Illuminating Policy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

Illuminating Policy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

Policy plays a key role in the prevention of child sexual abuse by ensuring adequate funding and modernization of state statutes to protect kids, as well as promoting healing and preventing future harm when abuse has occurred. In addition to educating and empowering adults, Illuminate Colorado is working to ensure that every child grows up healthy and free from sexual abuse by collaborating through the Colorado Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition and advocating during the 2021 Colorado legislative session on several bipartisan bills progressing at the state capitol related to child sexual abuse prevention. 

Just last week, Illuminate joined the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault and many survivors in testifying in support of SB21-73 before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. Thankfully, the bill passed committee, as well as third reading on the Senate floor, unanimously.

SB21-73 Civil Action Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault eliminates the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault allows child and adult survivors time to heal so that they may access the civil legal system and monetary resources necessary to rebuild their lives after surviving sexual abuse. 

National experts estimate that approximately 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. (1)  Over the last five years, the number of children in Colorado experiencing sexual abuse has steadily risen with seven percent of the 286,534 allegations of child maltreatment involving concerns of sexual abuse. With support from professionals in the child welfare and child advocacy centers and law enforcement, as well as other trusted adults in a child’s life, 27 percent of these concerns of child sexual abuse were confirmed. (2) However, almost 73 percent of child victims don’t disclose to anyone for at least a year, 45 percent don’t tell anyone for almost five years and, sadly, many never disclose at all. (3)

The resources included with this bill were needed before the COVID-19 pandemic to support survivors of child sexual abuse thriving in adulthood given that adult survivors of child sexual abuse are nearly three times as likely to report substance misuse, and are also more likely to be impacted by mental health issues. (4) They are especially needed now given the social isolation and increased stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic that everyone has experienced.

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda with key highlighting specific protective factors each policy builds in Colorado.

Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of SB21-73 and other bills this session related to child sexual abuse prevention including:

SB21-017 Sexual Contact By An Educator which specifically addresses the abuse of public trust by an educator, and enforces that sexual relationships between a student and a teacher or coach are inappropriate, even once a student turns eighteen years old.

HB21-1069 Enforcement Of Sexual Exploitation Of A Child modernizing criminal statute regarding child sexual exploitation to reflect access and viewing due to evolving technology, including accounting for livestreaming platforms.

Register today for the 10th annual Speak Up for Kids Day (not) at the Capitol!

Illuminate encourages everyone to participate in Colorado’s Annual Speak up for Kids Day on Thursday, March 18, 2021 from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.

It is essential for elected officials and policy makers to understand how to prevent child maltreatment and listen to parents in every community.

This year’s event will be hosted virtually, yet still filled with tips and training on advocacy and lobbying skills, strategizing and role-playing for talking to lawmakers, opportunities to hear about key issues for kids and families, and more. Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Children’s Campaign and Clayton Early Learning are hosting the event.

Register at www.bit.ly/2021speakup and email advocacy@childrenscolorado.org with any questions.

"

Subscribe

Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda by subscribing to Illuminate’s blog.

Citations

1) Townsend, C. & Rheingold, A.A. (2013). Estimating a child sexual abuse prevalence rate for practitioners: A review of child sexual abuse prevalence studies. Charleston, S.C., Darkness to Light. Retrieved from www.D2L.org.

2) Colorado Department of Human Services, Types of Allegations of Maltreatment Report Time Period: January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2019. (2020). Retrieved from CDHSDataMatters.org https://rom.socwel.ku.edu/CO_Public/Login.aspx?H=7061.

3) Joshua J. Broman-Fulks, Kenneth J. Ruggiero, Rochelle F. Hanson, Daniel W. Smith, Heidi S. Resnick, Dean G. Kilpatrick & Benjamin E. Saunders (2007) Sexual Assault Disclosure in Relation to Adolescent Mental Health: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 36:2, 260-266, DOI: 10.1080/15374410701279701

4) CASA Columbia, “Family Matters”, 2005 Knight, Menard, & Simmons, 2014.

State of the State Includes Tax Credits Known to Reduce Child Maltreatment

State of the State Includes Tax Credits Known to Reduce Child Maltreatment

During the annual State of the State address last week, Gov. Jared Polis put forward a significant investment in hardworking Coloradans by proposing to “double the Earned Income Tax Credit, and provide up to $600 in tax credits per child for nearly 200,000 families in our state through the Colorado Child Tax Credit”. Creating communities where families are able to meet their basic needs like food, shelter, medical care and child care by strengthening household financial security is proven to reduce the risk factors for child abuse and neglect. 

In fact, according to a study released just last month by researchers from the University of Washington, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) results in a significant drop in reported child maltreatment. Researchers found “a 10% increase in the benefit for low- to moderate-income working families, led to a 9% drop in the annual number of child neglect reports referred to child welfare agencies over a 14-year study period” as reported in The Imprint.

EITC and funding the Child Tax Credit (CTC) are among the many policy priorities on the Illuminating 2021 Policy Agenda which highlights policies that build one or more protective factors in Colorado. As the legislative session progresses, Illuminate is encouraging organizations, communities and policymakers to consider primary prevention strategies to ensure families have the foundations they need to thrive. These strategies build protective factors in all families to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs–including addressing systemic barriers to building protective factors across the population.  

Thankfully, there are also signs that Colorado policymakers are elevating and prioritizing the needs of children and families this legislative session as the pandemic continues to impact the daily lives of Coloradans. Over 200 bills were introduced on the first day that the legislature reconvened, with at least 25 bills related to child and family well-being. 

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda with key highlighting specific protective factors each policy builds in Colorado.

Illuminate created the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on bills related to strengthening families and preventing child maltreatment. 

We look forward to continuing to support evidence-based policies and cost-saving investments, such as expanding the EITC and funding the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in 2021.

Register today for the 10th annual Speak Up for Kids Day (not) at the Capitol!

Illuminate encourages everyone to participate in Colorado’s Annual Speak up for Kids Day on Thursday, March 18, 2021 from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.

It is essential for elected officials and policy makers to understand how to prevent child maltreatment and listen to parents in every community.

This year’s event will be hosted virtually, yet still filled with tips and training on advocacy and lobbying skills, strategizing and role-playing for talking to lawmakers, opportunities to hear about key issues for kids and families, and more. Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Children’s Campaign and Clayton Early Learning are hosting the event.

Register at www.bit.ly/2021speakup and email advocacy@childrenscolorado.org with any questions.

"

Subscribe

Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda by subscribing to Illuminate’s blog.

Illuminate Colorado’s 2021 Policy Agenda

Illuminate Colorado’s 2021 Policy Agenda

The Colorado General Assembly is reconvening on Tuesday, February 16th after a month-long pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocacy work in a virtual environment will continue to require flexibility and adaptation, and Illuminate remains committed to ensuring our state’s policies build brighter childhoods.

Using a racial equity lens, the 2021 Illuminate Colorado Policy Agenda was crafted with a focus across all three levels of prevention to build research-based protective factors in families and to ensure appropriate system and community responses. 

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda with key highlighting specific protective factors each policy builds in Colorado.

Read the high-level summary below:

Primary Prevention

These strategies build protective factors in all families to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs–including addressing systemic barriers to building protective factors across the population.

  • Prioritize primary prevention in federal and state budgets; key focus areas include home visiting, family planning, family resource centers and adult education about child sexual abuse prevention.
  • Strengthen economic supports to families; including access to quality, affordable and stable housing and child care across Colorado.
  • Implement family friendly work policieskey focus areas include ensuring livable wages as well as the implementation of the statewide paid family and medical leave program.

Secondary Prevention

These strategies build protective factors in families in high stress situations to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs–including addressing systemic barriers to strengthening families in high stress situations.

  • Ensure and expand support for families impacted by substance use; such as equitable screening and connection to behavior health resources in prenatal and postpartum care.
  • Ensure and expand support for families impacted by intimate partner violence; particularly supporting education and resources for professionals to identify and support children and families impacted by intimate partner violence.

Tertiary Prevention

These strategies build protective factors in families to prevent recurrence of child maltreatment–including addressing systemic barriers to healing & recovery

  • Ensure communities identify and support children and families when abuse and neglect has occurred; focusing on creating equitable access to services to support healing and recovery.
"

Subscribe

Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda by subscribing to Illuminate’s blog.

Register today for the 10th annual Speak Up for Kids Day (not) at the Capitol!

Illuminate encourages everyone to participate in Colorado’s Annual Speak up for Kids Day on Thursday, March 18, 2021 from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.

It is essential for elected officials and policy makers to understand how to prevent child maltreatment and listen to parents in every community.

This year’s event will be hosted virtually, yet still filled with tips and training on advocacy and lobbying skills, strategizing and role-playing for talking to lawmakers, opportunities to hear about key issues for kids and families, and more. Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Children’s Campaign and Clayton Early Learning are hosting the event.

Register at www.bit.ly/2021speakup and email advocacy@childrenscolorado.org with any questions.

Relief for Coloradans this Special Legislative Session

Relief for Coloradans this Special Legislative Session

When families, organizations, communities and policy makers focus on building protective factors, we can effectively prevent child maltreatment and keep families strong during the pandemic and beyond. Last week, state legislators were called together by Governor Jared Polis for a special legislative session in order to pass relief desperately needed by Colorado families due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of three days, lawmakers passed 10 bills that will provide more than $300 million in immediate relief for Coloradans in the midst of the current absence of federal stimulus. 

Families and children in need across the state will especially benefit from the bills that passed supporting concrete supports in times of need, a protective factor, including support for the child care sector, housing/rental assistance, expanded internet access for remote learning, food pantry assistance and utility assistance. 

Thank you to the Governor, legislators, staffers, advocates and community partners for their work to make the special session so successful. 

Illuminating Policy During the 2020 Special Session 

Child Care Sector Support

HB20B-1002, endorsed by Illuminate Colorado, will allocate over $45 million to existing child care providers through two grant programs. Currently there are child care facilities on the brink of financial collapse due to the pandemic, and this bill could potentially keep an estimated 2,600 child care facilities open and could preserve child care for more than 100,000 children in Colorado. Access to child care is critical for all parents and caregivers in order for children, families and communities to thrive.

Governor Polis Signing HB20B-1002 on December 7th, 2020

Housing and Rental Assistance

A safe and stable home had been unattainable for many Coloradans prior to the pandemic, and this need has now only been amplified. About 40% of Colorado adults recently surveyed said they live in a household that is behind on the rent or mortgage payment and at risk of eventual eviction or foreclosure. SB20B-002 will provide a total of $60 million in support for emergency housing assistance, emergency direct assistance (administered through non profits), eviction legal defense and unemployment extensions. 

Expanding Internet Access for Remote Learning 

As schools have transitioned to remote learning, the need for reliable internet access at home has become imperative for all Coloradans. HB20B-1001 will create the Connecting Colorado Students Grant program, offering $20 million in grants to local education providers to enhance broadband access for students and staff. 

Food Pantry Assistance 

Prior to the pandemic, food insecurity was a huge problem facing Colorado. Hunger is increasing in the midst of the pandemic with 45% of Colorado households with children reporting food insecurity. To enhance food assistance, HB20B-1003 will provide $5 million in additional grants to state food assistance programs from December through February.

Utility Assistance 

As unemployment remains high, Coloradans are struggling to pay bills including their utilities.  SB20B-003 appropriates $5 million to the Energy Outreach Colorado Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund. These funds will help address the 25% increase in applications that the fund has seen this year. 

The state legislature is set to reconvene on January 13th, 2021. Details around the timing and processes of the session remain up in the air given COVID-19. Subscribe to the Illuminate blog to receive updates on Illuminate advocacy efforts and more information to empower you to advocate for policies that prevent child maltreatment. 

Historic Wins for Colorado Families this Election Season

Historic Wins for Colorado Families this Election Season

123768131_2867793186769310_9199956540568793470_o.jpg

Colorado voters have proved how they have the power to affect the lives of children and families in their community and influence the statewide prevention of child maltreatment. Coloradans voted in record numbers this year, with the turnout among active registered voters currently standing at 86.8%. According to the Secretary of State, over 3.3 million ballots had been received into the statewide voter registration system as of 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, with more ballots to be processed in the days ahead. Illuminate Colorado is proud of the passage of Proposition 118, Proposition EE, and Amendment B, and continued commitment and advocacy will be needed to ensure financial security of all Colorado families through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. 

Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave

Colorado voters are the first in the nation to approve a comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance policy for hardworking families at the ballot box! Offering paid time to parents and caregivers to care for not only their infants, but also themselves, increases Parental Resilience, Concrete Support, 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. Colorado’s voters spoke loud and clear about the need for policies that support families and help economies thrive. Illuminate Colorado looks forward to seeing the positive direct and associated impacts of this program on our state for years to come. 

Proposition EE: Taxes on Nicotine Products

Proposition EE passed with wide margins, making Colorado one of only five states to offer universal preschool. 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. The policy will increase Protective Factors for Colorado families, particularly including Social and Emotional Competence of children and Concrete Support, ensuring a healthier, brighter future for Colorado.

Amendment B: Repeal the Gallagher Amendment

Colorado voters said ‘yes’ on Amendment B, getting rid of a restrictive ratio squeezing our essential services. By repealing the Gallagher Amendment and freezing residential and nonresidential property assessment rates at their current levels, Colorado is protecting funding for schools, hospitals, fire protection districts, libraries, and other critical community services, all of which contribute to the five Protective Factors for families.

The work continues…

Proposition 116: State Income Tax Rate Reduction

Illuminate Colorado opposed Proposition 116, and it passed. Permanently decreasing the state income tax from 4.63% to 4.55% 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. The outcome of this ballot measure will surely be a setback for a fair and equitable tax code. Stay tuned to Fair Tax Colorado to engage in what advocacy efforts may lie ahead. 


Thank you all for your engagement this election season. The State’s Joint Budget Committee will begin meeting next week to hear all executive and judicial department budget requests and the quarterly revenue forecast including analysis on the ultimate budget impacts of all passed ballot initiatives. We encourage lawmakers to maintain prevention as a priority and keep the needs of families and children top of mind through the upcoming budgeting season. 

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.

5.png

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.

4.png

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

3.png

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

Vote..png

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!

Pin It on Pinterest