61 episodes

From the Colorado Children’s Campaign, The West Steps dives into the policies and politics that come out of the Colorado State Capitol. This insider guide is for outsiders who wonder how laws affect the lives of Coloradans— especially kids. Join us on The West Steps to learn how you can influence the future of Colorado.

The West Steps Colorado Children's Campaign

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 9 Ratings

From the Colorado Children’s Campaign, The West Steps dives into the policies and politics that come out of the Colorado State Capitol. This insider guide is for outsiders who wonder how laws affect the lives of Coloradans— especially kids. Join us on The West Steps to learn how you can influence the future of Colorado.

    Conversations on early care and education in Colorado EP1

    Conversations on early care and education in Colorado EP1

    The passage of Proposition EE in November 2020 provided a huge increase in the number of children able to access preschool in 2023 when it goes into effect. As with any issue like this, universal preschool cannot be implemented overnight, and stakeholders across the state immediately got to work to determine how to ensure our system will be ready for this change. It also pushed our state to think bigger about the many programs and services that exist outside of preschool, but heavily impact children, birth through five.
    The passage of House Bill 1304 earlier this year created a historic opportunity for our state to make programs and services that support children and families more aligned, removing barriers for families and early childhood professionals of all kinds. With the new department transition process underway, it is critical that the experiences and perspectives of parents and providers are amplified to effectively create a system that serves our youngest Coloradans in the best way possible. 
    Welcome back to The West Steps for the first episode of a mini-series highlighting Colorado's new Department of Early Childhood. We are joined by Diana Herrera, Director of Education and Special Education at Bal Swan Children’s Center; and Dawn Alexander, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Education Association of Colorado. Both Diana and Dawn share their roles in the new department transition process and discuss some of the issues that have arisen as advisory groups and subcommittees work to establish an early childhood system that creates the best outcomes for young children. With the new department, Colorado has a chance to set a national trend for early childhood, and we are looking forward to exploring the possibilities and milestones that take place along the way. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more episodes highlighting this exciting process. To learn more about the new Department of Early Childhood, click here. 
    Support the show (https://www.coloradokids.org/)

    • 33 min
    After over 600 bills, the 2021 Colorado legislative session ends with massive wins for kids and families

    After over 600 bills, the 2021 Colorado legislative session ends with massive wins for kids and families

    Although the 2021 legislative session felt like one of the longest to date, it ushered in tremendous progress for kids and families in Colorado. This session not only forced many to recognize the numerous cracks in our society exposed by the pandemic, it also led to the start of removing the many barriers that created those systemic issues in the first place. The Colorado Children’s Campaign saw a number of legislative wins across the health, early childhood, and K-12 front—but there is still so much more to be done. As we move toward post-pandemic recovery, we are excited to continue our work in realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. 
    In the last episode of season 3, we are joined by Riley Kitts, Government Affairs Director at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, for a final wrap up of the 2021 legislative session. Riley details the politics and policies of this session, including the many ways in which our state has begun to reinvest in the programs that lost revenue as a result of the pandemic. Riley also provides a brief overview of some of the most impactful policy wins we saw for kids this session, as well as the opportunity we have in 2022 to continue working toward legislation that creates the best possible outcome for all children. While the 2021 legislative session was only the beginning of what is to come in the future, it was undoubtedly a big step in creating a better Colorado for all kids and families.  
    Want to stay plugged in to the Colorado Children’s Campaign until next season? Stay up to date on the latest child well-being news by subscribing to our KidsFlash blog. 
    Support the show (https://www.coloradokids.org/)

    • 27 min
    Colorado Supreme Court issues affirmative ruling on a bill to fix our K-12 property tax system and here is what you need to know

    Colorado Supreme Court issues affirmative ruling on a bill to fix our K-12 property tax system and here is what you need to know

    For years, the level of funding for Colorado schools has been largely dependent on property wealth. This is primarily an unintended result of how Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment, which restricted the amount of revenue the state collected and spent, was implemented. Over time, this has created enormous inequities in the way our state collects and spends money in school districts. However, the Colorado Supreme Court recently issued a decision that will change this.  
    Leslie Colwell, VP of Education Initiatives at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, returns to The West Steps to discuss the exciting decision made this past Monday that will allow the legislature to begin correcting this longstanding issue. The passage of HB 1164 and the Supreme Court ruling that the proposed plan to waive TABOR limits is constitutional both will address a key structural problem in our revenue system for public schools. While these changes will take place over time, they will eventually result in $290 million dollars of funding for districts. This monumental decision comes after years of dedicated work and advocacy, and will hopefully lead to more targeted investments in our schools. As this transition takes place, we need you – our advocates – to speak up on behalf of your children, schools, and communities in order to ensure these funds are allocated in a manner that best prioritizes the needs of Colorado’s students. To read more about the recent Supreme Court decision, click here. 
    Support the show (https://www.coloradokids.org/)

    • 20 min
    What we get wrong about maternal behavioral health

    What we get wrong about maternal behavioral health

    The health of a child is completely dependent on the health of their parent or caregiver. That is why quality, affordable behavioral health services play a critical role in creating strong families, especially during the perinatal period. However, lack of support, inaccessible services, and systemic racism have all contributed to the rising rate of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. As out state moves toward recovery from the pandemic, creating programs that address the many disparities in our maternal health system is more important than ever for ensuring families can thrive.  
    Episode 15 of The West Steps welcomes a number of guests to the podcast. Erin Miller, VP of Health   Initiatives at the Colorado Children’s Campaign; Karla Gonzales Garcia, Policy Director at COLOR; Kelly Steinback-Tracy, Perinatal/Infant Mental Health Specialist at Denver Public Health; and Dr. Stephen Scott, OB/GYN at University of Colorado Hospital, all bring a vast array of experiences and knowledge to our discussion of maternal behavior health. Our guests provide an overview of what exactly maternal behavioral health services look like in Colorado, as well as the numerous structural barriers that make it difficult to access. Although the pandemic created additional obstacles to accessing these services, the 2021 legislative session proves to be an exciting time for maternal behavioral health. Senate Bills 27 and 137 are just two policies among many that could have an enormous impact on maternal behavioral health in our state. For more information on ways to stay engaged in moving this work forward, visit Colorado Maternal Mental Health Framework and Collaborative.  
    Support the show (https://www.coloradokids.org/)

    • 32 min
    Colorado reimagines early childhood education with a new state agency

    Colorado reimagines early childhood education with a new state agency

    High quality, accessible child care is not only necessary for helping young children thrive, but also for creating a strong and stable economy. In Colorado, our early childhood system remains fragmented and difficult to maneuver for both families and providers. Along with that, quality, availability, and cost of these services make it difficult for our providers to support families in the best way possible. These issues were only exacerbated by the pandemic, as many child care centers were forced to close their doors due to lack of funding. However, this economic fallout has led many Coloradans to finally recognize child care services as a critical part of our communities that demands the attention of our policymakers. In order to help lay a strong foundation for children's later learning and achievement, we must work towards improving and investing in our early childhood system. 
    Diane Price, President and CEO of Early Connections Learning Centers in Colorado Springs, joins us for episode 14 as we discuss the historic changes happening with early childhood in our state. After years of demanding our state government show more commitment to early care and education, Colorado is finally moving toward fixing this broken system with the introduction of HB 1304. This bill would create a new cabinet-level state agency that consolidates the various early childhood authorities, programs, and funding streams, and focuses on a unified vision of comprehensive early childhood service delivery for all children.  If passed, the bill would result in momentous change for kids and families across the state. Join us in advocating for HB 1304, and we can establish a truly unified system that lifts up early childhood to the importance it deserves.  
    To learn more about HB 1304, visit our new microsite. 
    Support the show (https://www.coloradokids.org/)

    • 24 min
    Colorado Public Option Health Benefit Plan Breakdown

    Colorado Public Option Health Benefit Plan Breakdown

    Lack of quality, affordable health insurance has the potential to create a vicious cycle of medical and financial strain for families. While more than 50 percent of Coloradans have health insurance through an employer, our state has experienced an increase in the number of individuals struggling to balance payments between medical bills, rent, and food. Along with that, longstanding systemic racism in our health care system has exacerbated health care coverage inequities among families of color. Now is the time to establish a system that pushes back against the rising cost of health insurance and eliminates inequities that continue to create negative outcomes for kids and families. The benefits of health care coverage for kids and families are enormous, and include increased high school completion rates, reduced evictions, decreased depression, and reduced maternal, infant and child mortality rates. These benefits, along with many others, make it critical for Coloradans to have access to quality, affordable health care.  
    Episode 13 of The West Steps dives into the complicated nature of health insurance access in our state. Adam Fox, Deputy Director of Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI); and Erin Miller, Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, discuss the current health care landscape and the many complexities built into it. They also explain why America's past and current “free market” approach to health insurance makes it impossible to provide cost effective coverage for all.  House Bill 1232 hopes to change this.  The bill specifically focuses the health care system in Colorado on better meeting the needs of those who have historically and systemically faced barriers to health. By implementing a standardized health plan, it will reduce expenses, make it easier for consumers to compare plans, and improve coverage for perinatal, behavioral, and primary health services. Contact your state legislator today and urge them to support policies like HB 1232 that create quality, affordable health care for all.  
    Vist CCHI for more information. 
    Support the show (https://www.coloradokids.org/)

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

OriginalKindle ,

An inside look at how policy works

I love learning from experts about policies that impact Colorado’s families. It helps me understand how to engage with issues I care about.

Stefunnyapc ,

Easy to comprehend

I think this does an incredible job of distilling really complex policy ideas and solutions.

Pricetoya ,

Relevant and timely

Awesome Colorado perspective on policies impacting kids and families!

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