We Make Children a Priority
Many national and state organizations advocate for children and youth, but budget and policy setbacks in child and youth services show that advocacy, while important, is not enough when children’s needs run up against more powerful special interests. A necessary companion strategy is to make children and youth a priority during the election cycle, not just after. Children and youth issues are much more likely to gain political attention when office seekers believe that they can gain public approval by supporting pro-children policies. We employ a multi-pronged, non-partisan approach for raise the visibility of children and youth issues.
The Tennyson Center for Children Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI), focuses on advocacy and public education that create and influence public policies, programs and systemic improvements to help children and families overcome a variety of life crises including abuse and neglect. Through leadership, lobbying, research and publications, coalition building, media outreach, and grassroots mobilization we promote civic engagement on the issues impacting Colorado’s most vulnerable children.
The Colorado Children's Caucus is supported by the Tennyson Center for Children
The Tennyson Center for Children Office of Strategic Initiatives is proud to staff the work of the Colorado Children's Caucus
. The Children’s Caucus provides a forum for all members of the Colorado General Assembly to discuss the challenges facing Colorado’s youth and work together to develop policy recommendations to strengthen families and improve the lives of children.
The Tennyson Center for Children Office of Strategic Initiatives focuses on advocacy and public education that create and influence public policies, programs and systemic improvements to help children and families overcome a variety of life crises including abuse and neglect. Through leadership, lobbying, research and publications, coalition building, media outreach, and grassroots mobilization we promote civic engagement on the issues impacting Colorado’s most vulnerable children.
Since 2004, one of Tennyson’s strategic partners in making kids a nonpartisan, national political priority has been Every Child Matters Education Fund, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization focused on making the needs of children and youth a national political priority and promoting the adoption of smart policies for children, youth and families. Tennyson Center hosts and directs the Colorado chapter of Every Child Matters working to educate and engage voters, candidates, and policy makers on the issues of poverty, health care, child care, early childhood learning, after-school programs and abuse and neglect issues.
We can’t do it alone.
We cannot end child abuse alone. The passion and philanthropic power of child advocates, nonprofit professionals, government employees, the faith community and business and community leaders must come together to make the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect a priority. That is why Tennyson is leading the creation of a Children’s Advocacy Council to shape public opinion that directly impacts the safety and well-being of Colorado’s most vulnerable children. Get Involved!
In Colorado, the number of children in poverty has more than doubled since 2000 and the number of children living in extreme poverty has increased 150 percent. A federal government's Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect released in January 2010, found that abuse is three times more common in poor families and neglect is seven times more common in poor families. Indeed, this national trend can be found right here in Colorado. During the state fiscal year 2010-11, 11,905 children were involved in child welfare system and the incidence of neglect far out way those of physical or sexual abuse. In fact, there were 9,220 incidences of neglect or deprivation of necessities as compared to 1,450 incidence of physical abuse and 1,085 incidences of sexual abuse.
Sadly, for those children who never find a forever family and age-out of our child welfare system their futures are not often bright. National research suggests that 1 in 4 former foster youth will be incarcerated within two years of leaving the foster care system and 1 in 5 former foster youth will become homeless. Once involved in the child welfare system the educational outcomes for an abused or neglected child are dismal. Approximately 58% will have a high school degree by age 19 (compared with 87% of a national comparison group of non-foster youth); and Fewer than 3 percent will receive a college degree (compared with 28% of the general population).
There are no studies or reports in Colorado to point to that ask the question, do Colorado’s abused and neglected children graduate from high school? As our state builds an initiative to ensure that all of our children read on grade level by the end of third grade, our leaders have not recognized the trauma, special needs, and barriers that Colorado’s most vulnerable children must overcome to avoid homeless, criminal behavior and the continued cycle of abuse.
We can do better.