When families, organizations, communities and policy makers focus on building protective factors, we can effectively prevent child maltreatment and keep families strong during the pandemic and beyond. Last week, state legislators concluded the 2021 legislative session–which included some crucial wins for Colorado families.
Thank you to the Governor, legislators, staffers, advocates and community partners for their work to make the session so successful.
Highlights from the 2021 Colorado Legislative Session:
- Almost all of last year’s budget cuts to critical family strengthening supports were restored including state funding for Family Resource Centers, the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Program, The Colorado Children’s Trust Fund, evidence-based Home Visiting Programs, the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP), Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Network, the Child Fatality Prevention System, Comprehensive Sexual Education, Family Planning Program, the Child Care Services and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Pilot Program, and the High Risk Pregnant Women Program.
- The passage of HB21-1311 was a big win for family economic security. HB21-1311, Income Tax, expands the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and funds the Colorado Child Tax Credit (CTC), among numerous other provisions. The EITC and CTC are two of the most well-researched mechanisms for reducing childhood poverty. Refundable state EITCs are documented to reduce foster care entry rates, child maltreatment, and rates of abusive head trauma.
- The passage of both SB21-073 and SB21-088 made important progress toward preventing and appropriately responding to child sexual abuse. SB21-073 removes the statute of limitations and other restrictions on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct, allowing child and adult survivors time to heal so that they may access the civil legal system and monetary resources to thrive into adulthood after surviving sexual abuse. SB21-088 creates a new civil cause of action for any person sexually abused in Colorado while participating in a youth program as a child, ensuring that all survivors of child sexual abuse, including those who have delayed disclosing abuse into adulthood, have the opportunity to hold culpable and complicit individuals and organizations accountable.
The Work Continues
Advancing systemic improvements and policy change requires year-long collaboration. Below are just a few areas that require immediate attention to advance the 2021 Illuminating Agenda. We will all need to:
- Ensure Colorado makes practical investments in child maltreatment prevention using the billions of dollars the state will be receiving from the 2021 American Rescue Plan
- Ensure Colorado makes practical investments in tailored, specialized services for families impacted by substance use using opioid settlement funds at the state and local level
- Continue to advocate for family economic security and family friendly work policies, including livable wages for Colorado families.
- Continue to prioritize resources for adult education about child sexual abuse prevention.
- Advocate federally:
- For increased investments in proven child maltreatment prevention programs and services through MIECHV, CBCAP, and CAPTA
- To advance Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) research, prevention, and services at the federal level through the FASD Respect Act
Review the 2021 Policy Agenda
Download the complete 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda, highlighting specific protective factors each policy solution builds in Colorado.
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