Jul 30, 2020

Bruce Barnum joined CCLP as Development Director in April 2018. In this role, Bruce works to provide consistent and ample sources of funding for CCLP to accomplish its mission of forging pathways from poverty.

Recent articles

Recap: Special Legislative Session 2023

In the aftermath of the 2023 November election and the failure of Proposition HH, Colorado Governor Jared Polis called a special session of the Colorado General Assembly, held from November 17 to November 20.  Over the course of a fast-paced and grueling weekend of...

Systemic failure in Colorado’s PHE Unwind

During this post-COVID year of Medicaid renewals, known as the Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwind, Colorado is terminating members at rates that are among the highest in the country, many for procedural reasons.

Check out the new CCLP brand

by | Jul 30, 2020

With new leadership in place and a bold new direction at Colorado Center on Law and Policy taking shape over the past year, we decided it was also time for a new look to convey our mission, vision and values. Last summer, we began exploring some possibilities for developing a new brand identity that would reflect our work and our community in an authentic manner.

Though our connections, we became aware of an opportunity to collaborate with students at Metro State University of Denver in developing our new brand. Specifically, we reached out to Professor Martin Mendelsberg and his students in the Identity and Systems Design, Service Learning Design Class for the Fall Semester 2019. CCLP staff met with the students in this class on several occasions and shared information about our vision, mission and values. The students used this information to craft a creative cascade of innovative design ideas, and the strong identity that they saw in our work.

This opportunity to change some of our visual elements and brand colors was well timed; last August, we had begun a new process of organization-wide strategic planning. This effort resulted in updates to our vision, mission and core values. We also reorganized the structure of our organization to better reflect the nature of our work, highlighted by the new Legal Department and Legislative Department. In addition, we founded the Burnes Institute for Poverty Research at CCLP through the generosity of Don and Lynn Burnes.

Among our new core values is community engagement, whereby we hope to become a more attentive, responsive, and power-sharing organization with people in our Colorado communities. Working with the students in Professor Mendlesberg’s class last fall was a good reflection of those values, as the students brought many different perspectives from their own lived experiences to bear on the question of design and branding. We feel that this collaboration was truly valuable, and the final product is only one manifestation of that value. The process of designing and learning with these talented young people brought many things into focus for us on staff at CCLP, and we feel a strong sense of shared growth and learning with these students.

By the end of our work with the class, we had been able to view more than 90 options for different design and branding schemes. The work of narrowing and focusing was difficult indeed with so many wonderful options to choose from, but in the end one small group of students did indeed design the final look that our CCLP staff and board selected together. A special thanks to Madison Faulkner, Larissa Hill, and Eric Tofsted, whose design was selected for use. Their design evokes the colors of the Colorado flag, with a twist to make them distinct. On that basis, they designed three new colors: CCLP Orange, CCLP Blue, and CCLP Gold, that reflect the Colorado Flag palette that in turn reflects the natural beauty of our state. Look for our new colors and other design elements on our website, in our new logo, and in our many policy and research publications to come. We hope this vibrant and modern design scheme serves as an open door to people in Colorado to engage with us and our work.

– By Bruce Barnum

Recent articles

Recap: Special Legislative Session 2023

In the aftermath of the 2023 November election and the failure of Proposition HH, Colorado Governor Jared Polis called a special session of the Colorado General Assembly, held from November 17 to November 20.  Over the course of a fast-paced and grueling weekend of...

Systemic failure in Colorado’s PHE Unwind

During this post-COVID year of Medicaid renewals, known as the Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwind, Colorado is terminating members at rates that are among the highest in the country, many for procedural reasons.

HEALTH:
HEALTH FIRST COLORADO (MEDICAID)

To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.

FOOD SECURITY:
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)

Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.

FOOD SECURITY:
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR WOMEN, INFANTS AND CHILDREN (WIC)

Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.

EARLY LEARNING:
COLORADO CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CCCAP)

Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.