One piece of legislation that we’re very excited about at The Gathering Place is HB 16-1227. This bill, which was officially signed into law on May 19th at Florence Crittenden Services by Governor Hickenlooper (with some help from a little guy at the school), makes it so that teen parents and survivors of domestic violence no longer have to file for child support in order to receive funds from the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
Before this law, filing for child support was a prerequisite to receive that funding and because of it, many parents abstained. There has been extensive research that shows that teen parents, specifically and overwhelmingly teen moms, are far more likely to drop out of high school if there is a child support enforcement mechanism involved with receiving subsidized childcare. It is similarly problematic for a survivor of domestic violence to be required to seek child support, especially if it would endanger the mother’s/child’s well-being to do so. The odds are already against teen moms when it comes to graduating from high school; indeed, only 4 in 10 will complete high school, so it is the hope that this bill will help remove some of the barriers to affordable childcare for mothers who already have so much to overcome. The logic is that hopefully, if parents have fewer obstacles to childcare, they will be more likely to use it and less likely to drop out of school in order to take care of their child.
What was so encouraging about HB 16-1227 passing is the amount of bipartisan support it received. By the time it was signed into law, it had over 40 co-sponsors from all over the political spectrum. It’s wonderful to see that, even in a particularly tumultuous political season, legislators can still come together and do good work for the sake of vulnerable populations.