Surveys and focus groups conducted with Colorado families demonstrated that Colorado parents were already struggling with social connectedness and asking for support even before COVID-19 impacted Colorado, and it is likely that this reality has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. With this in mind, this month’s Keeping Families Strong COVID-19 conversation focused on building social connections. Illuminate Colorado highlighted Colorado COnnected, designed to give Coloradans the inspiration, knowledge and tools to strengthen social connection among parents.
Katie Facchinello, communications director for Illuminate Colorado shared that "Colorado has been examining social norms associated with safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children for many years. Asking questions about actual and perceived values, beliefs and behaviors associated with the prevention of child maltreatment and looking to close the gap between reality and misperception across different levels of community systems. While 50% of Colorado parents think other parents ask for help with parenting, the reality is that only one in five parents in Colorado reported asking for help with parenting and one in five said they have no one to turn to for day to day emotional support with raising children. These results have raised red flags dating back to 2016, long before the pandemic impacted Coloradans’ lives in so many ways. "
Town hall participants received a preview of the now LIVE Colorado COnnected blog which will highlight ways organizations and individuals are using the Colorado COnnected tools and building social connections right now.
"Creating social connection between community members these days requires getting connected online and offline carefully. According to community organizations in Colorado that have successfully brought community members together prior to the onset of the pandemic, individuals are generally more responsive to in-person invitations to events and programs. However, the need to physically distance and adhere to public health orders while still fostering social connections among parents requires innovation, creativity and a public will to prioritize keeping families strong right now" continued Facchinello.
Stephanie Henderson, director of child and family health and well-being for Early Childhood Partnership of Adams County (ECPAC) also shared how they have adapted their own efforts to foster social connections among parents during COVID-19 by hosting weekly virtual parent groups in English and in Spanish as well as a weekly Circle of Parents in Recovery group. Additionally, ECPAC is currently engaging in a campaign to shift social norms in their community around asking for help and reaching out to connect. Beth Crist, youth & family services consultant for the Colorado State Library also shared the many ways in which libraries are uniquely poised to and traditionally foster social connections between and provide support for families, sparking examples from other libraries in attendance about ways they have adapted their programming during the pandemic. Jefferson County Public Library started a Work From Home Facebook group and will be hosting a virtual booth at the Help Kids Thrive Conference and an outdoor StoryWalk®. Poudre River Public Library District is piloting a public office hours program to support caregivers with their children’s education and hosting activities for all ages, such as Brain Breaks and ‘Art-ober’.
Please find detailed notes from this month’s conversation here.
If you would like to get more involved in the Partnership work groups or continue to learn about building social connections and Colorado COnnected subscribe or update your content preferences and don't forget to REGISTER HERE to join us for the next Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19 conversation on Tuesday, October 27th from 3:00 - 4:00 pm!
9/9/2020 0 Comments
Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families Reimagines the Village
DENVER, CO (September 9, 2020) Colorado is one of four states chosen by the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Prevent Child Abuse America® to participate in a national effort to prove it is possible to fundamentally rethink child welfare by creating the conditions for strong, thriving families where children are free from harm.
This first-of-its-kind effort — Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-Being (Thriving Families)— will work across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to assist jurisdictions in developing more just and equitable systems that benefit all children and families and break harmful intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty.
The Thriving Families effort will include diverse community stakeholders — most importantly families with lived expertise — to help them discern and develop the supports, resources, services and approaches to meet the unique needs of their families and promote the conditions to help them thrive.
“Families are our greatest asset in ensuring that all children are safe and have what they need to thrive and succeed — especially now, during the coronavirus crisis,” said Dr. Melissa T. Merrick, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “This extraordinary moment provides an opportunity to shift the narrative from child welfare to child well-being. We must leverage this new way of thinking to develop and deliver effective and impactful community-based resources that assist families in ways which strengthen and help keep them together.”
Colorado will join teams from Nebraska, South Carolina and California/LA County in this multiyear commitment by receiving intensive technical support and resources from national partners to realize the creation of more just, equitable and humane child and family well-being systems.
Colorado’s team began forming in 2019 and work is underway through an improvement collaborative known as the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families (the Colorado Partnership). Partners are approaching this work differently than other states, as a county-administered human services system, by embracing local and creative solutions to prevent abuse or neglect of children before it ever occurs. Colorado’s approach uses the socio-ecological model stressing a shared responsibility within local and state systems, well-beyond child welfare, including, but not limited to, public health, economic development and health care systems.
“The Colorado Partnership is placing an emphasis on empowering families to be a part of this transformative work. Nothing about us without us. Together, we are focused on ensuring that every community in Colorado is creating the conditions where children are healthy, valued and thriving,” said Heather Hicks, a parent of two young children and one of many parents and caregivers involved in the leadership and workgroups of the Colorado Partnership.
The Colorado Partnership is focusing on three key priority areas:
“It does take a village to raise a child. Child maltreatment prevention happens when friends, family, neighbors, government agencies, health care providers, community organizations, associations and employers strengthen families. This pandemic is shining a light on how challenging it is to parent children and everyone needs to ask themselves how they can help parents weather life’s challenges right now,” said Jade Woodard executive director of Illuminate Colorado (Illuminate), a statewide nonprofit working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment.
Illuminate is the backbone of the Colorado Partnership and the home of the Colorado Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America®. “With support from national partners, Colorado will have an opportunity to serve as a national model for reimagining a more just and equitable village to effectively prevent child maltreatment, identifying how we can all wrap around families in the process,” continued Woodard.
The Colorado Partnership is growing every day and includes more than 150 members and supporters from organizations representing multiple state and county government agencies, Colorado Children’s Trust Fund & Colorado Early Childhood Leadership Commission, Colorado Human Services Directors Association and Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials, research and evaluation partners, nonprofit agencies, philanthropic partners, as well as parents and caregivers.
Learn more about the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families by visiting COPartnershipForThrivingFamilies.org
Illuminate Colorado Communications Director
The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families works collaboratively across the State of Colorado to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued and thriving.