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.

It is critical that Colorado meet the needs of pregnant women and new mothers with substance use disorders by helping them get access to what they need to take care of themselves and their families.

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More than a year ago, Illuminate Colorado and Mental Health Colorado began to pull together organizations, government agencies and child advocates to talk about how to addresses the fear, stigma, and lack of appropriate treatment options for mothers and their children. Those conversations resulted in the drafting of HB19-1193 Behavioral Health Supports For High-risk Families that will help keep families together and support healthy kids.

DOWNLOAD THE FACT SHEET - HB19-1193 Behavioral Health Supports For High-Risk Families

This bill helps increase access to great programs like Special Connections, an existing state program that supports high-risk pregnant women with substance use disorders. The program provides a two-generation approach to helping women find a path toward recovery while preventing negative outcomes for Colorado children, such as child welfare involvement and future mental health and substance use disorders.

After months of advocacy work, numerous agencies and advocates showed up on Friday, March 8th to testify in support of the bill and the result was an unanimous vote in favor of HB19-1193 in the House Public Health Care & Human Services!

Special thanks to the bill sponsors for carrying this critical piece of legislation:

Check out Rep. Herod’s live Twitter feed from the hearing to learn why this bill is so important.

You can help make this important investment in behavioral health supports for high-risk Families a reality!

Ask your organization to support HB19-1193 - The organizations supporting this bill are listed on the fact sheet distributed to Colorado legislators. If your organization would like to sign on to support HB19-1193, contact Jillian Adams at

Talk to your elected officials - Email your elected officials and let them know that you support HB19-1193. Click HERE to get your legislators contact information.

What’s next for HB19-1193:

  • Passed Unanimously in the House!

  • Upcoming schedule: Wednesday, April 23 - Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs 1:30 pm | SCR 357

  • Follow Illuminate Colorado on Twitter to stay updated on the status of the bill.

Testimonials in support of HB19-1193

We know that child care is a key component in maximizing child safety by ensuring children are cared for in a safe and developmentally appropriate manner that is sensitive to the toxic stress that they have likely experienced.
— Jade Woodard, Illuminate Colorado, Executive Director.
Investing in these kinds of programs saves money, in addition to saving lives and saving futures. We believe that expanding the program is important to ensure that in all points in time women have access to the treatment and recovery that they need.
— Nancy VanDeMark, Mental Health Colorado, Interim President and CEO
The efficacy around moms receiving care while being able to have their kids with them is very strong among the strongest body of evidence in the behavioral health/substance use research field.

“If you talk to teams who provide these services, you’ll see an incredible commitment in their work. This legislation really renews, extends and deepens that commitment to the folks who are providing such an incredible service.”
— Daniel Darting, Signal Behavioral Health Network, Executive Director
This bill will keep families together and support healthier kids.
— Commissioner Pelton, Logan County
Prevention of trauma has to be a priority.
— Bethany Pray, Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Director of Health Program
She was engaged with her newborn, she wanted treatment, and we couldn’t get her treatment because it wasn’t available because she wasn’t enrolled in Special Connections before delivering. She was discharged with child welfare, with a safety plan, but she didn’t get the treatment that she needed.
— Carol Wallman, NNP
Intensive outpatient treatment is 3 days a week for 3-5 hours a day, so women are limited to employment opportunities, which limits their income, which limits the ability to pay for child care.
— Michelle Deuto, RN, Lutheran Hospital, Recovery Nurse Advocate
We must do better by our moms, our babies and communities, and this bill is a step in the right direction.
— Megan Lyda, Colorado Perinatal Care Quality Collaborative