What does it mean to say we want to “Stand in the Gap” for kids? It means that while Colorado has a great system to support kids and families experiencing or at risk of trauma, child abuse or neglect, there are still gaps. All of us need to work together in a fundamentally different way to fill them.

That’s why, in late 2018, Tennyson Center for Children is hosting a series of frank, powerful discussions that we’re calling the Stand in the Gap Live Sessions, beginning with the first episode, which you can now watch in its entirety.

These live shows are hosted from pivotal locations in our community and broadcasted via Facebook to thousands across Colorado and the United States. They feature honest conversations with experts, families, foster parents, caseworkers, advocates and others on the front lines of child welfare in our state. And are paired with post-show podcasts and an action-oriented Facebook Group that dives even deeper into specific child welfare issues facing our state.

Stand in the Gap Live

After surveying members of Colorado’s diverse child welfare community and government, corporate, academic, philanthropic and community leaders on relevant issues facing the system, we will initially focus our Stand in the Gap Live Sessions on these topics:

  • Foster care and kids who have aged out of the child welfare system — watch Episode 1 on this topic
  • Unique challenges faced by children of color and LGBTQ youth within the system — watch Episode 2 on this topic on Feb. 26, 2019
  • The tangled legal web surrounding the child welfare system
  • Mental health crises commonly encountered by families and kids in the system, including increased rates of suicide

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Creating Better Outcomes for At-Risk Youth

Our goal for these sessions will both help people to understand how the child welfare system currently works and open a dialogue around how we can work together, as a community, to create even better outcomes for children and families who are either at-risk or have endured trauma.

Sector leaders are forging ahead with new ideas and programs set to tackle current challenges in Colorado’s child welfare system, and “Standing in the Gap” will illuminate these initiatives and highlight ways people interested in standing in support of children can engage to make Colorado even better.

Finding Solutions for Colorado’s Kids and Troubled Teens

Our ultimate dialogue goals are to:

  • Allow people at all levels of the child welfare system to be seen and heard — most are not seen and should be
  • Illuminate both challenges and creative solutions being tested across Colorado
  • Look for synergies and allies in our collective fight to ensure all kids and families in need of support get what they need, when they need it

Impact of Childhood Trauma in Colorado

Colorado is facing enormous challenges as we grapple with the effects of childhood trauma.

Child welfare referrals have increased 46% over the past 10 years, while our state’s child abuse and neglect hotline (1-844-CO-4-KIDS) ended 2017 with a record 211,554 calls. And the consequences of inaction are considerable. Adults with unprocessed childhood trauma are disproportionately homeless, unemployed, at far greater risk of suicide and addiction, have PTSD rates six times that of the U.S. population and are under-educated and incarcerated at alarming rates.


As school begins, most kids want new outfits and backpacks. Many of the kids we serve don’t even have access to proper vision and hearing services. Adrian Lucero is working to fix that — and you can help.


For kids in our residential treatment program, Tennyson Center is often a last resort. Abuse, neglect, trauma, mental health or developmental issues — they’ve typically experienced it all. But as Joe will tell you, there’s hope for each and every one of them.

As school begins, your donation can help keep talented practitioners like Joe where they belong — under our roof, helping Colorado’s most vulnerable kids.


It’s on all of us to teach Colorado kids empathy. The Tennyson Center for Children’s internship program, which allows high school students like Abagail to work with childhood victims of abuse, neglect and trauma, was built to do just that.

As kids go back to school, your donation will continue to provide access to this opportunity that is life-changing for the interns and TCC kids alike.