Colorado Leads the Nation in Child Maltreatment Prevention Strategy

April 27, 2017

Colorado Department of Human Services Launches Comprehensive Framework for Action to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

DENVER, April 27, 2017 — At an event in Denver this afternoon, Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) unveiled the Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action – the state’s first and most comprehensive child maltreatment plan in more than two decades. The governor also announced that 10 communities will be selected through an application process to receive financial support and technical assistance to create the first local child maltreatment prevention plans using the framework. Nearly 200 partners in the prevention of child abuse attended the launch event hosted by CDHS at History Colorado.

The purpose of the framework is to help local communities and state agencies create a more focused and measurably integrated approach to preventing child maltreatment and promoting child well-being. The Framework will guide community planning and future investment of resources to mobilize action that protects children, and will include monitoring systems to track implementation and measurable progress.

Since 2014, the CDHS Office of Early Childhood, the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, the Children’s Trust of South Carolina, and numerous Colorado agencies and partners have been working together to design a comprehensive framework that will serve as a national model for child maltreatment prevention. As part of this effort, the partners evaluated Colorado’s existing programs, services and policies that increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. The collaboration also included work over the course of a year to gather insights and feedback from parents to better understand the resources and supports they value in caring for their children.

The development and launch of this framework was funded by the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect in the Children’s Bureau, an Office of the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, and the Zoma Foundation, a new Ben and Lucy Ana Walton family charitable organization with a focus on funding initiatives that have a positive impact on early childhood development. The Zoma Foundation has committed approximately $500,000 to the initiative and is helping turn the framework into action at the state and local community level.

In addition to guiding the investment, programs and policy under CDHS’s purview, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has also adopted the Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action as a guide to inform prevention efforts. For example, Colorado’s 48 Child Fatality Prevention System local child fatality teams, supported by CDPHE, will use the framework as a guide to inform prevention efforts in their communities. The federal Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Funds for Colorado will also use the framework to develop new giving guidelines.

“This framework reaffirms the commitment of the State of Colorado to investing in effective child abuse prevention strategies and aligning services that move positive outcomes for children and families,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “In the spirit of a true public-private partnership, we will continue working hand-in-hand with our philanthropic, academic and nonprofit partners in order to ensure the safety of Colorado’s children.”

“We are grateful for Colorado’s commitment to becoming the safest state for children, and the Zoma Foundation is proud to contribute to the development of this innovative state framework that will serve as a national model for the prevention of child maltreatment,” said Ben Walton, founder of the Zoma Foundation. “This is an incredible example of what can happen when government, philanthropic and private sectors come together to create actionable and scalable solutions to important problems, and Colorado is now on the leading edge of what any state is doing to prevent maltreatment of children. Our hope is that other states will embrace the framework as well and implement it in their communities for the benefit of their children.”

Other event speakers included Deborah Daro, Ph.D., associate professor and research fellow at the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, and Mary Anne Snyder, director of the Office of Early Childhood at the Colorado Department of Human Services.

The launch of the statewide plan is the first step of this new initiative in Colorado, and will be followed by a community planning process wherein 10 Colorado communities (to be announced at a later date) will be selected to receive funding and support from the Zoma Foundation and the CDHS Office of Early Childhood. The funding and support will allow local communities to engage with the framework and tailor a local plan for prevention of child abuse and neglect. At the local level, communities can identify their unique priority areas of improvement, create corresponding action plans for each priority area, and deploy monitoring systems to track the implementation of changes and resulting progress.

The process for communities to apply for a grant to deploy the framework locally – including planning, implementing and measuring outcome indicators – will be accessible by visiting the Colorado Vendor Self Service (ColoradoVSS) website.

“This is an important milestone in our work to prevent the maltreatment of children in Colorado, and to improve the well-being of children and families,” said Snyder. “This new framework will better position our state and local communities to be more effective in our efforts to prevent abuse and neglect, and will mobilize action to ensure all our kids are valued, healthy and thriving.”

To learn more about the Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action and download a toolkit for building a community that supports families, visit the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Public Awareness Campaign website at


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Watch the entire presentation

In case you weren't able to attend the launch of Colorado's Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action, we captured the entire presentation. Community planners, policy makers and community foundations play a role in prevention by helping to build communities that support families.

Community Planning

If you are a community leader, watch this video and be sure to check out to download the complete community planning toolbox including: 

  • The Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action from the Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, which includes more information on the community action steps and sample data collection tools;
  • The Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action;
  • Parent and community survey results; and
  • A literature review by the Chapin Hall to provide states and local communities useful guidelines for selecting specific interventions and, more importantly, building an infrastructure to support high quality implementation.


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