(Feb. 27) – A bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton that creates a program to help coordinate a medical response to suspected child abuse passed in the House Public Health and Human Services committee today.
“This has been an important bill to work on because as a pediatrician, I ran for office to improve the resources for the children I see everyday and this bill will do just that,” said Rep. Caraveo. “Our state has limited resources when it comes to evaluating a suspected case of child abuse and neglect. We need this program because every child that may have experienced physical or sexual abuse deserves access to high-quality medical care and treatment to ensure the best outcome.”
HB19-1133 would create the Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Network (CARENetwork) within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This network would develop and maintain a standardized and coordinated medical response to a child suspected of abuse or neglect with a network of designated health care and behavioral health providers.
In 2017, over 35,000 child welfare cases were referred for investigation in Colorado. Currently, there are only six board-certified specialists in the field of child abuse pediatrics in Colorado–five in Denver and one in Colorado Springs. This leaves the other 62 counties without providers willing or able to conduct medical exams for suspected physical and sexual abuse or neglect on children.
HB19-1133 passed committee with a vote of 11-0. It now goes to the Appropriations committee.