Denver, ColoradoIlluminate Colorado announced today a $60,000 Primary Prevention grant awarded by Prevent Child Abuse America® (PCA America), with funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, to support the organization’s work to transform child welfare policy and systems, focused on building sustainable, long-term partnerships and pathways between primary and downstream child abuse and neglect prevention efforts. A total of $500,000 will be awarded over a two-year grant period to nine Prevent Child Abuse America state chapters selected for funding, including Illuminate which is home to the Colorado chapter of PCA America. 

Illuminate, in partnership with parents and caregivers involved in the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families (the Partnership), will tell the “Story of the System” with these funds, highlighting and documenting a process for how government agencies and nonprofits share power and codesign in partnership with experts to transform systems.

“Families are the experts when it comes to transforming systems,” said Heather Hicks, a parent and member of the Partnership Family & Caregiver Space. “We hope to share our learnings and process to promote continued efforts of codesign and partner with family voices in systems transformation efforts.  This project will catalyze primary prevention efforts through storytelling, with the aim of inspiring policy and practice change and changing the narrative around systems and families.” 

Thriving Families, Safer Children is a first-of-its-kind effort of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Casey Family Programs, the Casey Foundation, and Prevent Child Abuse America. The partnership is working in 22 sites from coast to coast and a sovereign tribal nation. The Thriving Families effort seeks to demonstrate that intentional, coordinated investments in a full continuum of prevention, along with community-based networks of support, will promote overall child and family well-being, equity and other positive outcomes for children and families.

The goals of the Primary Prevention grant include:

  • Expand the capacity of the Thriving Families movement to develop and maintain more equitable working relationships and authentic partnerships between the child protection and family serving systems and communities.

  • Develop intentional cross-systems partnerships and the integration of the core components of public health approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect

  • Strengthen, support, and connect youth, parents, and community members with real life experiences as they emerge in leadership roles within the Thriving Families movement.

“Preventing childhood adversity is critical to building more healthy and prosperous communities – and prevention can only happen in partnership. The chapters that were selected for this Thriving Families, Safer Children grant are committed to working across sectors to develop equitable systems that benefit all children and families and break harmful intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty,” said Dr. Melissa Merrick, president & CEO of PCA America. “At a time when all families and systems are experiencing some level of strain, these grantees are working to reframe the approach to family support away from reactive child welfare systems to a proactive, holistic method that emphasizes cross-sectoral collaboration to support the well-being of children and families.”

A complete list of grantees, totaling $500,000 in grants, includes:

  • Families Forward Virginia
  • Familywise
  • Idaho Children’s Trust Fund
  • Illuminate Colorado
  • Nebraska Children
  • Prevent Child Abuse Arizona
  • Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
  • Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky
  • The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida

Colorado was among the first states chosen to participate in the Thriving Families national effort in 2020 to prove it is possible to fundamentally rethink how we can create the conditions for strong, thriving families where children are free from harm through the the Partnership, a collaborative which Illuminate serves as the backbone. This cross-systems collaborative with parents, caregivers, and families with lived expertise, includes partners from; Colorado Department of Human Services; Colorado Department of Early Childhood, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing; and staff of county departments and nonprofit agencies working in child maltreatment prevention, maternal and child health, and early childhood. 

“We are approaching this work differently than other states, as a county-administered human services system, by embracing local and creative solutions to prevent abuse or neglect of children before it ever occurs – we are thinking upstream,” said Jade Woodard, executive director of Illuminate Colorado and member of the Partnership’s leadership team. “Together, we share a vision of a Colorado where partners work collaboratively to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued, and thriving.”

The Partnership Family and Caregiver Space, an affinity group led by, and for, family voice leaders, is empowering parents and caregivers and facilitating ideas that enact desired change within Colorado communities. With this funding, the Family and Caregiver Space will design and implement a project known as “the Story of the System”, to uplift Coloradans’ stories and better understand barriers and facilitators related to navigating systems, including public health, human services and health care. “The long term goal of the project is to not only address these barriers and opportunities, but to change the narrative around systems and families, and create a call to action for transforming the system,” said Woodard. 

About Illuminate Colorado 

Illuminate Colorado is a statewide nonprofit organization strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment. Illuminate is the home of the Colorado Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America® and, works collaboratively across Colorado to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued and thriving as the backbone of the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families.

About Prevent Child Abuse America 

Commemorating its 50th year in 2022, Prevent Child Abuse America is a leading champion for all children in the United States. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Chicago, we are the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect, working to actively prevent all forms of child abuse and neglect before they occur. Our success is founded on a nationwide network of state chapters and nearly 600 Healthy Families America home visiting sites, which directly provide parents and caregivers a wide variety of services and resources that help children grow up to be productive, contributing members of their communities and society. Our comprehensive approach is informed by science—we translate and disseminate innovative research to promote proven solutions that our vast network then puts into action. And we raise public awareness and advocate for family friendly policies at the national, state and local levels to support transformative programs and promote the conditions and contexts that help children, families and communities across the country thrive. Visit preventchildabuse.org to learn more. 

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

News Release Media Contact:

Katie Facchinello, Director of Communciations

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