Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention

The Need

Investing in Child Maltreatment Prevention is crucial for ensuring the well-being and safety of children and the establishment of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. Children who grow up happy and healthy support the vision that all Colorado’s children are valued, healthy and thriving. 

The Strategy

Funds from this activity support community-based efforts to develop, operate, expand, enhance and coordinate initiatives, programs, and activities to prevent child abuse and neglect. This includes the coordination of resources and activities to better support families and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. This activity also aims to foster understanding and appreciation for diverse populations in order to effectively prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.

Funds will support communities as they develop local plans to prevent child abuse and neglect utilizing the Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action. Seven counties recently completed their planning process: Lincoln, Kit Carson, La Plata, Pueblo, Gunnison, Prowers and Broomfield. 

There are currently 28 counties with local plans, and this activity will support a portion of those counties to implement their child maltreatment prevention plans. Adams, Jefferson, Montezuma, Teller and Prowers counties were selected for federal fiscal year 2023.

CDEC recognizes the value of family participation and engaging the voices of those with lived systems experience. Funds from this activity support the CDEC Family Voice Council consisting of parents and caregivers who share experience, advocate for child and family needs, and develop skills in outreach and advocacy. 

CBCAP funding also supports the expansion of HealthySteps, an evidence-based program that partners with pediatric primary care offices to serve babies and toddlers in low-income families with Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), or without insurance. By partnering with pediatric primary care, HealthySteps brings focus to the key social, emotional and cognitive skills important to healthy development.

Key Outcomes and Learnings

Colorado uses a multi-pronged approach to support communities as they advocate for systemic change through Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP). By developing the Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action, Colorado has created a tool to guide strategic thinking, at the state and local level, about resource investments to prevent child maltreatment and promote child well-being. As this tool is used across the state, the resulting alignment of strategies will maximize the impact on shared outcomes.

The CDEC Family Voice Council consistently provides a space for parents and family members with lived experience to share their feedback, insights and guidance on early childhood programs and supports. Their work has included:

  • increasing family involvement and participation in the design and delivery of early childhood programs;
  • participating in state-level processes including reviewing grants and proposals; 
  • leveraging their experiences and expertise to improve child and family outcomes by providing actionable and strategic feedback to CDEC; 
  • providing feedback on statewide work including the Early Childhood Colorado Framework and the Statewide Early Childhood Strategic Plan; and
  • creating connections between council members and CDEC to share knowledge and resources. 

The HealthySteps program is now located in 28 sites and with 7 more sites anticipated by the end of 2024. The goal of this effort was to increase the number of families served by 900, with a target aggregate number across all HealthySteps sites of 37,416 families by September 30, 2023. The program achieved this goal and served a total of 38,103 families.

plum-colored gear graphic with the words family strengthening


Amount: $4,200,999 

Source: Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) American Rescue Plan Funds

Expiration: September 30, 2025

Next Steps

CBCAP will support up to 10 communities to implement strategies identified in their Child Maltreatment Plan. 

Key expenditures will continue across systems-level, programmatic, and direct service supports to leverage child abuse prevention and family strengthening work across Colorado.


Project Partnerships

CDEC has invested CBCAP stimulus funding directly into community-based efforts to create local child abuse prevention plans.

  • American Rescue Plan funding will also support the dissemination of a Social Norming/Social Connections Awareness Campaign developed in collaboration with the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families. The updated Colorado Connected Campaign can be found at COConnected.org. This is a project that builds on the needs highlighted in the Essentials for Childhood initiative. 
  • Circle of Parents is a peer-support and mutual self-help program that provides safe, confidential, and non-judgmental spaces for parents to share and learn from other parents and build upon their own strengths and leadership skills. Need for this program was highlighted by participants in our Colorado Fatherhood Program.
  • Family Connects, a universal home visiting program, ensures that there is an entry point to essential support services for all families in a community – not just those at risk. The Colorado Home Visiting Investment Task Force recommended the inclusion of Family Connects in Colorado's home visiting continuum.
  • Early childhood mental health consultants offer the Seedlings training to help parents develop resilience skills to address trauma history. Stimulus funds will support the evaluation of the work to inform future direction and development.