Congratulations to the 2017 Kempe Honor Award Winners

On Saturday, April 22, during Kempe Imagine – a signature dinner event honoring the 45-year history of Kempe and celebrating its vision for the future – Kempe was proud to recognize three individuals as the 2017 Kempe Honor Award winners.

In honor of his 40-year career dedicated to keeping children and families safe, healthy and supported, Kempe awarded David Olds, Ph.D. the 2017 Kempe Professional Award. Dr. Olds is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver where he directs the Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health. He is also the creator of the Nurse-Family Partnership Program, a leading model in maternal-child health programs being implemented in communities across the country. His dedication to the field is unparalleled and we are grateful for all he has done in support of children and families.

For their similar passion for causes devoted to children and education, Kempe recognized Blair and Kristin Richardson as the 2017 Imhoff Family Community Award winners. For 22 years, Blair and Kristin have demonstrated a philanthropic commitment to the Denver community contributing their time, talent and treasure to numerous organizations and causes. The values of the Richardson family and their foundation are aligned with the importance of family, community building and providing opportunity to all children regardless of economic circumstances. We are grateful for their ongoing support of Kempe and other like-minded organizations.

A letter from Des Runyan: 7 Steps to Prevent Child Abuse

Every year, since 1983, The US has designated April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.  This annual public awareness campaign seeks to educate the public about the problems of child abuse and neglect. Committed agencies and professionals hold public gatherings, place pinwheels and ribbons in public places, and create public service announcements to bring attention to abuse and neglect. Usually, we talking to the choir- our April gatherings are attended by the professionals we work with every day. Surveys of the public indicate that over 97% already recognize child abuse as a problem. Our calling attention to child abuse isn’t fixing it.  We need some additional substantive steps to reduce the burden of 7.2 million children reported to authorities in 2015 with 683,000 children confirmed as abused or neglected by social service agencies. The key to effective prevention is engineering the family environment to support and protect children and their parents. Here are 7 concrete steps we must take to really prevent child abuse and neglect:

  • Reduce domestic violence: Data from longitudinal studies are clear, both men and women are perpetrators and victims of intimate partner violence (ipv) and households where there is IPV are at increased risk for physical and psychological abuse perpetrated by both the perpetrators and the victims of IPV. We are moving the needle on this one, IPV has fallen over 70% in the US since 1993. Continued efforts to reduce violence between partners really benefits children.
  • Build social networks among young families: Isolation, post-partum depression, poverty, and stress are a deadly in combination. Humans are social animals. Support in terms of: group well child care, expanded community engagement and other efforts to support new families and establish connections will reduce the risk of harm.
  • Get serious about reducing prenatal exposure to substances by enhancing screening and treatment: Alcohol is a clear and established threat to the development of young children and it interferes with effective parenting. Much less research has been done with prenatal exposure to marijuana but the studies to date indicate increased risks to the fetus in terms of subsequent mental retardation. Both substances can interfere with parental caregiving. Screening and treatment done in a non-punitive manner are much more likely to help the child and sustain families.
  • Make access to home visitors such as public health nurses or SafeCare counselors routine for all new parents under 22 years of age triggered by the registrations of births: The Nurse Family Partnership and SafeCare are two home visiting programs for families with young children that have been shown to have many benefits in terms of reduced use of medical care, greater child safety, and better outcomes for mothers.  Both are well established in Colorado but only about a third of families offered these services use them. We need to link these services to newborn nurseries and doctor’s offices and make the benefits clear to the participants.
  • Advance girl’s education: The strong correlation between maternal years of education and rates of harsh punishment and shaking of their young children is clear. We need programs and policies that keep girls in school and help complete their education. Not only are children get maltreated less by more educated parents, they have advanced communication skills, finish school at higher rates, and have lower rates of other adverse childhood experiences.
  • Delay childbearing: Closely related to number 1, teens who have access to Long-acting reversible contraceptives and who delay childbearing until after age 20 are less likely to use harsh punishment, are more empathetic to their children’s needs, and have higher incomes. Their children are much more likely to prosper.
  • Establish family-friendly business practices: Kids need parental investment and care.  Paid maternal leave has been shown to significantly reduce shaken baby syndrome and the benefits of parents being able to attend school functions, teacher conferences, and child sports activities are well-known.

So, let’s make April the start of some very concrete steps that will reduce child abuse. I realize that this might put our Kempe Center out of business but won’t that be great for kids and society when we are no longer needed.

Des Runyan, MD

Executive Director, The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect

Spring 2017 CARE Chronicles Now Available

The Spring 2017 CARE Chronicles newsletter is now available. Download your copy now.

Included in the issue:

  • Hunter’s story of transforming pain into power
  • Stephen’s story of moving from acceptance to integration
  • An overview of our activities during Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • Save-the-Date for the 2017 Kempe Golf Tournament

Kempe Has Big Impact in Fiscal Year 2016

kempe-AR-CoverPic-FNL_Page_1Fiscal Year 2016 was an exciting year at Kempe. Our work has grown in response to needs in Colorado, as well as in the field of child abuse and neglect nationally and internationally.

Locally, we continued our strong partnerships with Colorado Department of Human Services, Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus and countless counties across the state.

Nationally, we continued to push for increases in the funding that is allocated for child abuse and neglect research within the Federal budget.

We also launched The Starling Project, a grassroots cause campaign designed to bring individuals and communities together to end child abuse and neglect.

We invite you to learn more about our impact in our FY 2016 Annual Report.

All of these efforts, and many more, were made possible by the countless donors, partners and community leaders who have made a commitment to eradicating child abuse and neglect.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

John Faught
President & CEO
The Kempe Foundation

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.

If you would like to learn more about Kempe Ambassadors, please contact John Faught at 303.864.5304.

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 Making a Tremendous Difference

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

Rendered Speechless – Remember Kempe on CO Gives Day!

Not long ago, a resilient Colorado family voiced their thanks and gratitude toward Kempe in helping their 10 year-old cousin find the strength to overcome the overwhelming obstacles she faced in childhood. The letter reads as follows:

“In June 2014, our family was introduced to The Kempe Center’s SafeStart Program. The staff were amazing; very warm, friendly, professional, always willing to lend a hand, and very genuine in helping children who have experienced neglect and abuse.

During the program, my cousin and I were truly blessed to work with a dynamic member of this team, who was always strong, honest, direct and an active listener. While she never provided us the “answers” to our varying situations or concerns; she had a way of making us think deeply, eventually teaching my cousin and I to become self-reflective when facing her situation. In that, my cousin learned how to be honest with herself, even when life gets too hard. Now she’s slowly beginning to acknowledge her issues and/or experiences, state her true emotions, forgive herself (when needed), and then form a plan of how to work through it.

It was nice to finally work with someone who makes you feel like a priority and is genuine in partnering with you to address difficult issues and discussions. It’s not often I am rendered speechless, however this exceptional Doctor has left a lasting impression on our family, which continues to help us reflect and grow.”

Kempe is steadfast in our commitment to ensuring an increasing number of families have the professional tools and meaningful support to overcome such adversity.

We urge YOU to donate and support Kempe’s cause on Colorado Gives Day, Tuesday December 8, by scheduling your donation HERE.

Marijuana Edible Rules – a Positive Step Forward for Kids

With Colorado’s groundbreaking decision to legalize marijuana came a wave of unintended consequences, namely an increase in the number of children who presented in emergency rooms with marijuana-related health concerns.

On Oct. 30, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) took a step forward in addressing this issue by releasing new regulations regarding medical and recreational marijuana.

As the leader of an organization dedicated to the safety and health of children, I am particularly interested in the regulations regarding the labeling and packaging of edibles. By the nature of how edibles are marketed, they are more appealing to children. And, with more than 300 different marijuana-infused edibles on the market, and sales of more than 4.8 million edible products in 2014 alone, we need a clear way for parents, caregivers, teachers, law enforcement and children themselves to identify these products and prevent unintentional ingestion.

The new rules contain promising provisions to keep our children safe. By October 2016, edibles must be packaged in child-resistant packaging, and will include an easily identifiable Universal Symbol and warning to “keep out of the reach of children.”

We appreciate the work of MED as they prioritized the safety and protection of the public while considering the business interests of the marijuana industry. This is a difficult path and is complicated further by the fact that other states are watching Colorado’s every move in this area.

We won’t know how effective these new provisions will be until after they are implemented next year, but we are encouraged by the work of our policy makers in taking a positive step forward.

John Faught is President & CEO of The Kempe Foundation

Vote Yes on Proposition BB

Kempe cares about kids. That’s why we urge our supporters to vote YES on Prop BB on your statewide ballot this November. Voting YES on Proposition BB would allow the state to keep additional revenue from marijuana taxation in 2014. This money will be used to spend $40 million to fund school construction and $12 million to fund marijuana education, substance abuse treatment and prevention, youth mentoring services, and Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs at the Colorado State Fair. By voting YES on Proposition BB, we can ensure that all of the taxes collected from the marijuana taxes in the first year are used to benefit our communities. To learn more about Prop BB, go to www.voteyesonbb.org.