Bill by Senator Newell to improve child protection system signed into law today
DENVER— Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1181, a bill to improve Colorado’s child protection system, today. Senator Linda Newell (D–Littleton) and Representative John Kefalas (D–Fort Collins) were the sponsors of House Bill 1181. Newell and Kefalas have been continual advocates of Colorado children and have worked together on to many occasions make important changes to child protection laws.
Senator Newell offered the following comment on the signing of House Bill 1181 into law:
“We should always strive to improve how we protect children in our state. The more we do to empower child protection workers, the more likely it is that we can prevent future child deaths. Having spent several years working to improve our child protection system, it is gratifying to see real progress and real improvements that will protect kids.”
Representative Kefalas offered the following comment on the signing of his bill by Governor Hickenlooper:
“One of our core responsibilities as legislators is to protect children. This bill greatly improves our child fatality review process by focusing on system improvement and promoting collaboration between county and state child welfare agencies.”
House Bill 1181 improves the investigation process following an incident of child fatality due to abuse and neglect when there has been prior county involvement. The second leading cause of death for children under the age of five is child maltreatment. Current rules state that the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) should conduct a review of cases where the county was involved prior to the child’s death. The bill empowers the Child Fatality Review Team, a group within CDHS, to conduct effective and timely investigations by ensuring that county departments report fatalities within 24 hours.
This law builds on collaborative efforts between state departments, counties and community-based groups to make system changes in response to child fatalities. The state review team will be comprised of members from CDHS, CDPHE, county department representatives and additional members of other relevant fields.