Topic: Advocacy

Kempe Launches New Ambassadors Group

This summer, Kempe launched Kempe Ambassadors, a group of individuals who have expressed support for the work of Kempe, and a willingness to introduce others to the organization and the cause of keeping children safe from abuse and neglect.

Kempe Ambassadors serve as advocates for Kempe in the community, attend quarterly events to learn more about The Kempe Center’s work, make a financial commitment, and help to grow Kempe’s network of support by connecting the organization with individuals and businesses in the community.

 

Keeping Children at the Forefront of Marijuana Regulation

Since 2014, recreational use of marijuana has been legal in Colorado for people over the age of 21. This change does not come without potential consequences for our children.

Kempe continues to be at the forefront of discussions regarding regulation and legislation related to the safety, health and wellbeing of our children – particularly as Colorado determines how it will regulate this emerging industry.

“What is challenging about the recreational marijuana industry is that we don’t yet know the long term impacts it may have on our children,” says John Faught, Kempe’s President & CEO. “Right now, the state is trying to strike a reasonable balance between protecting the public and allowing this to be a viable, responsible industry.”

Kempe’s approach to public policy is to be balanced in its positions, but where children are concerned, the state must be vigilant about making sure we are keeping kids safe. With this in mind, Kempe advocated at the capitol this year for several laws to protect kids from the unintended consequences of marijuana.

Kempe worked closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to pass HB 1436 – prohibiting edibles from being in the shape of animals, fruit or humans. This bill was particularly important in the effort to keep kids safe as edibles can often be difficult for children to identify and are often similar in shape, taste and color to candy and other sweet treats. Dr. Des Runyan and John Faught both testified in support of the bill.

Kempe also worked with Smart Colorado to support SB16-080 – requiring any medical marijuana grow operation to be locked to restrict access to those under the age of 21 unless an individual is 18 years old and holds a medical marijuana card.

In addition, Kempe was again at the table crafting legislation to expand the definitions of “abuse” and “child abuse or neglect” in regards to children’s exposure to controlled substances. The final version of the bill won the support of the Cannabis Patients Alliance and the neutrality of the Drug Policy Alliance. Despite bipartisan support in the House and a 4-1 vote out of the Senate State Affairs Committee, this bill was killed before the end of the legislative session. This is an important issue that will continue to be a priority for Kempe.

Outside of the legislative session, Kempe has joined Children’s Hospital Colorado, Smart Colorado, Illuminate Colorado, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Revenue, the Governor’s Office, the Association of Police Chiefs, Healthier Colorado, the American Heart Association, local public health officials, and others to discuss a potential coalition focused on ensuring further marijuana regulations keep the health and safety of kids and families a top priority. The group is using these meetings to share information on local, state and federal legislation and policy related to marijuana.

Finally, John Faught was assigned to serve on two of the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s rulemaking work groups. One of the groups focuses on the testing, packaging, labeling and administrative process, while the other focuses on the legislative implementation of policy. MED conducted its rulemaking hearing on September 2, 2016.

As discussion and regulation of the industry continues, Kempe will identify other opportunities to engage on behalf of children and families. For example, the Kempe Center is working to identify potential research gaps and opportunities related to marijuana and kids and will seek funding for that research.

The Governor has set as a priority addressing the “grey” market in Colorado – legally home-grown marijuana that is sometimes sold illegally.

“The grey market presents a specific risk to children as it is more difficult to regulate and control,” says Faught. “We understand the rights of Colorado citizens to grow limited amounts of marijuana both as caregivers and for personal use, however these grey markets present an increase in exposure and sale to our youth. We hope Coloradans will support efforts to find a sensible and safe solution.”

Kempe Partners with Colorado Department of Human Services to Fund, Expand SafeCare® Across Colorado

In May, Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Office of Early Childhood announced it had secured $5 million in funding to continue operation of SafeCare® Colorado. Through this funding, Kempe will continue managing SafeCare® on behalf of CDHS through a five-year renewable contract.

Since 2013, Kempe has partnered with the CDHS to implement SafeCare® through a multi-phase rollout. Today, SafeCare® is available in 11 community organizations in 39 counties and two tribal nations. As part of this new contract with Kempe, the SafeCare® program will expand to include two additional sites in two additional Colorado counties by the end of fiscal year 2016-2017.

Based on an internationally recognized, evidence-based, in-home parent support program, the goal of SafeCare® is to prevent families from entering or re-entering the child welfare system by providing direct skills training to parents and caregivers. SafeCare® has adopted this model to create a flexible, free and voluntary parent support program for parents and caregivers with children ages five and under who need extra support to keep their families safe and healthy.

“We are thrilled to continue our work implementing the proven best practices of the SafeCare® model in Colorado, and grateful to the Colorado Department of Human Services for entrusting Kempe to continue our management of this important and much needed program,” said Katherine L. Casillas, Ph.D., Director of SafeCare®. “Children under the age of three are at the greatest risk for being victims of fatal child abuse. The direct skills training provided through SafeCare® to the most at-risk populations in our state is needed to help reduce this risk and keep our young children safe.”

Under the new contract, the Kempe SafeCare® team will continue to fulfill the role of SafeCare® Colorado Program Intermediary, facilitating activities required to support, assist and coordinate with CDHS to monitor home visitation and related services performed through the SafeCare® program.

As part of its mission to provide education, advocacy and fundraising to support the The Kempe Center, The Kempe Foundation played an integral role in securing the renewed SafeCare® contract. Throughout fiscal year 2015-2016, Kempe’s leadership advocated for funding to be renewed to support this important program.

As stated by John Faught, President & CEO of The Kempe Foundation, “We are very gratified that The Kempe Center will continue management of the SafeCare® Colorado program as the team in place represents the highest caliber of expertise within the child advocacy arena. Their knowledge and vision for this program are integral to keeping children safe in our state.”

Visit safecareco.co4kids.org to learn more.

New SafeCare® Colorado Sites

  • Ute Mountain Ute program, serving tribal families who reside on the Ute Mountain Ute or Southern Ute reservations, as well as any registered member of a federally recognized tribe in the southwestern corner of the state who may not be living on either reservation.
  • Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, serving Moffat and Routt counties.

Continued SafeCare® Colorado Sites

  • Baby Bear Hugs, serving Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma counties.
  • Mesa County Health Department, serving Mesa County.
    Montezuma County Public Health Department, serving Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan counties, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
  • Savio House, serving Denver County.
  • Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council, serving Arapahoe County.
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Pueblo, serving Pueblo, Custer, Huerfano, and Las Animas counties.
  • High Plains Community Health Center, serving Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, and Prowers counties.
  • The Family Tree serving Adams, Douglas, and Jefferson counties.
  • La Llave Family Resource Center, serving Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties.
  • Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, serving El Paso County.
  • North Range Behavioral Health, serving Weld County.

About The Kempe Foundation
For nearly 40 years, The Kempe Foundation has provided the education, advocacy and fundraising to support the The Kempe Center. Through the work we do under our four CARE pillars – clinical care, advocacy, research and education – we are a part of a game-changing, paradigm shift in the way we think about, talk about and treat child abuse and neglect as a public health crisis. To learn more, visit www.kempe.org.

Kempe Receives $20,000 through the Colorado Rockies Charity Fund

Kempe recently received a $20,000 grant through the Colorado Rockies Charity Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund. The grant supports the critical work of the IMHOFF Clinic, a behavioral health clinic that provides direct services and consultations to children, families and caregivers.

“This grant enables Kempe to continue providing behavioral health services to children, families and caregivers as they deal with the consequences of abuse and neglect,” says, John Faught, President & CEO of The Kempe Foundation. “The services Kempe provides are an important step in helping children heal and lead healthy lives.”

The IMHOFF Clinic provides services that improve children’s mental health and family function, including mental health evaluation and assessments as part of treatment, individual and family therapy, and case consultation.

“Children who have experienced abuse or neglect are at a greater risk for developing depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder,” says Dr. Erika McElroy, associate director of behavioral health services at Kempe. “IMHOFF Clinic’s professional, trained staff gives our patients the tools to address these challenges and restores hope to children and their families. We are grateful to the Colorado Rockies Charity Fund for believing in our work and in our clients.”

The Colorado Rockies Charity Fund distributed $220,000 to 10 Denver-based nonprofits, including Kempe.

Kempe Making a Tremendous Difference

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Thanks to the work of thousands of individuals and organizations, including Kempe, the latest reports indicate a 40% reduction in child abuse and neglect nationally over the past two decades. While there have been tremendous advances to keeping children safe, there is still much more work to do.

The information outlined in this report shows the impact our staff is making. In the past year alone, Kempe has connected with hundreds of mental and medical health professionals, child welfare professionals, scholars and other organizations in the fight to end child abuse and neglect.

In FY 2015, Kempe staff made a tremendous difference including:

  • Providing clinical care services to 2,008 children and 632 adults
  • Securing $11 million in state grants
  • Publishing 28 articles and completing 10 research papers
  • Training 5,257 child welfare professionals

We encourage you to read more about our professionals and their impact in our 2015 Kempe CARES for Children Annual Report. Because of your support, we are able to continue this crucial work. Thank you for caring for children.

John D. Faught, JD, President & CEO, The Kempe Foundation
Desmond K. Runyan, MD, DrPH, Executive Director, The Kempe Center