Safe and Stable Housing Supports Family Well-Being

Safe and Stable Housing Supports Family Well-Being

Safe and stable housing is essential for the health and well-being of everyone, especially for children and families. Colorado’s Child Fatality Prevention System 2020 Legislative Report specifically recommends the support of policies that expand access to quality, affordable and stable housing across the state in order to ensure positive health outcomes for children and families. The passing of such policies is greatly needed as families still face significant challenges in accessing and affording quality and stable housing. 

Current research Families with children are more likely to face eviction than households without children. Policies that build and promote concrete supports for stable housing are critical because housing security helps protect children from injury and violence, including child abuse and neglect.

To ensure safe and stable housing for Coloradans, the Colorado state legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 21-173 Rights in Residential Lease Agreements which, if passed, will:

  • Require information about late payment fees to be included in tenant leases,
  • Limit late fees on unpaid rent to a set percentage, dollar amount and grace period,
  • Give renters more time to come up with their rent and avoid eviction, prohibiting tenant evictions solely for owing late fees,
  • Ban lease clauses that provide financial incentives to landlords who evict,
  • Eliminate bond requirements so Colorado renters can offer legitimate defenses and not get priced out of court, and
  • Establish a financial penalty for landlords who illegally lock out tenants. 

Safe, stable, and affordable housing is crucial for family well-being, particularly for families with low-incomes disproportionately affected by housing hardship. This can undermine healthy family functioning and may increase the likelihood that children in those environments will experience neglect or abuse. Housing instability may also have a direct correlation on other forms of physical neglect for children, such as food insecurity and lack of access to medical care. In addition, studies have also shown that there is an association between housing insecurity and other subtypes of child maltreatment, such as physical or emotional abuse. Evidence shows that a lack of adequate shelter and exposure to chaotic or unsafe living environments leads to increased rates of parental stress. Conditions of scarcity and stress have a direct impact on parent behavior and their ability to provide resources to their families. 

SB21-173 is particularly important for addressing inequities that impact renter households of color who are bearing the weight of higher housing cost burdens. Due to a long-standing history of discriminatory housing and lending practices, Black, Indigenous, and people of color face even more barriers to adequate housing, systemically creating more conditions of scarcity and stress for those families. Further, the economic hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges families face in securing affordable and adequate housing and has amplified the need for the measures in this bill. In order to support our children and our families, we must increase fairness in the eviction court process and reasonably limit late fees in order to prevent housing instability, eviction, and homelessness, which will ultimately help advance racial equity and support all Coloradans to have stable housing.

SB21-173 is scheduled for the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee on Thursday, May 13th, at 1:30pm. Thank you to partners at 9 To 5 Colorado, Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, Enterprise Community Partners, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Together Colorado and more for supporting this important bill. Thank you to Representatives Caraveo and Gonzales-Gutierrez and Senators Gonzales and Moreno for your leadership and sponsorship of SB21-173.

Safe Storage Means Safer Kids

Safe Storage Means Safer Kids

Safe and proper storage of firearms can contribute to a safe home environment for all members of a family. The Colorado Child Fatality Prevention System specifically recommended in 2018 to raise awareness and provide education to child welfare providers and community agencies on safe firearm storage to prevent child deaths involving firearms. This is crucial as more than 75% of the guns used in youth suicide attempts and unintentional injuries were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend. Stronger safe storage laws promote a safer environment for all children to thrive, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic given the increased time spent at home paired with increased mental health stressors among youth.

House Bill 21-1106 Safe Storage Of Firearms was signed by Governor Polis on April 19th, 2021. This bill requires that firearms be responsibly and securely stored when they are not in use to prevent access by unsupervised youth and other unauthorized users. The bill further supports and ensures safe storage by requiring that at the time of a firearm sale or transfer, licensed gun dealers must provide a locking device capable of securing the firearm. Thank you to partners at the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Academy of Family Physicians, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Nurses Association, Mental Health Colorado, Violence Free Colorado, and more for supporting this important bill. Thank you to Representatives Duran and Mullica and Senators Bridges and Hansen for your leadership and sponsorship of HB21-1106. 

Visit SmartChoicesSafeKids.org to get more information to guide us all through the choices we have to make at every age and stage of life to keep kids safe.  

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda and use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills this session related to strengthening families.

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Digital Advocacy Opportunity: Contact Congress Tomorrow

Digital Advocacy Opportunity: Contact Congress Tomorrow

Tomorrow, April 21, 2021, is Prevent Child Abuse America’s second annual Digital Advocacy Day, and we need your help! Join advocates across the country at 12:00pm MT TOMORROW to contact your lawmakers and urge them to act now to reauthorize the bipartisan Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and increase funding for this important program. 

Background Information

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) represents a cornerstone of our nation’s system for both preventing and responding to incidents of child abuse and neglect. Created in 1974, CAPTA reflects the entire continuum of supports to children, parents, and families, from primary prevention strategies at the heart of Title II (Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention [CBCAP] grants) to the identification and treatment of abuse and neglect in Title I (state grants). Through CAPTA reauthorization, the current 117th Congress has an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen community-based supports to families to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Last year, CAPTA reauthorization passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously and in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions with bipartisan support. Additionally, a Senate bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter, signed by 28 U.S. Senators, nearly one-third of the Senate, advocated for robust funding increases in CAPTA appropriations.

Unfortunately, CAPTA reauthorization was never considered on the Senate floor, and ultimately Congress never passed it into law. Congress did, however, increase funding for CBCAP, appropriating a $16 million increase for the first time in 15 years and an additional $5 million increase the following year. This still only funds primary prevention at 82 cents per child per year, resulting in a great deal of unmet need.  

Why Is CBCAP Important?

Due to the pandemic, parents and caregivers are confronted with extraordinary challenges, including decreased wages or loss of work, lack of childcare, and housing instability, among other hardships that can compound the day-to-day stress of raising children. CBCAP is designed to help families get the support they need before harm occurs, including voluntary evidence-based home visiting services, community-based parent support programs, early childhood and child care programs, family resource centers, and coordination and connection with mental health, substance use, and domestic violence services, among others. CBCAP provides grants to all 50 states to meet the needs of communities, realized through partnerships that use federal funding to leverage greater state and local public and private dollars.

As Congress works to reauthorize this historically bipartisan legislation, we urge them to include significant funding increases to provide states and communities the resources to drive community-based solutions that strengthen and improve child and family well-being. We recommend that Congress authorize and appropriate $750 million for Title II of CAPTA in fiscal year 2022. An increase in funding will enable greater service delivery to address the needs of vulnerable families and provide much-needed support and systems-building at the state and community levels.

Key Messages
  • We all have an obligation to protect our nation’s children.
  • Due to the pandemic, parents and caregivers are confronted with extraordinary challenges, including decreased wages or loss of work, lack of adequate childcare, and housing instability, among other hardships that can compound the day-to-day stress of raising children.
  • Given the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has inflicted on America’s families, there is an urgent need for services and supports made possible by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
  • Access to these services and supports can be instrumental in lowering parent and caregiver stress and incidences of child abuse by providing  families the support they need before harm occurs.
  • When we fail to prevent abuse and neglect from occurring, it has tremendous consequences for children, families, communities, and our nation. Exposure to violence at a young age can heighten the risk for physical health issues later on in life, such as smoking, alcoholism, and drug abuse and addiction; mental health disorders; and criminal behavior.   
  • But child abuse and neglect are not inevitableResearch shows that the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments that children need to thrive are linked to a lower incidences of child abuse and neglect. 
  • Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grants, an important provision of CAPTA, fund key services that prevent child maltreatment in all 50 states, including voluntary evidence-based home visiting programs, parent support programs, distribution of food and medication, family resource centers, child care, and coordination and connection with mental health, substance use, and domestic violence services, among others.
  • CBCAP represents the main federal investment in primary prevention for the entire country; however, it has been chronically under-funded. In 2020, CBCAP funded prevention at only 82 cents per child per year, resulting in a great deal of unmet need. (See “Graphics” below)
  • As Congress works to reauthorize CAPTA, we urge them to include significant funding increases that provide states and communities the resources they need and drive community-based solutions for strengthening and improving child and family well-being
  • Specifically, we recommend that Congress authorizes and appropriates $750 million for Title II of CAPTA in fiscal year 2022. 
Sample Tweets
  • Thank you, @HouseFloor & @SenateFloor, for including a critical amount of aid to families & communities in the #AmericanRescuePlan #CAPTA #CBCAP #MIECHV @PCAAmerica #GrowingBetterTogether #CAPMonth
  • But our work isn’t over—@HouseFloor & @SenateFloor, we must increase funding to #CAPTA Title II #CBCAP now. Local prevention programs are critical during times of crisis to ensure parents have the tools to manage stress & keep children safe. Let’s focus on #GrowingBetterTogether this #CAPMonth @PCAAmerica
  • Join us in urging Congress to act to approve increased funding for #CAPTA, appropriating $750M for #CBCAP grants, which are vital to providing necessary supports to lower familial stress…contact your representatives today! #GrowingBetterTogether #CAPMonth @PCAAmerica
  • Additional stress from #COVID19 can increase the risk of child abuse, but we can support families with prevention services. Congress must increase funding to #CAPTA #CBCAP now…tell your representatives today! We’re #GrowingBetterTogether during #CAPMonth & all year long! @PCAAmerica
  • Congress must act to invest in our children’s future by increasing #CAPTA funding now. Access to concrete supports can be instrumental in lowering familial stress & incidences of child abuse and neglect…contact your representatives today! We’re #GrowingBetterTogether during #CAPMonth & all year long! @PCAAmerica
  • Local prevention services & programs are critical during times of crisis to ensure parents have the tools to manage stress & keep their children safe. Congress must increase funding for #CAPTA #CBCAP now…contact your representatives today! Let’s focus on #GrowingBetterTogether in #CAPMonth @PCAAmerica
Email/Phone Script

Dear [your member of Congress], 

Given the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has inflicted on America’s families, there is an urgent need for services and supports made possible by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)As Congress works to reauthorize this important bipartisan legislationI urge you to include significant funding increases that provide states and communities the resources they need and drive community-based solutions for strengthening and improving child and family well-beingSpecifically, please ensure that Congress authorizes and appropriates $750 million for Title II of CAPTA in the first year of reauthorization, ramping up to $1.5 billion for Title II over 5 years. 

Investments to Title II, the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention grants (often referred to as CBCAP), will make an immediate and meaningful difference in the lives of children and families across the country. CBCAP funds key services that prevent child maltreatment in all 50 states, including voluntary evidence-based home visiting programs, parent support programs, distribution of food and medication, family resource centers, child care, and coordination and connection with mental health, substance use, and domestic violence services, among others. Expanding this program will be transformational for parents and families and is essential to building healthy and thriving communities throughout the United States.

I fully support this legislation and hope that you will, too.

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

Sincerely, 

[Your name, address, and contact information, if you wish to receive a response] 

Congressional Contact List

Use our Find & Contact Your Representative resource page to reach out today!

Due to the pandemic, parents and caregivers are confronted with extraordinary challenges, including decreased wages or loss of work, lack of adequate childcare, and housing instability, among other hardships that can compound the day-to-day stress of raising children. Given the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has inflicted on America’s families, there is an urgent need for services and supports made possible by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). Access to these services and supports can be instrumental in lowering parent and caregiver stress and incidences of child abuse by providing families the support they need before harm occurs.

Specifically, we’re requesting that Congress authorizes and appropriates $750 million for Title II of CAPTA in fiscal year 2022. This crucial investment in American families will support resources at the state and community levels that mitigate the many challenges and stressors parents and caregivers are facing right now. 

CBCAP represents the main federal investment in primary prevention for the entire country; however, it has been chronically under-funded. In 2020, CBCAP funded prevention at only 82 cents per child per year, resulting in a great deal of unmet need. As Congress works to reauthorize CAPTA, we urge them to include significant funding increases that provide states and communities the resources they need and drive community-based solutions for strengthening and improving child and family well-being.

Find and contact your Representative. Your members of Congress need to hear from you! Please get involved by emailing, tweeting, posting on Facebook, and calling your senators and representatives. (NOTE: Because many representatives and congressional staff are working remotely, email and Twitter/Facebook are better vehicles than phone calls right now, but please call if that’s your preferred means of communication.)

New Bill Aims to Address Racial Inequities in Maternal and Infant Outcomes

New Bill Aims to Address Racial Inequities in Maternal and Infant Outcomes

Simply put, children do well when their parents and caregivers do well, and ensuring pregnant and postpartum people have accessible and responsive maternal health care is crucial for family well-being. State Senator Janet Buckner and Representative Leslie Herod are leading an innovative birth equity bill package in Colorado, complementing the federal Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, designed to address racial inequities and other disparities in maternal and infant outcomes. SB21-194 Maternal Health Providers, one of the bills in the package, includes numerous provisions to enhance Colorado’s infrastructure to support all families  thriving during the perinatal period, including an extension of Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum.

Extending Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum will ensure that even more postpartum Coloradoans have access to healthcare during a formative time. Access to concrete supports-including health care throughout the perinatal period–is research-based protective factor that lowers the risk of child abuse and neglect and a key way to offer families a strong start by ensuring they receive the basic necessities everyone deserves in order to grow.

The American Recovery Plan provides funding for states to opt-in and extend Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum. Medicaid currently covers up to 60 days after birth, although the most recent Colorado Maternal Mortality Prevention Program Legislative Report 2014–2016 indicates the second highest ratio of maternal deaths per day was during the six weeks to one year period. Of the 94 maternal deaths reviewed by the MMRC during 2014–2016, the majority (76.6%) were preventable—meaning we can change the course of peoples’ lives by investing in prevention.

SB21-194 addresses racial inequities and other disparities in infant and maternal care directly. Other sections of this bill and of the birth equity bill package work in tandem with this extension in order to ensure pregnant and postpartum people have pathways for and recourse around the quality of service delivery and coordination they receive—which strengthens our systems so that care is designed both to preserve the dignity of pregnant and parenting people and to promote their and their family’s healthy development, resilience, and ability to advocate for and receive the resources they need. By strengthening our infrastructure for all families to thrive during the perinatal period, especially for families of color, Indigenous families, undocumented families, people who are low-income and people with disabilities, we can keep the well-being of our state’s children and families an urgent and high priority.

The first hearing on SB21-194 is April 14th at 1:30pm in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and comes during Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17), a week of awareness, activism, and community building founded and led by the Black Mama’s Matter Alliance.

To learn more about the birth equity bill package and related advocacy opportunities, visit Elephant Circle’s webpage. Thank you to state leaders at Elephant Circle, COLOR, Raise Colorado, Clayton Early Learning, Children’s Campaign and more for advancing and supporting this bill package.

Engage in National Black Maternal Health Week

  • Check out Black Mamas Matter Alliance’s toolkit, virtual conference, and more.
  • Read the Diverse Colorado Voices: Community-Based Solutions for the Perinatal Period Report. This report, authored by Kayla Frawley, Holley Murphy, Lynn Vanderwielen and more  implores us all to approach birth equity efforts with a collaborative, anti-racist mindset in partnership and allyship with community members most impacted by health disparities.
  • Attend a virtual documentary screening this Friday, April 16th, 12-1pm MT: CPCQC Presents “Community Voices.” Register here. The infant mortality rate in Colorado is one of the lowest in the nation, so why is the death rate for Black babies over twice that of white babies? This short documentary depicts the experiences of the healthcare system by Black women in our community. The Addressing Infant and Maternal Mortality (AIMM) Medical Student Group at the CU School of Medicine will screen the film and facilitate a post-screening discussion about racism in the healthcare system.

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda and use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills this session related to strengthening families.

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Prioritizing Prevention in Colorado’s State Budget

Prioritizing Prevention in Colorado’s State Budget

Good news: Colorado is poised to prioritize prevention in our state budget. Released Monday, the budget package outlines how the Joint Budget Committee is proposing state resources be allocated for fiscal year 2021-2022, which begins July 1. The budget package was crafted over the last five months and includes the annual general appropriations bill (otherwise known as the “long bill”) and other JBC-sponsored bills related to the budget that are introduced with the long bill.

What we’re excited about in the budget proposal:

When families have information and access to resources to meet basic needs, we strengthen the foundation for families and communities to thrive. By prioritizing prevention–through key focus areas include home visiting, child care, family planning, family resource centers, and adult education–the state budget brings more resources within reach for Colorado families. 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.  

Continued funding for Family Resource Centers through the Family Support Services line item, including a 2.5% increase for community provider rates.

Family Resource Centers play a critical role in Colorado communities, and through continued funding we can ensure they’re able to continue offering critical family services that build protective factors and prevent child maltreatment.

The restoration of the Child Care Services and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Pilot Program line item, which was cut last year.

Restoring this line item means we can ensure more families have real options when it comes to taking care of their behavioral health by making sure that lack of child care isn’t the reason that a pregnant or parenting person can’t access treatment.

The restoration of the High Risk Pregnant Women Program line item (which funds the Special Connections program) in the CDHS budget.

Restoring this line item ensures that specialized treatment providers can continue to serve pregnant and parenting people and offer them options for tailored, family-focused support outside of the child welfare system.

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What’s we’re still working on:

Ensuring Colorado makes practical existing investments in child maltreatment prevention using the billions of dollars the state will be receiving from the 2021 American Rescue Plan.

 

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Make Your Voice Heard

To guide how Colorado invests the stimulus money, our state leaders need to hear from us. Submit written feedback HERE if you care about preventing child maltreatment. 

Investing in prevention at the state level is among the many policy priorities on the Illuminating 2021 Policy Agenda which highlights policies that build one or more protective factors. As state legislators continue to work on the state budget, Illuminate is encouraging policymakers to continue prioritizing primary prevention strategies to ensure families have the foundations they need to thrive. 

 

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda.

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

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

Investing in Children and Families this April

Investing in Children and Families this April

Policymakers have the opportunity to ensure our state continues to invest in our communities to strengthen families through our state budget and through federal stimulus funding next month.

Responding to immediate needs of families is crucial during this pandemic, and funding prevention work is important now more than ever. A CDC study estimated that the number of confirmed child maltreatment cases occurring in a one year period results in $124 billion in lifetime costs (such as child welfare, health care, criminal justice, and special education costs, as well as lost economic productivity). The prevention of child maltreatment has the potential to save the state billions of dollars in lifetime associated costs. 

The state legislature’s Joint Budget Committee (JBC) recently finalized the state’s FY21-22 budget for introduction and approval by the state Senate and House. The budget is scheduled to start the legislative process on April 5th in the Senate. It is expected to move to the House on April 12th. Following the conclusion of the traditional budget process, the JBC is expected to begin work on allocating the state’s portion of federal stimulus dollars from the American Rescue Plan. 

The State of Colorado and our local governments including cities and counties are expected to receive billions of dollars from the 2021 American Rescue Plan. This provides our state with a unique opportunity to invest in the areas that have been hit the hardest by the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and to build back stronger by making economic investments that will benefit Colorado for generations to come. In an effort to better understand the needs and current economic challenges facing our state, Governor Polis, state legislators from both sides of the aisle and the Treasurer’s Office are asking for broader feedback.

Because of the impacts of COVID-19 on our communities and families, Colorado needs to prioritize practical existing investments in child maltreatment prevention in order to remain one of the healthiest economies in the country.

Prevention investments include:

  • Critical family services that builds protective factors and prevents child maltreatment such as: 
    • Family resource centers
    • Home visiting programs 
    • Child care 
    • Housing stability and rental support
    • Food access resources
    • Positive youth programming
    • Integrated physical and behavioral health care services for all family members including family planning, prenatal and postpartum care, and pediatric care 
  • Tailored substance use disorder treatment and children’s services for families impacted by substance use
  • Community and professional education around healthy child development
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Make Your Voice Heard

To guide how Colorado invests the stimulus money, our state leaders need to hear from us.

RSVP to a listening session below, or submit written feedback here

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Regional Listening Sessions

  • Denver Metro North: Thursday April 1st, 6pm RSVP
  • Four Corners: Saturday April 3rd, 9:30am RSVP
  • Denver Metro South: Saturday April 3rd, 4pm RSVP 
  • Colorado Springs: Monday April 5th, 6pm RSVP
  • Eastern Plains: Wednesday April 7th, 6pm RSVP

Special Sector Listening Sessions

African American Community: Wednesday March 31st, 6pm-7pm RSVP

Environment, Clean Energy & Conservation: Friday April 2nd, 3pm RSVP

Quality of Life: Monday April 5th, 11am-12pm RSVP

 

Local Governments:  Monday April 5th, 1pm RSVP 

Workforce: Tuesday April 6th, 1:30pm-2:30pm RSVP

Latino Community: Tuesday April 6th, 6pm RSVP

Rural & Agriculture: Wednesday April 7th, 1pm RSVP 

Healthcare, Human Services & Behavioral Health: Thursday April 8, 1pm RSVP 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Community: Thursday April 8th, 6pm RSVP 

Chambers of Commerce & Economic Development Councils: Friday April 9th, 1pm RSVP 

There are no upcoming events at this time.

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