DENVER—Today, the governor signed two crucial foster care bills meant to help reverse the growing number of kids seeking foster care in Colorado. House Bills 18-1346 and 18-1348, both sponsored by Representative Lois Landgraf (R-Colorado Springs), help protect children awaiting foster care in state-run facilities, and provide more information and funding to foster families.
“There is no greater opportunity to help make a difference than becoming a foster parent for a child in need of a home. It’s hard to imagine a child growing up without loving parents and a safe place to live, but that’s the reality today for nearly 2000 children in Colorado,” said Landgraf. “As heartbreaking as that is, I am encouraged by the legislation signed into law today which I know will help give more kids in foster care a chance at a better life.
“With some of the most comprehensive foster care policy in the nation, Colorado now becomes a national leader and, I hope, a model for other states to address this tragic epidemic.”
House Bill 18-1346 directs the Colorado commission on criminal and juvenile justice to study the issue of institutional child abuse for children and youth in facilities operated by the Department of Human Services, and provide a report with its findings and recommendations to the Colorado General Assembly. Additionally, the bill changes the definition of “institutional abuse” to include youth under the age of 21, allowing the department to gain a more accurate figure for potential abuse at its facilities.
House Bill 18-1348 authorizes foster parents to receive information about a foster child’s physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and other identified trauma needs. This includes education records, relevant information in a family service plan, placement history, and medical records. Additionally, the bill requires counties to prioritize Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) funds to foster parents who provide care to children who may not be in the custody of the county and ordinarily subject to existing funds.
Both bills take effect upon the governor’s signature.