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.
The Kempe Foundation is gearing up for an important 2018 legislative session. Throughout the summer, the Foundation has been networking with legislators and other stakeholders, laying the groundwork for policy priorities that will continue to improve the quality of life for Colorado children and families. As we head into the 2018 session, the Kempe Foundation has three primary legislative priorities:
- Strengthening our Foster Care System. The Kempe Foundation has worked with stakeholders and other partners to identify areas where better support is needed for foster care kids, parents, and families. The Child Welfare Training System continues to add modules so foster care families have the right tools and training to best serve the children in their home. We continue to be involved and generally supportive of efforts underway by the Department of Human Services as well as county department of human services to create an environment so children and families thrive in the foster care system.
- Access to Mental Health Services for Kids. Kempe was involved in the initial passage of the Colorado Child Mental Health Treatment Act to ensure families can access community, residential, and transitional treatment services without entering the child welfare system. This year the Act is up for reauthorization and Kempe is at the table in discussions as to the Act should look like moving forward. The Governor has requested additional money to fund the program in the next fiscal year so it can serve additional children.
- Budget Support for Prevention, Intervention, and Wrap Around Services. The Kempe Center is home to many amazing and impactful programs including Fostering Healthy Futures, the Child Welfare Training System and SafeCare Colorado which the Center operates in partnership with the Department of Human Services. Each year the Kempe Foundation plays an integral role ensuring continued funding for both SafeCare and the Child Welfare Training System. The Kempe Foundation also works closely with the Department to educate legislators on the importance of both programs and how the improve the quality of life for caseworkers and families alike. Kempe also supports and will support efforts to increase funding for the Tony Grampsas Youth Services grants of which Fostering Health Futures is a recipient.