Governor’s budget includes key investments in child and family health, but more work remains to ensure access to family planning services

Written by: Hunter Nelson
Date Posted: January 6, 2023

Gov. Polis’s proposed state budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24 includes key investments in child and family health, including Medicaid coverage for doula services and donor breast milk, provider rate increases, and improvements in Medicaid access for youth in the child welfare system. However, the proposed budget to support high-quality, confidential family planning programs does not adequately meet the growing and urgent need for these services. 

All Colorado children, pregnant people, and families deserve access to adequate and affordable health care, family planning services, and maternal health resources. The Children’s Campaign is pleased to see that Gov. Polis’s proposed state budget includes meaningful investments to help make these achievable for all Coloradans. These include the following: 

  • $1.3 million to provide Medicaid coverage for doula services and donor breast milk 
  • $192 million for provider rate increases and the elimination of Medicaid copayments, including $5.6 million for women’s health and family planning providers 
  • $10.5 million for behavioral health programs provided through Colorado’s seven Regional Accountable Entities (RAEs) 
  • $541,573 for job positions dedicated to ensuring that child welfare youth maintain their Medicaid coverage continuously 
  • $4 million to enhance critical services for children with complex and co-occurring needs 
  • $395,000 to increase the number of children served by Early Intervention (EI) programs 
  • $5.5 million to support mental health services for children and youth 
  • $554,000 to manage EpiTrax, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s new disease surveillance system 

We look forward to continued engagement in the budget process – especially in efforts to provide additional resources to our state family planning program.  

The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe vs. Wade has limited access to abortion care across the country. Thankfully, Colorado’s strong record on protecting reproductive rights means that pregnant people from across the country can access critical abortion care in Colorado. However, as more out-of-state people come to Colorado to access the care they need, reproductive health care providers across the state are struggling to limit wait times and meet demands for family planning services. 

Colorado’s strong and well-managed public health family planning program provides high-quality, confidential services on a sliding fee scale. Unfortunately, federal funding for this program has not increased over the last several years. The legislature should meet this moment by increasing our state investment in this program to provide high-quality family planning services to more people across the state.   

You can follow the budget process on the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) schedule. We invite you to join us at the JBC on Feb. 1 to lend your voice by testifying in support of additional funding for family planning services across the state. Contact our Policy Analyst, Hunter Nelson, at hunter@coloradokids.org to learn more about this opportunity and other ways to engage.  

Hunter Nelson

About Hunter Nelson

Hunter works as a Policy Analyst at the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she supports the Children Campaign’s Vice President of Health Initiatives and other policy staff by assisting in the management of coalitions, maintaining relationships with key stakeholders, conducting relevant data collection and analysis, and coordinating policy advocacy strategies with other Children’s Campaign staff. Before coming to the Children’s Campaign, Hunter served as the Volunteer and Data Specialist for Child Advocates – Denver CASA, interned with the Bell Policy Center, and worked as a research assistant at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. She has also worked with multiple organizations serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness across Metro Denver. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Arizona State University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver.