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lluminate Colorado is a statewide nonprofit organization focused on preventing child maltreatment and building brighter childhoods through education, advocacy, and family support. With a research-based approach that emphasizes building Protective Factors in families, Illuminate Colorado works to address systemic and multi-sector issues affecting the well-being of children, collaborating with partners at the state and national level to develop powerful programs, policies, and initiatives that keep kids safe.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Pinwheels for Prevention Giveaway at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

MEDIA ADVISORY: Pinwheels for Prevention Giveaway at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

Illuminate Colorado has distributed nearly 50,000 pinwheels this month to spark conversations centered on how communities can strengthen families. The organization is excited to join the folks at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus to give away the remaining pinwheels at Día de los Libros, a celebration of children, families and culture, all through a love of reading!

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Behavioral health supports for high-risk families may get a real boost this legislative session.

Behavioral health supports for high-risk families may get a real boost this legislative session.

Services and policies that help strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, aid caregivers struggling with adversity, and promote positive interactions within families and caregivers help kids develop their potential. After months of advocacy work, numerous agencies and advocates showed up on Friday to testify in support of the HB19-1193 bill and the result was an unanimous vote in favor of behavioral health supports for high risk families in the House Public Health Care & Human Services!

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Colorado Birthing Hospital Providers Gather to Improve Outcomes for Women and Newborns Impacted by Opioids

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DENVER, COLORADO (January 31, 2019) — Over eighty clinicians from NICUs and Mom and Baby Units and partners from around the state gathered at the Colorado Hospital Substance Exposed Newborns (CHoSEN) Collaborative Winter Forum in Denver on Thursday to share best practices around caring for women and newborns impacted by substance use, especially opioids. The CHoSEN Collaborative is supported by the COPIC Foundation and the Colorado Office of the Attorney General and includes sixteen Colorado birthing hospitals already committed to a set of practice changes as part of a statewide quality improvement initiative. The project is a partnership between the Section of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine; the Colorado Perinatal Care Quality Collaborative (CPCQC); Illuminate Colorado; and the Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN) Steering Committee.

“We have the opportunity as providers not only to improve our practice while engaging families in the care team but also to improve measurable outcomes for newborns and families impacted by substance use during pregnancy,” said Dr. Susan Hwang, the physician champion of the CHoSEN Collaborative and neonatologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado and University Hospital. Hwang went on to share preliminary results of the CHoSEN Collaborative’s aggregate data demonstrating a drastic decrease in length of hospital stays for opioid-exposed newborns and an increase in prenatal counseling and service referrals for families. “This is just the beginning of how we can improve the experience of opioid-exposed newborns and their families in our state,” said Hwang.

“We know from experience that collaborative action is most effective in achieving healthier outcomes for moms and babies,” shared Jaime Cabrera, executive director of the Colorado Perinatal Care Quality Collaborative (CPCQC). CPCQC is a statewide nonprofit network of hospitals, healthcare facilities, clinicians and public health professionals that improves the health of women and infants through continuous quality improvement.

The day concluded with a look ahead to the policy changes needed to ensure families impacted by opioids during pregnancy get the support they need. “This legislative session we have the chance to expand services to pregnant and postpartum women impacted by substance use in order to keep Colorado families happy and healthy,” said Jade Woodard, executive director of Illuminate Colorado and co-chair of the Colorado SEN Steering Committee. Illuminate Colorado is a statewide organization dedicated to building brighter childhoods through education, advocacy, and family support. “It will take all of us—clinicians, advocates, and most importantly families—to ensure our policies and practices are building systems to strengthen families.”

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Media Contacts:

Katie Facchinello, Director of Communications

Illuminate Colorado

c: 303-246-2062

Kfacchinello@illuminatecolorado.org

The Holidays are Upon Us

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The holidays are upon us which for many means spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the season together. This time of year presents a great opportunity for us as adults to take a few extra steps to ensure our children are as safe as possible.

Statistics show that about 90% of all children who are sexually abused, are abused by someone the family and child knows and trusts. Given this statistic, it is important that we take a few simple steps to create safe environments – namely safety in numbers and respecting children’s boundaries. The encouraging news is these steps are non-confrontational and can be implemented by various caregivers.

During a holiday gathering, two cousins with a significant age difference go to watch a movie together in the basement. How might you minimize the opportunity that something could go wrong? Safety in numbers. Are there other cousins that could watch the movie with them? Could they watch in a more visible/accessible location? Can someone pop in every once in a while to make sure they don’t need anything? 

Over winter break, your child’s music/sports coach offers additional private lessons. How might you minimize the opportunity that something could go wrong? Safety in numbers. Are there other students that could practice with them? Are they practicing in a visible/accessible location? Can someone pop in every once in a while to make sure they don’t need anything?

We want children to have healthy and affirming relationships with the adults in their lives, but when we have situations where adults and children or significant age difference children are secluded one on one, the risk for abuse increases. Simple ways to ensure we are creating a safe environment is to set the standard that children will not be alone with an adult or a much older child/youth. Maybe ask for another adult or a few children to tag along. Another solution is to ensure one on one time is observable. Keep in mind, it’s not about accusing anyone of potentially harming your child, but rather eliminating the opportunity for something to happen.

During a holiday gathering, great aunt Sally asks for a kiss from your young child. Your child hesitates and hides behind your leg. How might you handle the situation? Respect children’s boundaries. Can you ask if he/she would give a high five instead?  Can you suggest that maybe he/she will warm up later? Can you comment on your child’s development – he/she is going through a shy phase lately?

Over winter break, your child and their friend are having a tickle “fight”. They are laughing and having fun, but then the friend says, “Stop!” and your child continues to tickle.  How might you handle the situation? Respect children’s boundaries. Can you remind your child to listen to their friend’s words? Can you teach your child to recognize the change in facial expressions or body language? Can you redirect the children to another activity and revisit later with your child?

Most of the time, adults/children who cross boundaries may not realize they are doing it. A great example is when a child clearly states, in either words or actions, they are not comfortable with something and we essentially force the child to do it anyway - ignoring the fact that the child has set a boundary and we have stepped completely over it. This sends a very mixed message to children about their bodies. It’s confusing for a child who doesn’t want to have physical contact with someone, for any reason, to have other trusted adults invalidate their feelings and force that contact. Conversations around respecting boundaries are really about consent. When we hear someone say things like “No” or “Stop” we need to honor that request. Even if a few moments ago they may have been laughing as well. Use these moments as catalysts for conversations about how we recognize someone is not ok with what is going on. Did they stop laughing? Was there a change in their facial expression? How can they recognize there has been a shift in their level of comfort? Having open and direct conversations about boundaries with their own bodies and the boundaries of others, and giving children language and skills to manage situations in a respectful and healthy way, is a building a protective factor that will serve them now and beyond.

This is a special time of year for many. Taking a few extra steps can go a long way in creating safe environments for children and youth. Enjoy your holidays, have an extra cookie, play with your kids and celebrate the love of family and friends. Happy Holidays from the staff at Illuminate Colorado.

FASD Awareness Month Recap

by Karl Nadon & Jillian Adams

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September marks the time of the year where FASD awareness, education, and community collaboration comes to the forefront, and this year was certainly no different. This September Illuminate not only hosted a BreakFASD event but also teamed up with community partners and professionals in the redevelopment and promotion of the Pass It On FASD Awareness video.

This year’s BreakFASD event on September 20th brought together professionals, community members, and family members of individuals experiencing an FASD over breakfast. BreakFASD attendees heard an inspiring poem written and performed by a child with an FASD and engaged in collaborative discussion regarding the current issues surrounding the FASD community in Colorado. Illuminate’s current FASD support groups and FASD education opportunities were both highlighted.

Reaching an even larger audience, the 2018 Pass It On video continues to be a fun and powerful tool to encourage awareness and education on the impacts of prenatal exposure to alcohol and other substances. Illuminate proudly teamed up with community members and professionals—as well as Governor Hickenlooper and Attorney General Coffman—to create the video. If you haven’t already, be sure to watch and share the 2018 Pass It On video here!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this September’s activities and all of you who will continue to do impactful and important work in communities across our state. Though FASD Awareness Month is only one month, Illuminate’s advocacy and work to support individuals and families impacted by FASD continues year round. To learn more about Illuminate’s FASD efforts, contact Karl Nadon at knadon@illuminatecolorado.org.

The Inaugural Illuminate Colorado Leadership Awards

At the recent 2018 Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference, three Coloradans and one Colorado-based foundation received awards for their work strengthening Colorado families. Awardees include: Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Colorado State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Marc Winokur of the Colorado State University School of Social Work, and the Zoma Foundation. The biannual conference, sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services and attended by more than 600 professionals across multiple disciplines, explored new strategies and innovative ideas for family strengthening and support.


The late Commander Lori Moriarty

The late Commander Lori Moriarty

The Lori Moriarty Leadership Award

The Lori Moriarty Leadership Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a career that exemplifies the achievements and character displayed by the late Commander Lori Moriarty. Lori Moriarty, a former Children's Trust Fund Board Member, 20 year law enforcement veteran, and founder of both the Colorado and National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, was unyielding in her dedication to prioritizing the needs of drug endangered children.

L:  Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman with the family of Lori Moriarty   R:  Cynthia Coffman and Jade Woodard

L: Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman with the family of Lori Moriarty

R: Cynthia Coffman and Jade Woodard


Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was presented with the Lori Moriarty Leadership Award in recognition of her dedication to addressing the Opioid Epidemic during her term as Colorado's Attorney General, with a continual focus on prioritizing the needs of children and families. "I can't image a greater honor than to receive an award in Lori's name. She was just the right balance between tough and gentle. She was the fulcrum between strength and compassion. She had the gift to know when to use those different emotions and characteristics to convey her message, to lead us and, most of all, to save the lives of Colorado children," said Coffman.  While accepting the award Coffman made a pledge to Lori's two young children present at the awards ceremony, along with Moriarty's wife and extended family. "I will do everything I can, in my life and in my career, to carry forward what your mom meant to all of us."


Representative Dafna Michaelson-Jenet

Representative Dafna Michaelson-Jenet

The Courageous Leadership Award 

The Courageous Leadership Award recognizes a Colorado public official for distinguished service focused on the prevention of child maltreatment and strengthening families. 

Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, unable to be present at the ceremony, was recognized with the Courageous Leadership Award for her determination in advocating for children and family issues in the Colorado Legislature including her sponsorship of House Bill 18-1064 to increase access to child sexual abuse prevention education for early childhood professionals.


Marc Winokur and Jade Woodard

Marc Winokur and Jade Woodard

The Innovative Leadership Award

The Innovative Leadership Award is presented to an individual who has made repeated significant contributions to research on preventing child maltreatment and increasing support for families over their career to advance the field.


Marc Winokur, PhD, director of the Social Work Research Center at Colorado State University was recognized with the Innovative Leadership Award for his oversight of many program evaluations and research studies ensuring quality implementation of Colorado's ground breaking child welfare and child maltreatment prevention programs including Colorado Community Response, SafeCare Colorado, Differential Response, CORE Services, Collaborative Management, Colorado IV-E Waive, and Applied Research in Child Welfare Project. "This award is a reflection of a lot of things. As a researcher at the school of social work, we are constantly reminding ourselves that the ones and twos that we are looking at on a screen are families' lives." said Winokur. "This award is for the families, for their perseverance, their resiliency and the love that they show to keep their families safe and secure."


Zoma Foundation Senior Program Officer Tiffany Perrin and Jade Woodard

Zoma Foundation Senior Program Officer Tiffany Perrin and Jade Woodard

The Catalytic Leadership Award 

The Catalytic Leadership Award honors a philanthropic partner in Colorado that is invested in accelerating efforts to prevent child maltreatment and strengthen families.


The Zoma Foundation was awarded the Catalytic Leadership Award for its work prioritizing the well-being of children and families in Colorado, including catalyzing numerous programs and projects such as the Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action. "We are so fortunate to do this work in Colorado where there are long-standing champions who have shown great leadership and vision which is beautifully illustrated in the Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action," said Tiffany Perrin, Zoma Foundation senior program officer accepting on behalf of the foundation. "We are grateful to support those who have committed their lives to strengthen families."

Inaugural Illuminate Colorado Strengthening Families Leadership Awards Recognize Coloradans Preventing Child Maltreatment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VAIL, COLORADO (September 26, 2018)  — At the 2018 Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference, three Coloradans and one Colorado-based foundation received awards for their work strengthening Colorado families. Awardees include: Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Colorado State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Marc Winokur of the Colorado State University School of Social Work, and the Zoma Foundation.

The biannual conference sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services and attended by more than 600 professionals across multiple disciplines, explored new strategies and innovative ideas for family strengthening and support. Illuminate Colorado, a statewide organization dedicated to building brighter childhoods through education, advocacy, and family support and the nonprofit responsible for organizing the conference, presented the awards. “It is my honor to work with and recognize some of Colorado’s most effective leaders in the community” said Jade Woodard, executive director for Illuminate Colorado. “Today presents an opportunity to build on the accomplishments of previous Colorado leaders, celebrate the sector’s courage and innovation, and catalyze the field,” said Woodard. With a research-based approach that emphasizes building Protective Factors in families, Illuminate Colorado works to address systemic and multi-sector issues affecting the wellbeing of children and families, collaborating with partners at the state and national level to develop powerful programs, policies, and initiatives that prevent child maltreatment and strengthen families.

The Lori Moriarty Leadership Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a career that exemplifies the achievements and character displayed by the late Commander Lori Moriarty. Lori Moriarty, a former Children’s Trust Fund Board Member, 20 year law enforcement veteran, and founder of both the Colorado and National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, was unyielding in her efforts to educate professionals on prioritizing drug endangered children. Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was presented with the Lori Moriarty Leadership Award in recognition of her dedication to addressing the Opioid Epidemic during her term as Colorado’s Attorney General, with a continual focus on prioritizing the needs of children and families. “I can’t image a greater honor than to receive an award in Lori’s name. She was just the right balance between tough and gentle. She was the fulcrum between strength and compassion. She had the gift to know when to use those different emotions and characteristics to convey her message, to lead us and, most of all, to save the lives of Colorado children” said Coffman.  While accepting the award Coffman made a pledge to Lori’s two young children present at the awards ceremony, along with Moriarty’s wife and extended family. “I will do everything I can, in my life and in my career, to carry forward what your mom meant to all of us.”

The Courageous Leadership Award recognizes a Colorado public official for distinguished service focused on the prevention of child maltreatment and strengthening families. Representative Michaelson Jenet, unable to be present at the ceremony, was recognized with the Courageous Leadership Award for her determination in advocating for children and family issues in the Colorado Legislature including her sponsorship of House Bill 18-1064 to increase access to child sexual abuse prevention education for early childhood professionals.

The Innovative Leadership Award is presented to an individual who has made repeated significant contributions to research on preventing child maltreatment and increasing support for families over their career to advance the field. Marc Winokur was recognized with the Innovative Leadership Award for his oversight of many program evaluations and research studies ensuring quality implementation of Colorado’s ground breaking child welfare and child maltreatment prevention programs including Colorado Community Response, SafeCare Colorado, Differential Response, CORE Services, Collaborative Management, Colorado IV-E Waive, and Applied Research in Child Welfare Project. “This award is a reflection of a lot of things. As a researcher at the school of social work, we are constantly reminding ourselves that the ones and twos that we are looking at on a screen are families’ lives.” said Winokur. “This award is for the families, for their perseverance, their resiliency and the love that they show to keep their families safe and secure.”

The Catalytic Leadership Award honors a philanthropic partner in Colorado that is invested in accelerating efforts to prevent child maltreatment and strengthen families.The Zoma Foundation was awarded the Catalytic Leadership Award for its work prioritizing the well-being of children and families in Colorado, including catalyzing numerous programs and projects such as the Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action. “We are so fortunate to do this work in Colorado where there are long-standing champions who have shown great leadership and vision which is beautifully illustrated in the Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action” said Tiffany Perrin, Zoma Foundation senior program officer accepting on behalf of the foundation. “We are grateful to support those who have committed their lives to strengthen families.

For a video of the full ceremony, visit https://www.facebook.com/CO4Kids/videos/422214188307002/

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Katie Facchinello, Director of Communications

Illuminate Colorado

c: 303-246-2062

Kfacchinello@illuminatecolorado.org