Capitol Update: Breakfast Data Walk and Early Childhood package introduced

Written by: Riley Kitts
Date Posted: January 17, 2020

The first full week of the 2020 session is in the books! This week the legislators mostly focused on their annual SMART Act hearings. The Departments of Human Services, Public Health, Transportation, Education, etc. are required every year to present their performance plans, regulatory and legislative agendas, and budget requests, and then the senators and representatives get to ask them questions about how they are doing. Just one of our government’s many checks and balances!

The Children’s Campaign also held our annual Breakfast Data Walk at the Capitol, and it was a smash hit! This year’s topic was Ten Trends in Child Well-Being: What every policymaker should know about Colorado’s kids in 2020. It was a packed house as the legislators, staff members, aides, interns and advocates got to know the Children’s Campaign staff and enjoy some delicious chicken and waffles. Thank you to all who attended.

We are only 10 days into the legislative session and already more than 250 bills have been introduced. Next week we will be supporting House Bill 1006, a bill to officially establish an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program in our state. These mental health consultants provide support and guidance in areas such as behavior management, classroom management, skill building, and social emotional development. With this bill, we can help ensure that the many providers and caregivers that work with children have the support they need to foster healthy young minds.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (McCluskie & Sirota/Pettersen & Story)

This bill would bolster the state-managed early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) program by establishing program infrastructure, quality metrics, and evaluation requirements. It would help ensure sustainable funding, define and enhance program structure and design, maintain and support a qualified ECMHC workforce, and ensure quality services in the state-managed ECMHC program. Read more about the bill and its progress through the legislature here.

Early Childhood Educator Tax Credit Clean Up (Buckner & Wilson/Todd & Priola)

The bill is a technical clean-up bill and would address a drafting error in last year’s bipartisan early childhood educator tax credit bill (HB19-1005) and would be implemented as planned this tax year. The tax credit is tied to an educator’s credential level and is available at qualified licensed homes and centers. Read more about the bill and its progress through the legislature here.

Supporting Early Childhood Education Workforce (Sirota & Wilson/Story)

This bill would improve Colorado’s career and education pathways to becoming a qualified early childhood educator by streamlining qualifications systems, investing in recruitment and retention efforts, and creating an apprenticeship programs for aspiring early childhood educators. Read more about the bill and its progress through the legislature here.

Cost of Living Adjustment for Basic Cash Assistance (Fields & Moreno/Coleman and Duran)

This bill would increase Basic Cash Assistance (BCA) in the TANF program to help narrow the gap created by the fact that BCA has not adjusted for cost of living since the program was created in 1996. It would also implement an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) to BCA moving forward so that the value of BCA does not continue to erode in the future. Read more about the bill and its progress through the legislature here.