The Time is Now to Make Wise Investments on Local and State Levels

The Time is Now to Make Wise Investments on Local and State Levels

In the months and years ahead, Colorado State and local leaders have the opportunity to spend both American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and Opioid Settlement Funds. Being a local-control state is both a blessing and a curse in so many ways when it comes to investing in strengthening families. On one hand it allows local county commissioners and government agencies the flexibility necessary to listen to the children and families in the community and respond to the unique challenges they face. On the other hand, it requires a considerable amount of time and thoughtful coordination to communicate best practices, evidence-informed research, and lessons lived and learned to help county commissioners and State leaders alike make informed investments.

Through our roles as both a convener of collaborative spaces and experts on the prevention of child maltreatment, Illuminate Colorado proudly guided the collaborative development of investment recommendations to aid State and local decision-makers in prioritizing family strengthening to the most of this opportunity. Illuminate led both the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families ( the Partnership) and the Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN) Steering Committee, a subcommittee of the Colorado Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force, and it’s Family Advisory Board, regarding ARPA funds and Opioid Settlement Funds respectively, to identify concrete investments Colorado can make to transform systems and services to build brighter childhoods.  

Investing American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Prevent Child Maltreatment and Promote Family Well-Being

The pandemic has impacted so many different aspects of our communities, and the challenge on local, state, and federal levels is to determine how to prioritize allocation of these ARPA funds. Decision-makers within county and state agencies are having to balance and prioritize everything from physical infrastructure to community infrastructure.

The Partnership members including; Colorado Counties Inc., state and local public health and human services departments, families with lived experiences and Illuminate Colorado, created recommendations for county commissioners to guide investing ARPA funds in early childhood and reap long-term benefits of these investments to build stronger communities and families. 

Wise investment of American Rescue Plan Act funds will go a long way to address pronounced need and opportunities during pregnancy through the first five years of life.

Nobel-prize economist, James Heckman, shows that every dollar spent on high quality, birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children delivers a 13% per annum return on investment.

The recommendations include an overview of why it is important to invest in the prevention of child maltreatment and promotion of family-well being, data on the pronounced needs and opportunities of families during pregnancy and through the first five years of life, and specific recommendations on how ARPA funds can be leveraged to support families in Colorado.

Setting Up a Framework for Dedicating Opioid Settlement Funds to Children and Families Impacted by Perinatal Substance Use

In the coming months and years, Colorado will also continue to receive funds from settlements and court rulings resulting from numerous lawsuits against drug companies, distributors and pharmacies over their role in the opioid crisis. It’s money that can — and should — be channeled to programs and services that equitably serve all families through prevention and reduction of substance use during pregnancy and provide multigenerational support for families to thrive. 

Investing in tailored substance use disorder treatment and recovery services for families leads to better outcomes, cost savings and stronger communities. 

While pregnancy and motherhood can be a time of increased motivation for substance use disorder treatment and recovery, an absence of tailored services creates a gap between need and access. Substance use disorder treatment that supports the family as a unit has proven to be effective for maintaining maternal recovery and child well-being. Residential treatment programs serving women and children produced nearly $4 in savings for every $1 invested through reductions in child welfare costs, crime, foster care and low birth weight babies.

With both support and leadership from Illuminate, the Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee and its Family Advisory Board which elevates the voices of families who have experienced, directly or indirectly, the impacts of substance use during pregnancy, jointly developed a set of guidelines and recommendations for how opioid settlement funds with a focus on building Colorado’s statewide capacity to: 

  • align efforts, 
  • apply lessons from data, and 
  • recognize and respond to emerging needs.

Share these recommendations with your regional, county and state agency decision-makers.

American Rescue Plan Act Funds Recommendations

Opioid Settlement Funds Recommendations

Foster America Fellowship Furthering the Mission of the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families

Foster America Fellowship Furthering the Mission of the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families

Illuminate Colorado is excited to announce that we will welcome a Foster America fellow to Colorado, in partnership with the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families, in April 2021. Foster America’s fellowship program attracts extraordinary professionals from a variety of backgrounds. This visionary strategist will advance this statewide collaborative working across the state of Colorado to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued and thriving.

 

Download the position overview. 

Learn More & Apply

  • Join an informational webinar session on February 18th at 5 pm PST to learn more. Sign up here.

The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families Launches Website

The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families Launches Website

The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families has launched a website at www.COPartershipForThrivingFamilies.org to create space to work collaboratively across the State of Colorado to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued and thriving.

Illuminate Colorado is proud to continue to serve as backbone support for the Partnership. Our organization will continue to post updates on the work of the Partnership from time to time on our news blog, but we encourage professionals to subscribe to receive updates from the Partnership blog to continue to learn about future activities.

For example, we wouldn’t want you to miss out on the next Conversation on Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19, Tuesday, April 21st, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

Register in advance for this meeting and receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. [MEETING HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE]

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Follow Up on Conversation to Keep Families Strong during COVID-19

Follow Up on Conversation to Keep Families Strong during COVID-19

Thanks to the almost 300 people who joined together for a conversation this week on Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19. As a result of everyone who contributed by sharing ideas and resources, we have compiled a resource list linked below.

Future Opportunities to Engage in Strengthening Families and Communities

Virtual Listening Session as part of Gov. Polis’s prenatal to three policy priority development
Friday, April 3
3:30 pm – 5:50 pm

The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families (CPTF) invites you to a Virtual Listening Session as part of Governor Polis’s prenatal to three policy priority development on April 3 from 3:30 pm-5:00 pm. This listening session is open to all–including CPTF members, colleagues, and most importantly communities. As you are able, please attend yourself, send a colleague, and/or promote the event to your community. To join the listening session, please contact Jillian Adams at jadams@illuminatecolorado.org.

Conversation on Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19
Tuesday, April 7th
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Register in advance for this meeting and receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Join to share adaptations, responses and needs to strengthen families during these unprecedented times.

Subscribe to receive information this meeting and future outreach activities of the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families.

Summary from Conversation on Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 24th, at 3:00 pm.

People from many organizations and professions who do family strengthening work shared adaptations, responses and needs to strengthen families during these unprecedented times. From the conversation four themes emerged:

Concrete supports are emerging as the most urgent thing folks are hearing families struggling with. This includes:

      • Child care
      • Food resources
      • Diapers, formula, wipes
      • Utilities payment support
      • Rental assistance
      • Hygiene items
      • Household cleaning supplies

We must meet families where they are and keep Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in mind when approaching families with children who are out of school.

      • Physiological needs and safety being secured first, and then can think about social-emotional educational activities
      • Acknowledgement that some families need concrete supports and resources, particularly those who may be in internet deserts, while some families are looking for resources and supports for homeschooling their kids for the first time and are wanting to keep them occupied in pro-social ways

Different communities in Colorado are facing different challenges. 

      • Rural/frontier communities needing internet supports, esp. as many services switch to a tele-delivery model
      • Undocumented communities needing information about what supports do and do not require documentation
      • Folks serving parents who are separated from their children needing creative ways to support attachment and bonding virtually

Our workforce also needs connections too.

      • People just want to know what you know—even if it’s that you don’t know
      • To reduce isolation and increase workforce connection: Ask your staff–they probably have creative ideas!

In the meantime, please use and find what’s meaningful to you from this meeting summary, our notes, and our compiled resource list.

On behalf of Illuminate Colorado and the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families, we thank everyone for your commitment to this work! Let us know if you have any questions or if there is anything else we can do to support you in these uncertain times.

THE COLORADO PARTNERSHIP FOR THRIVING FAMILIES WORKS COLLABORATIVELY ACROSS THE STATE OF COLORADO TO CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR STRONG FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES WHERE CHILDREN ARE HEALTHY, VALUED AND THRIVING. ILLUMINATE COLORADO IS THE BACKBONE SUPPORT ORGANIZATION FOR THE PARTNERSHIP.

LOOK FOR MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON ABOUT THIS EXCITING NEW COLLABORATIVE. IN THE MEANTIME, VISIT THE ILLUMINATE COLORADO BLOG/CPFT OR SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP.

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Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19 – IMPORTANT UPDATE

Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19 – IMPORTANT UPDATE

In this unprecedented and uncertain time, we wanted to share updates on our work to keep families strong in the age of COVID-19. We recognize that the added stress of the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Colorado, the closure of schools and child care services and physically distancing from each other places children and families at greater risk for toxic stress and child maltreatment. 

We are living our mission now more than ever and we are doing everything we can to strengthen families, organization and communities to prevention child maltreatment. To continue to inspire support and connection for families, communities, and our field – we wanted to share with you some adaptations and opportunities through Illuminate to engage in a new and different way:

  • The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families (CPTF) and Illuminate Colorado are convening a conversation on Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 24th, at 3:00 pm. Join representatives from Illuminate Colorado, the Kempe Center, the Family Resource Center Association, state and local government agencies, and many more community-based nonprofits to share adaptations, responses, and needs to strengthen families during these unprecedented times. Join us HERE.
  • To help keep Colorado families strong through this COVID-19 crisis, Illuminate Colorado has launched a new Facebook group for parents and caregivers this weekend and several online Circle of Parents Groups in English and Spanish will begin next week to create a space for people raising kids to vent, cry, and laugh, and joke, and find out how other parents are navigating this new world.
  • Coming soon – we’ll be streaming yoga, mindfulness, and breathing videos for relaxation, stress relief, and entertainment – for parents and caregivers, children and teens, and professionals.  Stay tuned.

We know this time of uncertainty and change can feel scary and overwhelming. We hope you all stay calm, healthy, and well. We’re here for each other.

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