The Final Countdown: Make Your Voice Heard for Families During the Last Few Days of Colorado’s Legislative Session

The Final Countdown: Make Your Voice Heard for Families During the Last Few Days of Colorado’s Legislative Session

Colorado’s 2022 legislative session ends this Wednesday, May 11th, and your voice is needed now more than ever to get bills that will support our state’s kids and families over the finish line! We’ve put together a list of bills that are still moving and ways you can advocate for them in the last few days of this session. Bills move quickly at this point during the legislative session, so it’s important that you take action NOW before the advocacy opportunities below expire!

HB22-1259 Modifications To Colorado Works Program

This bill makes critical improvements to the Colorado Works program (our state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program). The TANF statute has not been meaningfully updated in roughly 15 years. At only $508 per month for a family of three, the program’s basic cash assistance (BCA) payments have not kept up with inflation or the high cost of living in Colorado and are worth far less today than they were in 1996 when the program began. This bill will increase BCA, ensure that it keeps up with the cost of living, and improve the ways TANF serves its participants so that all kids and families in Colorado can achieve economic prosperity. Learn why Illuminate supports this bill.

Take Action!

Contact your Colorado senator to urge them to support Colorado families’ economic security by voting ‘yes’ on HB22-1259.

Let’s Make Colorado Works Truly Work for Colorado Families

by Cassie Davis | Mar 3, 2022 | Advocacy

When we work together to build Protective Factors, it is possible to create a Colorado where all children and families thrive. House Bill 22-1259, a bill that would enhance our state’s efforts to invest in the well-being of Colorado families by making critical adjustments to Colorado Works . . . . 

HB22-1289 Health Benefits For Colorado Children And Pregnant Persons

This bill will increase access to health coverage for low-income children and pregnant people regardless of immigration status and make many other critical investments in perinatal services across the state. This bill will be a step forward in protecting the basic right of health care for all Coloradans and supporting all of our families during and after pregnancy. Learn why Illuminate supports this bill.

Take Action!

Contact your legislator to urge them to support the bill.

It’s Time for Us To Cover All Coloradans

by Cassie Davis | Mar 22, 2022 | Advocacy

Illuminate Colorado is proud to join a wide array of healthcare providers, community organizations and citizens across Colorado in advocating for HB22-1289 Health Benefits For Colorado Children And Pregnant Persons . . . . 

Healthy Meals for All Public School Students

Thanks to federal waivers, schools have been able to provide meals to all students and receive additional assistance to deal with supply chain challenges, staffing constraints and rising food costs during COVID-19. But those waivers will expire June 30th. There are two ways to make sure all students can continue to access meals at school. Learn why Illuminate supports these policies.

 

Take Action!

Please reach out to your legislators, share why school meals are crucial to your community, and ask them to:

Increasing Food Access in Schools Is on This Week’s Menu at the Colorado Legislature

by Cassie Davis | Mar 1, 2022 | Advocacy

Ensuring all Colorado students have access to school food at no cost increases the economic security of families, as well as students’ capacity to meaningfully engage in both the academic and social aspects of school.

HB22-1240 Mandatory Reporters

This bill would establish a Mandatory Reporter Task Force charged with analyzing best practices and recommending changes to training requirements and reporting procedures and analyzing the effectiveness of mandatory reporting and its relationship with systemic issues, including the disproportionate impact of mandatory reporting on under-resourced communities, communities of color, and persons with disabilities. Learn why Illuminate supports this bill.

Take Action!

Contact your senator to ask them to vote ‘yes’ on HB22-1240. 

Shifting Colorado Toward a Culture of Mandatory Supporting

by Illuminate Colorado | May 3, 2022 | Advocacy

With HB22-1240 Mandatory Reporters making its way through the Colorado legislature, an opportunity to transform how we approach ensuring child and family safety and well-being, including reducing disparities, is on the horizon for our state. . . .

We hope you will make your voice heard for Colorado’s kids and families during the remaining days of this legislative session! As always, you can keep track of the progress of these bills and others that impact families using Illuminate’s bill tracker.

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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Shifting Colorado Toward a Culture of Mandatory Supporting

Shifting Colorado Toward a Culture of Mandatory Supporting

With HB22-1240 Mandatory Reporters making its way through the Colorado legislature, an opportunity to transform how we approach ensuring child and family safety and well-being, including reducing disparities, is on the horizon for our state. 

The bill highlights the importance of ensuring that individuals who are required to report child abuse or neglect have access to the resources necessary for doing so, including information regarding obligations and protections pursuant to the law, standardized training and materials, and specialized training to address and decrease the disproportionate impact on under-resourced communities.

Due to historic and ongoing systems of racism, oppression, and explicit/implicit bias, under-resourced communities, communities of color, and persons with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by the mandatory reporting system. 

With the goal of creating a more equitable mandatory reporting system, the most recent version of HB22-1240 would establish a Task Force charged with:

    • Analyzing best practices and recommending changes to training requirements and reporting procedures.
    • Analyzing the effectiveness of mandatory reporting and its relationship with systemic issues, including the disproportionate impact of mandatory reporting on under-resourced communities, communities of color, and persons with disabilities.

Based on its findings, the Task Force may propose clarifications to the law and identify recommended changes to mandatory reporter training requirements and procedures for reporting child abuse or neglect. 

Illuminate Colorado is excited about the potential that the efforts and recommendations of the Task Force have to shift the approach to addressing concerns for a child/family’s safety and well-being to be one that is more supportive.

As Katie Facchinello, Illuminate Colorado’s director of communications, shared during her testimony on the bill, “our organization hopes that we are moving forward in Colorado to embrace the idea that while we may not all be mandatory reporters, we should ALL be mandatory supporters. The improvements in this bill are greatly needed, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also encourage everyone to embrace the opportunities before us everyday to strengthen families, offer counsel and connection to a parent or caregiver beyond reporting our concerns. Making a call to report is no doubt a critical part of a functioning child welfare system, but is not all that is needed to create a 21st century system in Colorado where all children and families thrivea Colorado where there are far fewer concerns about the well-being of a child to report.

While we may not all be mandatory reporters, we should ALL be mandatory supporters.

Katie Facchinello

Director of Communications, Illuminate Colorado

Illuminate is grateful to the Child Protection Ombudsman of Colorado for their leadership on the stakeholding process and development of a bill that we hope will be a step in the right direction toward ensuring that families have what they need and disparities within the mandatory reporting system are reduced. 

“Colorado’s mandatory reporting system is outdated, unresponsive to the times and it is not working as effectively as it should to protect our children from abuse and neglect. House Bill 22-1240 is a critical first step to addressing and assessing this system. If passed, this bill would require a diverse set of professionals and members of the community to examine the deep and complex issues that have plagued mandatory reporting for decades. These discussions will position Colorado to better support families, address disparities in how the system impacts communities of color, those with disability and our rural communities, and ultimately, determine how best to serve children when there is suspected abuse and neglect.”    

Stephanie Villafuerte

Colorado's Child Protection Ombudsman

Illuminate is particularly encouraged by the amendments that were made to the bill to prioritize prevention and improve efforts to ensure that recommendations are informed by those with lived experience by increasing the number of family voice seats required to be on the task force and adding a seat for a prevention expert.

At Illuminate, we firmly believe that families are the experts on their own experiences and are the ones who hold the best solutions to the challenges that they and their communities face. Furthermore, we believe that meaningfully involving those with lived experience on the topic at hand is the only way to create real and effective systems change.

We could not be more appreciative of our partners at Elephant Circle for leading advocacy efforts regarding the importance of increasing the involvement of those with lived experience. 

“Mandatory reporting is important to many people and professionals, but most of all to families. That is why we wanted to make sure the new Mandatory Reporter Task Force includes people who have experienced reports as parents or kids. As we saw in testimony for this bill, there are a lot of people impacted by these laws and a lot of strong opinions. We wanted to make sure that members of the general public can attend Task Force meetings.”

Indra Lusero

Director, Elephant Circle

As an organization, we are constantly working to learn and grow around engaging and following the leadership of families with lived experience related to the topics of systems-change initiatives that we help to convene.  Visit the blog posts below to read more, learn alongside us, and hear directly from families about their experiences with and perspectives on engaging in systems-change efforts:

HB22-1240 Mandatory Reporters passed the House last week and is being heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee today at 2 p.m. Contact members of the committee before the hearing to ask for their support in transforming how Colorado approaches ensuring child and family safety and well-being.

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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This Digital Advocacy Day, Speak Up to Prevent Child Abuse

This Digital Advocacy Day, Speak Up to Prevent Child Abuse

Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) America’s Digital Advocacy Day is today, April 27th! YOU can participate by reaching out to your members of Congress and using your voice to urge them to support children and families across Colorado and nationwide.

How can I get involved?

This Digital Advocacy Day, please join Illuminate Colorado, and our partners across the country, in contacting lawmakers to urge them to act now to reauthorize and increase funding for the bipartisan Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

As the Colorado chapter of PCA and a member of our state’s Home Visiting Investment Task Force, Illuminate Colorado enthusiastically supports the importance of maintaining and bolstering the infrastructure necessary to offer high-quality home visiting services to families across our state.

Get involved by emailing, tweeting, posting on social media, and/or calling your senators and representatives. For more resources, such as key messages, tweets, and graphics to help you communicate with your representative easily and effectively, please visit preventchildabuse.org/2022-digital-advocacy-day or see the resources below. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the PCA America policy team at pcaapolicyteam@preventchildabuse.org.

Send an Email in Two Easy Clicks

Your members of Congress need to hear from you! We have the extraordinary opportunity to educate lawmakers about evidence-based home visiting programs and its positive impact on families and children.

Background Information

The MIECHV program is a federal grant to states, territories, and Tribes that supports evidence-based home visiting for families and children from the prenatal period through the time that children start kindergarten. While the program’s ability to positively impact maternal and child health outcomes–including by reducing child maltreatment, improving positive parenting practices, and improving family economic self-sufficiencyis clear, the current funding level limits its ability to reach the children and families who need it most. Only 150,000 of the 18 million current and expectant parents who could benefit from the program receive services.

In our state in particular, while some level of home visiting services is available in all counties, according to the Child Fatality Prevention System’s 2020 Annual Legislative Report, “Not a single county in Colorado… has home visiting programs to meet the overall needs of families in the county.”

To bring the power of home visiting to more families and promote improved maternal health outcomes, we need Congress to reauthorize and increase funding. Specifically, we’re requesting that Congress: 

  • Increase MIECHV funding over the next five years to reach more families and better support the workforce
  • Double the tribal set-aside within MIECHV from 3% to 6%
  • Continue to allow virtual home visiting with model fidelity as an option for service delivery

Key Messages
  • The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program is a federal grant to states, territories and Tribes that supports evidence-based home visiting for families and children from prenatal period through kindergarten entry. The law that authorizes MIECHV will expire in September 2022.
  • Home visiting programs are a prevention strategy used to support pregnant moms and new parents as they work through the challenges of raising babies and young children.
  • Home visiting programs help new and expectant parents develop the skills and confidence it takes to raise healthy families.
  • Home visiting prevents adversity and builds resilience by being there during a child’s most critical years of development (prenatal to age five).
  • Evidence-based home visiting programs, such as Healthy Families America, prevent and reduce the recurrence of child maltreatment, promote healthy child development, and enhance family well-being. Among many other positive outcomes, families who participate in HFA and other home visiting programs have shown reductions in the number of low-birthweight babies, improved school readiness for children, and increased economic self-sufficiency.
  • For nearly 30 years, HFA has worked toward a singular vision: all children receive nurturing care from their family that leads to a healthy, long, and successful life. All families can benefit from support during pregnancy and throughout early childhood owing to the enormous life transitions and rapid growth occurring during this time.
  • HFA serves nearly 70,000 families across the United States each year, with nearly 600 sites in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and five US territories. Approximately 30% of HFA families served are supported through MIECHV funding.
  • Local implementation of HFA is funded through a variety of mechanisms, including federal funds such as MIECHV, state funds (including Medicaid and TANF) and local and private funding.
Sample Tweets
  • Invest in our children’s future, reauthorize home visiting #MIECHV funding. Make #GreatChildhoods happen all year long! @PCAAmerica @HFAatPCA
  • Today, April 27th, is our third annual Digital Advocacy Day. You can help us grow online word-of-mouth and show your support for policies and programs that support all children and families with a few simple steps. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3IS3aj7 #GrowingBetterTogether
Find Your Members of Congress
What important dates should I be aware of?

Digital Advocacy Day is April 27th. Use the resources on this page to contact your elected officials and spread the word about policy changes that’s vital to the well-being of children and their families.

The law that authorizes MIECHV will expire in September 2022. The House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over MIECHV will begin to hold hearings in the spring and into the summer in preparation for the reauthorization of MIECHV.

What do I need to know about the difference between education, advocacy, and lobbying?

Advocacy or Education is public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. Lobbying is seeking to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue or a specific ask such as supporting la piece of legislation.​

There are many avenues of advocacy that nonprofits can engage in that do not constitute lobbying. ​Advocacy happens in many different ways, but at its core it’s about raising awareness, building and leveraging relationships, and educating others around the issues and policies that matter to you. There are varying degrees in which an HFA site, PCA chapter, or nonprofit organization, can engage in advocacy that do not cross into lobbying. Advocacy can include such activities as:

  • Educating and informing lawmakers
  • Helping to shape state laws and budgets
  • Making your voice(s) heard about important issues that affect our daily lives
  • Helping policymakers find solutions to problems
  • Providing critical information for adoption or rejection of introduced legislation
  • Urging the public to contact policy makers to advocate for adoption or rejection of legislation

On the other end of the spectrum are lobbying activities. Key lobbying activities include activities in direct support or opposition to a specific piece of proposed legislation. While nonprofits can engage in some lobbying, the IRS has strict rules regarding the percentage of a nonprofit’s budget that can go toward lobbying activities. It’s recommended that any agency follow the rules and guidelines as set around lobbying and advocacy when engaging with lawmakers.

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the PCA America policy team at pcaapolicyteam@preventchildabuse.org.

To bring the power of home visiting to more families and promote improved maternal health outcomes, we need Congress to reauthorize and increase funding. The law that authorizes the MIECHV program will expire in September 2022, so we need your voice now more than ever.

 Specifically, we’re requesting that Congress: 

    • Increase MIECHV funding over the next five years to reach more families and better support the workforce
    • Double the tribal set-aside within MIECHV from 3% to 6%
    • Continue to allow virtual home visiting with model fidelity as an option for service delivery

This crucial investment in our children and families will support resources at the state and community level that reduce challenges and stressors on parents. Therefore, we have the extraordinary opportunity to educate lawmakers about evidence-based home visiting programs such as Healthy Families America, spread the word about vital policy change, and encourage action on issues that increase positive childhood experiences and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Remember – advocate for children and families where you live. Make your voice heard by contacting your elected officials today, April 27th. Together, we can prevent childhood abuse and ensure families have what they need to thrive.

In October 2018 I experienced every parents worst nightmare: my three and a half year-old son passed away. After that tragedy, I was offered a whirlwind of supportive services, counseling, classes, family and friends coming to offer support. Every single one played a part in my healing process. What I found most life-altering was my home visiting program.

Alexa Chenoweth

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.

Related Posts

Supporting Better Beginnings Through HB22-1295

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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...

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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.

Related Posts

Supporting Better Beginnings Through HB22-1295

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It’s Time for Us To Cover All Coloradans

It’s Time for Us To Cover All Coloradans

Illuminate Colorado is proud to join a wide array of healthcare providers, community organizations and citizens across Colorado in advocating for HB22-1289 Health Benefits For Colorado Children And Pregnant Persons, a recently-introduced bill being led by the Center for Health Progress that would Cover All Coloradans

HB22-1289 helps to ensure that all Coloradans have access to health insurance, especially during the critical periods of pregnancy and childhood. Access to health insurance helps to build Protective Factors in families by increasing their financial security and improving the physical, mental and behavioral health of the whole family. 

Where are we now?

While efforts to expand access to health insurance in Colorado have reduced uninsured rates, wide disparities by race and ethnicity remain. In particular, Colorado’s Hispanic/Latinx women of reproductive age are three times more likely to be uninsured, and our state’s Latinx children are twice as likely to be uninsured, compared to their non-Hispanic peers.1 

Uninsured Rates for Women (age 18-44) in Colorado, 2021

  • Non-Hispanic White 4.8% 4.8%
  • Hispanic/Latinx 14.1% 14.1%

Uninsured Rates for Children (age 0-18) in Colorado, 2021

  • Non Hispanic/Latinx 1.3% 1.3%
  • Hispanic/Latinx 7.5% 7.5%

How does HB22-1289 help Coloradans?

HB22-1289 addresses these disparities head on and improves the accessibility to and effectiveness of health insurance coverage for all Colorado children and pregnant and postpartum individuals by:

Expanding coverage.

    • Providing full health care coverage using existing federal funding for pregnant people who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid and the children’s basic health plan (CHIP) if not for their immigration. status, and continuing coverage through 12 months postpartum.
    • Providing full health care coverage to children, regardless of immigration status, through age 18.

Providing support to pregnant and postpartum individuals by improving access to parental support programs.

Collecting data for improved health care equity by strengthening and permanently authorizing the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s Health eMoms Survey.

Expanding health insurance enrollment by creating a Special Enrollment Period for pregnancy so that people can sign up for insurance when they become pregnant and not have to wait until later in the year.

Increasing utilization by creating an outreach and enrollment strategy for enrolling eligible groups into new coverage options.

 

All people need access to health insurance, which is an important social determinant of health and vital building block of family financial security, especially during the unique times of childhood and during and after pregnancy. HB22-1289 is critical to improving health insurance coverage for Colorado’s children and pregnant and postpartum individuals, including by addressing the disparities that families of color face when they are routinely and systemically denied access to care.

Colorado should not miss this opportunity that more than 20 other states (Figure 2) have already taken to lower infant, child and adult mortality rates and to support the physical and mental health of all children and pregnant and postpartum individuals who call our state home.

 

How can I get involved?

HB22-1289 is scheduled to be heard in the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee on March 25, 2022, upon adjournment of the full House. Contact members of the committee before the hearing to urge them to ensure all of Colorado’s children and pregnant and postpartum individuals have access to critical health insurance coverage by voting ‘yes’ on HB22-1289. 

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.

Related Posts

Supporting Better Beginnings Through HB22-1295

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Illuminate Colorado is proud to join a wide array of healthcare providers, community organizations and citizens across Colorado in advocating for HB22-1289 Health Benefits For Colorado Children And Pregnant Persons, a recently-introduced bill being led by the Center...

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Let’s Make Colorado Works Truly Work for Colorado Families

When we work together to build Protective Factors, it is possible to create a Colorado where all children and families thrive. House Bill 22-1259, a bill that would enhance our state’s efforts to invest in the well-being of Colorado families by making critical...

Let’s Make Colorado Works Truly Work for Colorado Families

Let’s Make Colorado Works Truly Work for Colorado Families

When we work together to build Protective Factors, it is possible to create a Colorado where all children and families thrive. House Bill 22-1259, a bill that would enhance our state’s efforts to invest in the well-being of Colorado families by making critical adjustments to Colorado Works, Colorado’s existing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, was introduced in the Colorado House last week.

Illuminate Colorado, a proud member of the TANF Coalition led by the Colorado Children’s Campaign, enthusiastically supports the bill and its capacity to prevent child maltreatment by building two crucial Protective Factors in families: parental resilience and concrete support in times of need.

What’s in the works?

Currently, Basic Cash Assistance (BCA) provided to families through the Colorado Works program is only $508 a month for a family of three, leaving that family living at about 28% of the poverty level.1 HB22-1259 creates a 5-year phase-in plan to increase BCA payments for families to the equivalent of 50% of the poverty level, or $915 a month for a family of three, and ensure that payments keep up with the rising cost of living in Colorado in future years. 

In addition to increasing the Basic Cash Assistance that families receive to 50% of the poverty level, HB22-1259 increases accessibility of the program, more sustainably improves families’ economic security by creating a smoother ‘off-ramp’, and prioritizes the engagement of families who are impacted by the program by involving them in spaces where decisions are made about it. To learn more about TANF and why these changes are needed, you can listen to TANF Coalition members Coressia Sanders, Ealasha Vaughner, and Kayla Frawley discussing TANF on last week’s West Steps podcast.

How can I get involved?

Even before the pandemic, families enrolled in Colorado Works were facing the greatest barriers to financial security and well-being, meaning that the improvements that HB22-1259 will make to the program are more crucial than ever before to ensuring that Colorado Works truly works for Colorado families. 

A critical opportunity to build on the existing Colorado Works program in pursuit of economic mobility, self-sufficiency and safety for Colorado families is before us. Contact members of the House Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee before the hearing on March 15th to urge them to strengthen Colorado families by voting ‘yes’ on HB22-1259.

Don’t miss your chance to Speak Up for Kids!

Looking for another way to advocate for HB22-1259 and other bills that impact Colorado families? Registration for Speak Up for Kids on March 17 closes soon! Sign up today to join Illuminate and advocates from across Colorado for this annual advocacy day led by the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Clayton Early Learning and Children’s Hospital Colorado. 

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.

Citations

1. Code of Colorado Regulations. (2022, March 2). Income Maintenance (Volume 3), Colorado Works Program. https://www.sos.state.co.us/CCR/GenerateRulePdf.do?ruleVersionId=10019&fileName=9%20CCR%202503-6

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