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.
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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