Colorado’s 2022 legislative session wrapped up earlier this month, and Illuminate is thrilled that all of the bills that we supported and tracked due to their capacity to strengthen families by building Protective Factors that prevent child maltreatment (as well as many others that fit within our 2022 policy priorities) have passed! 

From policies that provide families with Concrete Supports in Times of Need to those that support the Social & Emotional Competence of Children, there are many wins to celebrate for our state’s children and families!

Some highlights from this session include:

Increased Prevention Investments in the State Budget

 The 2022-2023 state budget, or “Long Bill” includes increased one-time funding ($150,000) for the Colorado Child Abuse Prevention Trust Fund (formerly called the Colorado Children’s Trust Fund) to invest in prevention strategies. Thank you to Rep. Herod and the whole Joint Budget Committee!

Continued Investment in Illuminating Child Care through HB22-1295

House Bill 1295, which establishes duties of the new Department of Early Childhood, includes a new sunset date for the state funding that supports Illuminating Child Care through 2028. Thank you to the bill sponsors, Reps. Sirota & Garnett and Sens. Buckner & Fenberg!

Enhanced Statewide Infrastructure as a Result of Multiple Bills

House Bill 1295, House Bill 1197, and House Bill 1278 are critical steps toward coordinated, cohesive, and effective early childhood and behavioral health systems by defining the duties of the new Department of Early Childhood, creating Colorado’s universal preschool program, and establishing the Behavioral Health Administration.

Improved Family Economic Security through HB22-1259 and HB22-1055

House Bill 1259 provides direct economic supports to families through improvements to the Colorado Works program, and House Bill 1055 creates a sales tax exemption for diapers and other essential hygiene products.

Expanded Access to Perinatal & Pediatric Health Care through HB22-1289

House Bill 1289 ensures access to health insurance coverage for all pregnant people and children in Colorado, regardless of immigration status and making other critical improvements to the perinatal service continuum across the state

Head over to the full 2022 legislative session recap for a closer look at these and many other legislative wins for children and families in Colorado!

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 2022 Illuminating Agenda.

We will all need to:   

    • Engage in stakeholder opportunities as part of implementation of bills that passed this session, especially: 
    • Get involved in the campaign efforts to encourage Coloradans to vote ‘yes’ on the ballot question referred to voters by House Bill 22-1414 Healthy Meals for All Public School Students to provide long-term funding that will ensure that our state’s students have long-term access to school meals by limiting state income tax deductions for people earning more than $300,000 a year.
    • Continue to advocate for primary prevention in federal and state budgets by investing in proven services and professional education that support families and keep kids safe–especially for preschool, child care, evidence-based home visiting programs, family resource centers, afterschool programs, medical and behavioral health care, and child sexual abuse prevention programs
      • This includes advocating federally for increased investments in proven child maltreatment prevention programs and services through MIECHV, CBCAP, and CAPTA
    • Continue to advocate for family economic security–especially access to housing, food, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and tax credits
    • Continue to advocate for family friendly work policies, including livable wages for Colorado families.
    • Continue to advocate for expanded support for families impacted by intellectual and developmental disabilities, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders 
    • Continue to advocate for expanded  support for families impacted by intimate partner violence
    • Continue to advocate for equitable access to services to support healing and recovery

We are so grateful to the many community partners for their leadership and advocacy, to the legislators who sponsored and/or voted in support, and to all of YOU for making your voices heard in order to make these family-strengthening policies a reality in our state. We hope you will join us in celebrating these wins and looking ahead to the next steps in creating and implementing policies that strengthen families and create the conditions for all of Colorado’s children and families to thrive.

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