Capitol Update: Colorado legislator hears bills on child care workforce and the economic recovery this week
Child care and the economic recovery were front and center at the Capitol this week! Senate Bill 236, a bipartisan bill to increase child care capacity and support the early childhood workforce was heard in the Senate Education Committee. The bill sponsors, Senators Tammy Story and Jerry Sonnenberg, did a fantastic job laying out the reasons why greater access to child care will be vital for any economic recovery to happen after this pandemic. Then, a strong panel of witnesses including providers and our friends over at the Women’s Foundation, Florence Crittenton Services, and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children really brought the bill home by highlighting their own experiences and emphasizing the need for a well-supported and well-compensated early childhood workforce. Because of their strong advocacy, the bill passed its first committee unanimously! We expect it to have strong support throughout the rest of the process.
Now that next year’s budget has been finalized, we should expect to see a lot of great bills passing to help kids and families! Be sure to check back for more updates from the Capitol.
Here are this week’s highlights. To view the bills we have been tracking this legislative session, click here.
Rapid Mental Health Response for Colorado Youth (Michaelson Jenet & Van Winkle/Buckner & Woodward)
This bill would create a temporary youth mental health services program, which would help Colorado’s youth access mental health screenings and services through a web-based application. If passed, the program would reimburse mental health providers for up to three mental health sessions with a young person. To learn more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.
Record Sealing Collateral Consequences Reduction (Weissman/Coleman & Lee)
This bill would open the process to file motions for relief from collateral consequences, increase access to representation in record sealing proceedings by creating the sealing defense fund, and create an automated sealing process for many arrest records that do not lead to a charge ever being filed. To learn more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.
Regulation of Family Child Care Homes (Valdez & Van Winkle/Smallwood & Winter)
This bill would reduce burdensome regulations family child care homes (FCCHs) face by simply requiring local regulatory entities to treat family child care homes as residences for regulatory purposes such as zoning, fire, life safety, and building codes. Given that state licensing regulations already require FCCHs to meet health and safety standards to ensure the wellbeing of all children in care, this change would prevent additional or conflicting regulations from being placed on FCCH providers above state licensing requirements. To learn more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.