An Update on Kempe’s Trauma-Responsive Implementation & Practice Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought persistent anxiety to Colorado’s children and families. In uncertain times like these, trauma-informed care is crucial. The Kempe Center has made great strides in training and implementing this necessary care through the Trauma-Responsive Implementation and Practice (TRIP) Program, led by Dr. Evelin Gomez. This program fosters healthy, safe and responsive environments in children, youth and family serving systems across the state. Over the past few months, TRIP has made some notable progress. The Kempe Foundation is pleased to highlight some of this progress below:

Colorado Cross-Systems Training Institute
In collaboration with the Office of Behavioral Health, The Kempe Center is implementing trauma-responsive trainings for the Colorado Cross-Systems Training Institute (CSTI). Using the TRIP model, Kempe professionals developed trauma-responsive content and coaching for CSTI’s wide-reaching audience. These instructor-led (currently virtual) and self-paced web-based trainings are targeted to all professionals who work alongside children. This spring, they will provide training and coaching for school professionals on the Trauma-Responsive Schools Theory of Change Toolkit they co-authored.

NCTSN Breakthrough Collaborative
On a national level, Kempe professionals participated in an 18-month collaborative led by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). This collaborative was a call to educators around the country to keep children in the classroom. Research revealed that referrals, the term used for sending children to the principal’s office, are not a trauma-informed practice. Kemper Elementary School, located in the Montezuma Cortez School District, was enthusiastic about joining this collaborative with the Kempe Center. Kempe provided coaching, consultation and training to the school’s staff on how to implement trauma-informed care into their discipline. When these trauma-informed, individualized strategies were put into place, the school’s referrals decreased by 80%.

Aurora Public Schools
Many schools have behavioral intervention plans (BIP) and functional behavioral analysis (FBA) approaches that aren’t fully trauma-responsive and culturally informed. To improve their practices, Aurora Public Schools invited Kempe professionals to direct a workgroup to overhaul their BIP and FBA systems. The intent is to implement strategies and procedures to focus on regulation and be more individualized, culturally responsive, and cognizant of students’ trauma backgrounds and triggers.

Rite of Passage
Rite of Passage is a nationwide network of residential treatment centers which provides programs that empower youth and families to succeed. The specific center, based out of Arizona center, serves as a home and school for children who have lived through adverse experiences. After doing an assessment of the organization’s needs, Kempe’s professionals recommended training everyone, from educators to case workers to cafeteria staff, on trauma-informed care. In order to make sure this education was thorough and sustained, Kempe trained managers, directors, and supervisors to provide ongoing trainings to staff and new hires.

Challenges for Future
Looking to the future, there are a few key challenges that Kempe professionals acknowledge. Implementing trauma-informed care requires organizational policy change. Without support from legislators, organizations don’t have the funds to support this work on their own. Further, there is much work to be done on identifying metrics and best practices for evaluation of trauma informed approaches, implementation and dissemination. To ensure that Kempe is able to address these challenges and continue this work, please consider donating to The Kempe Foundation. Your donation will go towards pushing child-focused policies forward, implementing trauma-informed care, and creating a better future for Colorado’s children and families.

Job Posting: The Kempe Foundation Seeks Chief Mission Officer

Are you “Our Person”? The Kempe Foundation is seeking a growth-focused leader, who is passionate about mission-driven work, to propel the Kempe Foundation in creating a seismic shift in addressing the wellbeing of children in the prevention of childhood trauma and imparting the most effective treatments for victims of child abuse and neglect.

Watch the message below from our CEO Jon Kruljac. If you feel he might be speaking to you, please reach out to us!

This role requires innovative thinking, collaboration, and determination to succeed. If you have the ability to turn vision into action, you may be our next Chief Mission Officer and play a pivotal role in achieving our vision for the future.

Our Chief Mission Officer will partner with the CEO to design and implement growth initiatives, including comprehensive digital and social media campaigns and products aimed at raising the organization’s profile, attracting new supporters, and increasing individual and corporate fundraising to further the mission. While you will be supported by our small but skilled team, you will be encouraged to take the lead implementing new ideas for fundraising, relationship building and increasing our brand awareness.

As a key leadership team member, you will be integrally involved in all activities to build and maintain revenue that contributes to the financial sustainability of the Foundation. This includes communications, donor database management, donor events, corporate partnerships, community partnerships, and annual giving campaigns.
To support you in your work, you will have access to our public relations firm who supports content creation, media relations, social media, graphic design, and creation of collateral.

Read the full job description and instructions for applying here.

Advancing Child-Focused Policies in 2021

As we head into the 2021 legislative session, we know this last year has been especially difficult for children and families and they need to be prioritized now more than ever. Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, there is still uncertainty around the process and priorities of the upcoming legislative session. Although Colorado’s economy has shown marked improvement, the uncertainty underlying economic forecasts coupled with potential federal stimulus will determine just how much can be accomplished in this legislative session. With this in mind, and considering input from other stakeholders, the Kempe Foundation has identified a list of child-focused issues that may be considered by the Legislature this session and are of interest to the Foundation.

  • Domestic Violence added to Children’s Code: Douglas County Human Services in partnership with Colorado Counties Inc is bringing forth legislation to define domestic abuse in the children’s code with the goal of capturing the emotional and psychological impact this behavior can have on children. The Kempe Foundation is part of a stakeholder group working on a draft bill.
  • Child Protection Ombudsman: The Child Protection Ombudsman Office plans to pursue two bills this session. First, they would like to introduce legislation that will allow the Ombudsman Office to access data held by the Child Fatality Review Team at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) so they can better address how to prevent child fatalities moving forward. The second bill would protect the Ombudsman Office and staff from having to disclose work products and also be subject to subpoenas to testify. We support both of these bill concepts.
  • Marijuana: Smart Colorado and Blue Rising are collaborating on a comprehensive bill to put in place stricter limitations on both the medical and recreational marijuana industry. Although not finalized, the legislation will seek to cap potency at 15%, control products and prohibit the use of butane, propane, and other carcinogens in marijuana products, require toxicology for all suicides and overdoses and accidental deaths, prohibit marketing to children, additional packaging requirements, and likely other provisions as well.
  • Behavioral Health: Access to behavioral health services is critically important, especially on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused increased trauma for children and families. In April 2019, the Governor created the Behavioral Health Task Force (BHTF). The Taskforce was charged with evaluating and setting a roadmap to improve the behavioral health system in the state. In September 2020, the Behavioral Health Taskforce released their behavioral health blueprint which included over 150 recommendations and findings. A main component of their recommendations is the creation of a Behavioral Health Administration (BHA). The BHA would be established as a central organization that threads together behavioral health services spread across multiple departments. This is intended to reduce fragmentation within the system and create a single point of entry for the consumer, as well as reduce administrative burden for providers.
  • Budget: Kempe also will actively engage and advocate for continued full funding of three programs the Kempe Center implements in partnership with the state: The Child Welfare Training System, SafeCare, and the CARENetwork.

The Kempe Foundation is committed to advancing child-focused policies. We will continue to provide important policy updates throughout the 2021 Legislative Session. To receive Kempe Advocacy Updates via email, please sign up here.

The Kempe Foundation Announces New CEO, Jon Kruljac

Kruljac brings nearly 30 years of past involvement with Kempe to his new role

AURORA, CO (January 5, 2021) – The Kempe Foundation is pleased to announce Jon Kruljac as the new Chief Executive Officer of The Kempe Foundation. Kruljac, a long-time advocate of the Foundation, is an accomplished, energetic and passionate leader with expertise in strategic planning and philanthropy.

“I am privileged to join such an esteemed organization that is leading efforts to achieve a safe and healthy future for children,” said Kruljac.

Kruljac has been involved with The Kempe Foundation for the last 30 years. He was first introduced to the Foundation in 1991 by Walt and Georgia Imhoff and has been a champion of their work ever since. He has remained involved with Kempe in a variety of capacities including serving as board chair and as an ambassador.

“I am honored that my journey has taken me full circle back to Kempe,” said Kruljac. “My vision for Kempe moving forward is to expand our reach and grow our spheres of influence, with the ultimate goal being for Kempe professionals to serve as many children in the community as possible.”

Prior to being named Kempe’s CEO, Kruljac had a successful career representing public companies in capital markets and investor relations spanning more than 30 years. In 1998, Kruljac started his own consulting company, Monarch Consulting Inc., where he worked with companies in women’s health care, life sciences and oil and gas exploration sectors. After merging his practice and becoming a partner at GVC Capital, he managed financing and investor communications for Colorado based oil and gas companies before retiring in 2019. In addition to his involvement with Kempe, Kruljac also served on the board of Invest in Kids from 2012 to 2020.

Kruljac follows John Faught in this position after his six years of leadership at the Foundation. Kruljac and Faught have successfully collaborated with one another over the last 25 years in a variety of capacities to further child abuse prevention and treatment efforts. Faught stepped down from his role as CEO on December 31, 2020 but continues his work with The Kempe Foundation as the Executive Director of Public Policy. He feels confident in Kruljac’s ability to move Kempe’s mission forward.

“He will make an excellent CEO. Jon has years of experience in the private sector raising funds, but more importantly, Jon has an extreme compassion for children,” said Faught.

While the Foundation is changing leadership, Kempe remains dedicated to their mission of working to achieve a safe and healthy future for children and families.

Our Impact in FY20

 

The world of a young child is small, but the world that impacts a young child is much larger. Never has that broader world impact on children been more highlighted than in the midst of a global pandemic.

Long before we learned of COVID-19, the Kempe Foundation focused on funding work that interrupts the risks surrounding a child linked to childhood trauma. With your donations, we are able to support professionals leading programs at the Kempe Center who, day in and day out, are improving the care and well-being of children by strengthening families, communities, and the systems that serve them.

Throughout FY20, we advocated for the health and safety of children in collaboration with state agencies and state legislators. We helped secure funding for SafeCare, an early intervention program proven to address family risk factors linked to childhood trauma. We reinforced support for the Kempe Center professionals who are empowering resilience among youth in the foster care system through the Fostering Healthy Futures and FHF for Teens mentoring programs. We also invested in the role schools and educators play in a child’s life by advancing the Kempe Center’s Trauma-Responsive Implementation and Practice program. Finally, we directed resources to building the capacity of local communities to provide health and behavioral health care through a network of providers identify and evaluate childhood maltreatment and trauma.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it exacerbated the stress and trauma being experienced by Colorado’s most vulnerable residents. We know the pandemic has impacted many of the children and families who interact with Kempe and has intensified the need for practices and strategies built to respond to trauma.

As a result, we pivoted our work to support the Kempe Center and professionals dedicated to serving families and children, in this new world that strained the safety nets for children. We also focused on preserving state funding for key programs to support children and families even as Colorado faces a large budget shortfall.

I hope you’ll take a moment to read our Annual Report to learn more about our work in FY20, both prior to and during the pandemic. Thank you for your support in making all of this work possible.

Sincerely,

John D. Faught, JD

CEO, The Kempe Foundation