Kempe Advocacy Network Update Header
Kempe Hosts Legislative Reception
On Jan. 11, the 71st General Assembly kicked off the 120-day legislative session in Colorado. On Jan. 30, Kempe invited all legislators to attend a reception to learn about priority areas for keeping children and families safe. The event was hosted by The Kempe Foundation & Legislative Co-Hosts Sen. Vicki Marble, Sen. John Kefalas, Rep. Janet Buckner and Rep. Dan Nordberg. See more photos from the event on Facebook.
Priority: Healthy Families and Military Preparedness Act
Kempe has worked with several legislators and other stakeholders to introduce SB 028 authorizing state and county departments of human services to enter in to MOU's with military installations for the purpose of better serving children and families within the military and child welfare system. The legislation also requires county departments of human services to share information with Department of Defense military installations regarding assessments of known or suspected instances of child abuse and neglect that involve members of the Armed Forces. 

Status: INTRODUCED, passed 5-0 in the Senate Health & Human Services  Committee

Priority: Keeping Children at the Forefront of Marijuana Regulation 
Kempe continues to be active in a coalition of child safety, public health and child advocacy organizations to collaborate and communicate about marijuana policy issues. At the start of the session, Kempe convened a meeting of the core team members to focus on messaging key policy issues at the Capitol this year.

The Governor's Office is expected to propose legislation focused on curbing grey market marijuana activities. This will include capping the number of plants that can be grown by healthcare providers, closing loopholes, and providing resources to rural communities for the purpose of marijuana enforcement activities. Kempe's Advocacy Committee is keeping a close eye on this and other potential legislation related to keeping children at the forefront of marijuana regulation.

Priority: Improving the Child Welfare System
Kempe is tracking SB 016, a bill that makes Child Protection Teams optional for counties. Proposed by the legislative audit committee, the legislation will revise a current law requiring all counties receiving more than 50 referrals related to child abuse or neglect to form a Child Protection Team to publicly review the assessments made by child welfare staff and make recommendations about particular cases and the child welfare system generally. With the Support of the Department of Human Services, Counties requested legislation to remove this requirement as they did not feel it was working as intended. Kempe has reviewed the legislation, and although we generally support Child Protection Teams, we are open to reworking the current system to improve outcomes for children and families. 
Priority: Expanding Research to Address Child Abuse and Children's Exposure to Violence Among Military Families
Given the serious and long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect and the risk factors specific to military families, Kempe and a coalition of supporting institutions are advocating for
research funding under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). This would allow researchers to better understand the unique elements of abuse and neglect in the context of the military, including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. 

The fiscal year 2017 House Defense Appropriations bill included language directing the Department of Defense to conduct a study on the recent increase of child abuse and neglect among military personnel and provide a report to Congress recommending strategies to address this problem. 

Moving forward, Kempe and the coalition of supporting institutions are requesting $8 million in the fiscal year 2018 Defense Appropriations Bill for peer-reviewed research on child abuse and children's exposure to violence.

For more information about The Kempe Foundation Advocacy Network contact John Faught.