RELEASE: One in Five Colorado Parents Say They Have No One to Turn to For Support

RELEASE: One in Five Colorado Parents Say They Have No One to Turn to For Support

 Newest Circle of Parents Group Offers a Way for Military Fathers to Safely Support Each Other

Denver, CO — Having a network of people to turn to when parenting gets stressful is critical to the well-being of children and families, as well as the economic health of Colorado. According to Illuminate Colorado, surveys among parents in Colorado prior to the pandemic highlighted the critical need to increase social connections among people parenting in Colorado. While 50% of Colorado parents think other parents ask for help with parenting, the reality is that only one in five parents in Colorado reported asking for support with parenting and one in five said they have no one to turn to for day to day emotional support with raising children.

“These results raised red flags dating all the way back to 2016, long before the pandemic impacted Coloradans’ lives in so many ways. We know that things didn’t get easier for anyone parenting over the last several months. That is why we are working with parents, schools, libraries, government and community-based organizations and businesses to do more to help parents build their network of support right now,” said Jade Woodard executive director of Illuminate Colorado.

Illuminate Colorado is a statewide nonprofit working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment by growing Circle of Parents® in Colorado. This national, evidence informed model provides a friendly, supportive environment led by parents and other caregivers. Circle groups give anyone in a parenting role a place to openly discuss the successes and challenges of raising children, free from judgement.

People raising children of all ages can find statewide and local circles of parents connecting at CircleofParentsCO.org. Groups have come together based on their location as well as shared experiences, like military service, parenting while in recovery from a substance use disorder and parenting a child with special needs. Others simply want to connect with people in a similar parenting role, like the kinship, grandparenting and fatherhood Circle groups.  

The newest circle to form is led by two military veteran fathers who recognized a void in their community for fathers attempting to figure out how to jump back into parenthood while working to overcome other struggles that often accompany serving abroad. Their group known as Fathers of Freedom will meet online every Tuesday via Zoom beginning November 17th from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

“The biggest reason I started this group was because being a stay at home father who is a combat veteran and has battled a lot of things over the years, at times have begun to feel isolated and withdrawn from the rest of society,” said Adrian Nunez, one of the founding members of the Circle of Parents group Fathers of Freedom, pictured with his two children. “I wanted to create a safe place for other Veteran fathers to meet up, encourage and support each other through the thick and thin of life to really step out of our comfort zones to grow.”

“Parents drive the conversations. We are just building the space to connect. We know that parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family and neighbors find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. All parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice or support. That is why we want to grow Circle of Parents groups all over Colorado,” said Woodard.

Illuminate Colorado offers training, ongoing support and promotion to the 43 Circle groups meeting mostly online right now. There are plans in place to grow to nearly 60 Circle groups throughout Colorado by the end of 2021.

For more information or to speak with parents and caregivers connected through Circle of Parents in Colorado or a prevention expert, please contact Katie Facchinello at 303-246-2062 and Kfacchinello@illuminatecolorado.org

Circle of Parents® support groups offer a safe, friendly, confidential, non- judgmental, supportive environment to share with and learn from other parents. It’s a place where anyone in a parenting role can openly celebrate success, address challenges, find information and resources to support raising children.

RELEASE: San Luis Valley to Benefit From Nearly Half a Million Dollar Federal Investment To Reduce The Number of Babies Experiencing Withdrawal

RELEASE: San Luis Valley to Benefit From Nearly Half a Million Dollar Federal Investment To Reduce The Number of Babies Experiencing Withdrawal

NEWS RELEASE

Today, Illuminate Colorado, in partnership with the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force, announced the award of a Federal grant totaling nearly $500,000 over three-years to reduce the incidence and impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in rural communities. NAS is a withdrawal syndrome that can occur in newborns exposed to certain substances, including opioids, during pregnancy. The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will fund work to improve integrated care and care coordination for pregnant people, mothers and women of childbearing age in the San Luis Valley who have or are at risk of a substance use disorder. 

“This is critical funding needed to continue the work of the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force in our community. Unlike other regions that may need to build their capacity, we already have a multidisciplinary task force focused on healthy babies for women with substance use disorder. Our communities have critical services including a methadone clinic, a community mental health center and a federally qualified health center, all skilled in treating opioid use disorders,” said Ruth Horn, the co-founder and coordinator of the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force. “Yet 2.8% of births in the San Luis Valley have been diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome. We need this support to combine prenatal services and treatment, help women access those services and de-stigmatize treatment for women to decrease the high rate of NAS in our region.” 

Illuminate Colorado, a statewide nonprofit working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, is partnering with the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force, a group comprised of health care, human service providers and community members that have been impacted by substance use, as well as the San Luis Valley Health, Valley-Wide Health Systems, San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center and Early Childhood Council of San Luis Valley to focus on strategies in prevention, treatment and recovery funded through the grant. Colorado’s award is one of 30 awards nationwide from HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome which totals nearly $15 million. 

In addition to supporting the work of the San Luis Valley Neonatal Task Force, the grant will provide support for Illuminate Colorado to continue to expand a new program – Illuminating Child Care – in the San Luis Valley by partnering with community-based nonprofits, local substance use disorder treatment providers and government agencies in the area to deliver mobile child care onsite where parents are getting the support that they need to strengthen their families.

“We are very excited to deepen our partnerships in the San Luis Valley to ensure community-based solutions supporting families impacted by substance use disorders have the resources they need to make a difference. When families have information and access to available local resources to meet basic needs, we strengthen the foundation for families and communities to thrive,” said Jade Woodard executive director of Illuminate Colorado.

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Initiative to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Aims to Reach a Tipping Point in Colorado

Initiative to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Aims to Reach a Tipping Point in Colorado

llluminate Colorado (Illuminate) aims to train more than 200,000 Coloradans in order to reach a tipping point in the state where children grow up happy, healthy and safe in communities that prevent children from experiencing sexual abuse. The statewide nonprofit dedicated to strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment received an extraordinary response to a new initiative launched last week focused on preventing child sexual abuse.

“When a community reaches a tipping point, the cultural starts to change and that is what needs to happen to eliminate child sexual abuse in Colorado. This initiative is built around the idea that if enough adults get educated, then together, a new standard of child safety will be created in the community and ultimately throughout Colorado.” said Anne Auld director of education for Illuminate Colorado.

The Tipping Point Initiative encourages all Coloradans to take the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children® training, the only evidence-informed, adult-focused child sexual abuse prevention program in the United States proven to increase knowledge and change behavior. Adults learn how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse and feel empowered to spread their knowledge within the community.

Over the last five years, the number of children in Colorado experiencing sexual abuse has steadily risen. Seven percent of the 286,534 allegations of child maltreatment in Colorado over the last five years involved concerns of sexual abuse; 28 percent of those concerns involved male children and 72 percent female children. However, it is also believed that child sexual abuse is significantly under-reported. National experts estimate that one in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18 and 90 percent of children who experience sexual abuse know their abuser.

Thanks in large part to support from the Colorado Children’s Trust Fund in the Office of Early Childhood at the Colorado Department of Human Services, this interactive prevention training is available anywhere in Colorado FREE of charge. The 2-hour training includes simple, effective prevention strategies for adults to use to protect children from sexual abuse including how to reduce one on one situations when sexual abuse can occur and the importance of using anatomically correct terms for genital with children to prevent child sexual abuse. The training also includes education on topics like recognizing signs of abuse, as well as practical guidance on how to respond in the moment when a child discloses abuse to you.

Illuminate, along with more than 80 local authorized facilitators throughout Colorado, have been promoting this training for several years with more than 7,000 people in Colorado trained today. This is no small feat, but it is a far cry from reaching the necessary critical milestone in child protection that is needed to effectively prevent child sexual abuse in Colorado. Nearly 150 Coloradans signed up for the training to create safe communities over just one weekend and the nonprofit is asking for help to raise awareness to reach the goal.

“While it may take many years to reach the tipping point in Colorado, smaller communities and individual counties may get there relatively quickly if families, organizations, neighborhoods and community leaders make the prevention of child sexual abuse a priority. We are definitely encouraged by the initial response we’ve seen in this first week” said Auld. “We created TipColorado.org to monitor and share our progress toward achieving the tipping point in Colorado, as well as in each county of the state. We want to let everyone know how many people have taken the training in their community and empower local partners to prevent child abuse in every neighborhood and workplace.”

The training is available both online and in-person, depending on local public health guidance. Available in English and Spanish and approved nationally for two hours of continuing education for many professionals including nurses, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists.

Sign up online to learn more at TipColorado.org to create a new standard of child safety in your community and throughout Colorado.

Illuminate Colorado, the lead organizer of the Tipping Point Initiative in Colorado, is a 501
(c)3 nonprofit organization working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment in Colorado. With a research-based approach that emphasizes building protective factors in families, Illuminate works to address systemic and multi-sector issues affecting the well-being of children, collaborating with partners at local, state and national levels to develop powerful programs, policies and initiatives that keep kids safe.

Certified prevention experts offer multiple educational programs and ongoing support to local organizations and facilitators to increase Colorado’s capacity to create safe spaces where children can thrive. The organization is the state intermediary & an authorized facilitator of the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children® Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program.

Darkness to Light is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 with the mission to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Through education and awareness, the organization seeks to create a safer world for children to grow and thrive. Darkness to Light’s flagship program, “Stewards of Children®,” is an award-winning training that teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. To date, over one million educators, youth serving professionals, organization volunteers, and community members have been trained. “Stewards of Children” is the largest training program of its kind, with the largest network of child protection advocates in the world.

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Advocates Begin Campaign to Strengthen Families During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

Advocates Begin Campaign to Strengthen Families During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

Today, Illuminate Colorado, in coordination with Prevent Child Abuse America, and other state and local community partners throughout Colorado, begins a month-long nationwide awareness and impact campaign: Everyone Can Make Great Childhoods Happen—Especially You, Especially Now!” to engage Coloradans in strengthening families to prevent child maltreatment.

“When parents are stressed, have few social connections, and limited access to resources to support their families, the risk to children of experiencing toxic stress and child maltreatment is great,” said Jade Woodard executive director of Illuminate Colorado. “We are asking Coloradans to learn about the positive things we all need to be doing to strengthen families right now.”

Visit www.COPinwheelsForPrevention.org to learn more and get involved during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Download the press release Announcing the Everyone Can Make Great Childhoods Happen – Especially You, Especially Now! Campaign. 

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Illuminate Colorado is Giving Away 40,000 Pinwheels To Inspire A Conversation

Illuminate Colorado is Giving Away 40,000 Pinwheels To Inspire A Conversation

Illuminate Colorado, the Colorado Chapter for Prevent Child Abuse America , has given away 30,000 free Pinwheels for Prevention® to inspire Coloradans to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. The nonprofit working to strengthen families, organizations and communities is calling on an additional 10,000 Coloradans to claim their FREE pinwheels and plant them in their front yards and neighborhoods.

Illuminate Colorado makes adjustments to reflect the ongoing support and health for our employees and the communities we serve.

Illuminate Colorado makes adjustments to reflect the ongoing support and health for our employees and the communities we serve.

As you can imagine, as an organization that works to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, we are beginning to face many difficult decisions. Based on information we have reviewed, including the close monitoring of local and national health reports and directives regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) and inconsideration of the many school closures that have impacted our employees and community partners daily lives, we have adjustments to reflect the ongoing support and health for our employees and the communities we serve. Including:

  • Cancelling or postponing all in person events through the end of March. We will be focused on a digital first experience at Illuminate Colorado. Our office is not closed, but Illuminate employees are working virtually as much as possible through March 27 at which time it will be determined if there is the need for an extension of this general practice. During this period of time, staff will be answering phone calls and emails. Please call the main phone line at (303) 413-3460 if you need assistance or visit a staff directory
  • Ramping up digital training and education starting next week. Our goal is to help share more tips, training, and education on how you can leverage social during this challenging time to raise awareness for the prevention of child maltreatment and strengthen families. Illuminate Colorado cares about your community – help us stop the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to spread awareness for the prevention of child maltreatment during this time.
  • Launching a new community on Facebook to provide a space for parents and caregivers to connect to one another during this stressful time. We recognize that the added stress of the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Colorado, the closure of schools and child care services and social distancing places children and families at greater risk for toxic stress and child maltreatment. We also know that social connections are critical in the prevention of child maltreatment. This added communication platform will be a place for you to connect with Illuminate Colorado employees as well as other parents and experts statewide. 

The health and safety of our staff and the communities that we serve are our top priority and this decision to postpone meetings was not made lightly, but out of an overabundance of caution. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make decisions about events and meetings in April in the next few weeks and update you accordingly. We also encourage the community to continue hand washing and follow other recommendations from the CDC about how to avoid the spread of illness and visit Colorado’s COVID-19 website for more information.

Behind the scenes, we will continue to operate to ensure that we return to business as usual as soon as it is safe to do so. We appreciate your support and understanding during these difficult times. For the latest information, please continue to check our blog at www.IlluminateColorado.org/news  

Illuminate Colorado to receive $630,000 Contract For Innovative Child Care Pilot at Addiction Treatment Services Programs

Illuminate Colorado to receive $630,000 Contract For Innovative Child Care Pilot at Addiction Treatment Services Programs

Open Minds reports today, Illuminate Colorado Awarded $430,000 Contract For Addiction Treatment Pilot Program, ultimately the final total contract amount will be just under $630,000.

“We are very excited to continue to advance innovative child care services in Colorado to help reduce barriers and stigma to accessing care for families impacted by substance use disorders. With public and private partnership, Illuminate is hopeful that we will significantly prevent child maltreatment in Colorado, “ said Jade Woodard executive director of Illuminate Colorado.

Child Care.jpg

In addition to the $630,000 provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services, Illuminate has received a $750,000 multi-year grant from the Colorado Health Foundation to pilot this new and innovative type of child care in Colorado with a focus on serving families with children ages 0-5. The three-year mobile child care pilot will begin in 2020 in two regions, serving multiple substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facilities in order to meet the immediate needs of caregivers accessing SUD treatment. Illuminate has plans to expand the pilot by outfitting motor-homes into infant/toddler classrooms to visit treatment centers around the state to provide child care to parents seeking support for substance use disorders.

Read the entire article from Open Minds

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