2022 ELECTION GUIDE — YOUR VOICE MATTERS
The Colorado Children's Campaign has several positions on 2022 ballot measures impacting kids and family:
Colorado has made important strides toward improving conditions for kids since the Great Recession, but the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturns have threatened to set our state back in critical areas. This year’s election offers voters and candidates an opportunity to learn from previous economic downturn, and capitalize on the success and expanded accessibility of some pandemic-era social support programs -- even as the public health emergency may begin to wind down. Here are the most critical issue areas that the Colorado Children’s Campaign believes need to be uplifted with your vote this November.
QUICK JUMP LINKS
- EARLY CHILDHOOD: Access to care, preschool and family support programs help Colorado's children and families thrive.
- CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH: In order to be healthy, Colorado's kids and families need comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage.
- YOUTH SUCCESS: We must guarantee all students have access to high-quality programs and schools that are safe, supportive, and inclusive.
- FAMILY ECONOMIC PROSPERITY: Policies and practices have created and maintained inequitable opportunities for families, and particularly for families of color.
- IN YOUR DISTRICT: Learn about the state of child well-being in your Colorado State House and Senate districts.
- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Read about what we have recently accomplished, and how we strive to develop equity-informed policies.
Decades of research show that quality early care and education contribute to the development of cognitive and social-emotional skills including attentiveness, persistence, motivation, self-control, and teamwork. We know that when children are ready for school before kindergarten, they are more likely to be successful students and have better long-term life outcomes.
- Children experiencing disruptive levels of adversity during childhood can face a lifetime of challenges in overcoming these unstable foundations. Access to high quality early childhood experiences is critical in providing kids with the strong foundation they need to thrive.
- With the passage of HB22-1295 and its creation of the Colorado Universal Preschool program and the Colorado Department of Early Childhood, our state is poised to serve as a model for responsive, trauma-informed early childhood care and education programming.
The Children’s Campaign is heavily involved in the implementation process of state early childhood programs and the development of other policies which support our families’ ability to access quality care. In doing so, we continue working to ensure every child in the state will have guaranteed access to the services and programs that set our kids and families up for success.
CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH
Colorado is widely recognized as one of the healthiest states in the nation, but our systems are failing too many of our children and families. Due to important decisions made by Colorado lawmakers and the implementation of federal health reform, Colorado has made great strides in ensuring that our kids have access to health insurance. However, progress has stalled in recent years and substantial disparities remain in health insurance coverage among Colorado kids and families.
- In line with national trends, Colorado’s maternal mortality rate is rising dramatically. Structural, institutional and interpersonal racism leads to worse outcomes for perinatal people and infants of color.
- Bipartisan investments in family planning services in Colorado led to a more than 50% decline in the rate of births and abortions among young Colorado women aged 15-19 during the past decade, but our progress may be in jeopardy as more individuals travel to Colorado to access critically important abortion services, straining our reproductive health system.
- We have expanded access to healthy school foods for tens of thousands of Colorado students, but food security remains a challenge for too many Colorado families.
Colorado has been putting in place education policy aimed at creating the excellent schools needed to create the outcomes of success we want for Colorado’s kids. There is still much to do in response to the pandemic. To reach these goals, the Children’s Campaign is focused on protecting and advancing:
- A modernized, equitable school finance formula that targets investments to meet the needs of all students and improve outcomes for those who have historically faced the most barriers to opportunity;
- Increased public investment for access to affordable, culturally-responsive, and high-quality behavioral health care services and professionals throughout the state, in both school and community settings;
- Heightened focus around youth and young adult suicide factors, prevention programming, and promising policies; and
- Access to safe, healthy, and inclusive learning environments, shared understandings of the value of social emotional learning (SEL) programs, and publicly available information about student well-being and school climate in Colorado districts.
FAMILY ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
Colorado families are still suffering from the economic impacts of the pandemic and rising cost of living in our state and many are struggling to make ends meet. In addition, a history of policies and practices that have disadvantaged families of color means that poverty rates in our state vary widely based on a child’s race/ethnicity and the community in which they live.
- Colorado families in extreme poverty were struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic and are likely still the furthest from economic recovery. Extreme poverty has a profound impact on the health, well-being, and development of children and on the ability of families to meet their most basic needs.
- Even prior to the pandemic, families with children were more likely to face eviction. Due to past and current policies and practices that create more barriers to housing stability for communities of color, Black and Latinx renters are significantly more likely to face eviction.
The Children’s Campaign has helped to advance policies that support Colorado families’ ability to achieve self-sufficiency and move toward economic prosperity, and access safe, stable, affordable housing.
This is where you come in
TALK TO YOUR CANDIDATES ABOUT KIDS TODAY
Kids do better when adults put them first at the Colorado State Capitol and in Washington, D.C. With this information and much more available in KIDS COUNT in Colorado!, you can speak up for kids whether you hold office or want those who represent you to reflect your priorities.
We urge you to ask hard questions of yourself and those who represent you:
What is our responsibility to Colorado children? If some of our kids aren’t doing well, what does that say about us as a state? Should we be proud of a Colorado in which only some children can truly aim high?
Your job will be to ensure Colorado has a prosperous future. If you place children, especially very young children, and their families at the heart of your policy and public investment strategy, then we can make that happen together. We must acknowledge, though, that children of different backgrounds face greater distances to opportunity and so we must do all we can to ensure our focus begins with these children and families. How will you make kids facing the most barriers a priority?
If we want our own kids to thrive, we need to make that true for all Colorado kids. The 2022 election is an important opportunity to step in the right direction. Working together, we can ensure all our elected officials start their first day knowing the issues and opportunities facing Colorado kids. Thank you!
District Fact Sheets
These district-specific fact sheets are intended to help inform legislative candidates about child well-being in their districts. Advocates are welcome to download them and put them in the hands of candidates as well. You can find much more data, organized by county, in our annual KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report as well as the KIDS COUNT Data Center. You can access both at www.coloradokids.org/data. Find out which districts you live in using the Find My Legislator tracker.
Select your Colorado House District from the menu below to explore the data on child poverty, family economic security, early childhood, education, and health in your community.
Select your Colorado Senate District from the menu below to explore the data on child poverty, family economic security, early childhood, education, and health in your community.