengthen families by building on what’s working while transforming what isn’t. As I engage in the process, the following will be top of mind:

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What the research has shown about the five Protective Factors that have the power to prevent and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. 

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The ideas and perspectives voiced through the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families.

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Bold, broad, and universal approaches to supporting family formation and expansion–including home visiting and programs that facilitate social connections for new parents.

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Our unique opportunities for proactive community-based support for families impacted by substance use.

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Considerations for expanding accessibility and affordability of child care and early childhood education for all families with young children.

Join me in shaping Colorado’s early childhood landscape.

ADD YOUR VOICE to the process by participating in one of the many Early Childhood Transition Planning’s engagement opportunities.

SIGN UP for regular updates on the Department of Early Childhood Transition Planning and Universal Preschool Recommendations process.

The 2020 Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference is Going Virtual

The 2020 Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference is Going Virtual

Given public health guidance on large gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Illuminate Colorado, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, is excited to announce that the 2020 Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference will be held virtually September 28-30, 2020.  There will be more information to come on the new format soon! 

This conference is an important opportunity to highlight ways to build protective factors that prevent child maltreatment and bring together learners from diverse backgrounds and professions from across Colorado, including professionals with varied levels of content knowledge. 

The Conference Planning Committee is currently seeking submissions to address the following areas: Innovation Space, Working Together to Maximize Resources, Getting to Anti-Racist Practice, Supporting Workforce Care, and Best Practices. Submissions will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. 

For more information, and to submit a proposal in one of these areas, please complete this form

Please continue to save these dates and subscribe to be the first to learn when registration opens in the next couple of weeks!

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