Each year, there are more than 100,000 suspected cases of child abuse and neglect in Colorado. This number represents 100,000 children who deserve access to proper evaluation, diagnosis and care to ensure their physical and mental health and safety. Unfortunately, Colorado does not have the critical expertise throughout the state to provide this service.
The number of experts qualified to conduct these medical and behavioral health assessments is extremely limited. There are only six board-certified specialists in the field of child abuse pediatrics in Colorado. Five of these specialists live in Denver, and the other in Colorado Springs. Their distance to most of the state’s 64 counties limits the access our children have to expert evaluations following suspected abuse or neglect.
A new bill sponsored by Representatives Caraveo and Pelton, and Senator Fields aims to ensure all children who may have experienced physical, sexual abuse or neglect have access to high quality medical evaluations and behavioral health assessments.
HB 19-1133 creates Colorado’s Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Network (CARENetwork), a program to build local capacity by recruiting designated providers from communities across the state and training them to provide quality assessments for suspected victims of child abuse and neglect in their local communities.
These designated providers could include family care physicians, nurses, advance practice providers and behavioral health providers. Each provider will be required to complete advanced training on the signs of abuse and neglect, as well as the risk factors for maltreatment. They will also be equipped with education about the resources available to support families who present these risk factors. Not only will these providers ensure proper diagnosis and treatment, they will also serve as a bridge for families who need continued care by specialists or multi-disciplinary teams.
The CARENetwork will ultimately expand the safety net for children, and will likely contribute to a reduction in severe incidents of child abuse and neglect, including fatalities. If Colorado passes HB19-1133 and creates the CARENetwork, we will take a significant step toward improving the safety and health of babies, toddlers and young children in all Colorado communities.
Kathryn (Kathi) Wells, MD, FAAP
Executive Director | Kempe Center for the Prevention and
John D. Faught
Chief Executive Officer | The Kempe Foundation
The legislative session began on January 4 and Governor Jared Polis officially took office on January 8. The 2018 election set up a big change in the political landscape with a trifecta Democratic control of the Governor’s Office, State Senate and State House.
In opening day speeches, Democratic leaders identified state paid family medical leave, minimum wage preemption, the opioid crisis and high-quality education for all as priorities. Republican leaders pointed out that voters said no to statewide tax increases in the 2018 election and identified concerns about oil and gas restrictions, safe injection sites and restrictions on gun access.
During Governor Polis’s State of the State address, he outlined his ambitious agenda, including funding for full day kindergarten throughout Colorado and the creation of the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care to be run by Lieutenant Governor Primavera.
The Kempe Foundation also has an active agenda for the 2019 legislative session.
- Creating the Child Abuse Response & Evaluation (CARE) Network. We are continuing to promote the health and well-being of Colorado’s kids through the creation of a healthcare provider network that develops and maintains a standardized, coordinated response to children at risk of maltreatment.
- Revising the Children’s Code. Kempe is actively participating in conversations to revise the Children’s Code to protect newborns from the affects of substance exposure.
We will continue to provide updates through the 2019 Legislative Session.
The Colorado Department of Human Services(CDHS) has awarded a $4.7 million annual contract to the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect to continue running the state’s Child Welfare Training System (CWTS). Since 2013, the Kempe Center has worked alongside CDHS to revolutionize this training system through leadership and learning to positively impact Colorado’s children and families.
The Kempe Foundation has worked with legislators to ensure funding for this critical program is included in the state’s budget.
Read more on the CDHS website. See our latest update on the Child Welfare Training System.
From day one of the legislative session, we hit the ground running, reviewing bills, advocating for critical funding for Kempe programs, weighing in on important policy changes and continuing to be a resource for legislators. Click here for a summary of our involvement in the 2018 Colorado Legislative Session.
“It absolutely breaks my heart to think that kids will be mistreated and abused. I encourage anyone who sees something troubling to speak up and report it.”
Motivated daily by her six wonderful grandchildren, Representative Landgraf is determined to protect and strengthen the well-being of Colorado’s children. As the representative for Southern El Paso County which includes Fort Carson, she is focused on the mental health impacts that military deployments have on local families.
Rep. Landgraf is a sponsor of House Bill 1078, which would provide veterans with access to mental health treatment to help support their return to civilian life. This transition is stressful for every member of the family, and can often lead to higher instances of child abuse. Rep. Landgraf is also working on House Bill 1021, which would establish a task force for youth experiencing homelessness.
Watch the video below to hear more from Rep. Landgraf.