Resources & Publications

Resource type


Date added

January 1, 2010

Filed under

Annual Report 2008-2009

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Joint letter from executive director and board president

Change has been a dominant theme at CCLP and COFPI in recent years: the economic landscape, the budget picture, the political environment, focused attention on our issues, our offices, and even our own staff.
The ongoing budget crisis, federal health reform, and the economic recession have elevated our key issues, making our work more important now than ever before. We have seen new arrivals on our team, bittersweet departures, and arguably our most successful legislative session ever.
Our founding director, Maureen Farrell-Stevenson, bid us farewell as she embarked on a wonderful new opportunity with a national child advocacy organization. Her leadership and guidance over the last decade left CCLP in the strongest position possible.
As we march ahead in our tenth year, we can’t help but think back to the beginning of CCLP, with just a couple of staff members in a cramped office, and a firm belief in the mission of working toward justice and economic security for all Coloradans.
Since then, we’ve experienced tremendous growth in the capacity, the influence, and the results of CCLP’s work. What started with a few talented and passionate people has evolved into one of Colorado’s leading research and advocacy organizations.
In 2008, we came closer than ever before to getting an earned income tax credit through the legislature. We also worked with the Governor and state leaders to take more steps toward expanding health care coverage, and embarked on a statewide outreach campaign to highlight VisionKEI, the online Colorado Self-Sufficiency Standard calculator. We continued our watchdog role as well, monitoring the State’s compliance with the CBMS settlement agreement, and working with counties to make sure they deliver life-sustaining benefits to Coloradans in need. We helped the Amendment 59 coalition with online communications, canvassing, phone banks, and visibility efforts. And we joined other members of the Colorado C3 Roundtable in an historic voter education and mobilization effort in the final days of the election, successfully fighting against bad ballot initiatives like Amendments 46 and 47, which could have turned into an all-out assault on Coloradans.
In 2009, we worked to establish a permanent legislative task force on poverty reduction (HB09-1064), protect and lift certain restrictions on benefits for legal immigrants (SB09-266, HB09-1353), expand access to health care for children and low income Coloradans (HB09-1293), strengthen and expand unemployment insurance (SB09-247) and improve foreclosure assistance for homeowners (HB09-1276). COFPI led a large coalition in repealing an outdated budget formula, the 6% Arveschoug-Bird provision, which has shackled Colorado’s ability to set budget priorities for nearly twenty years (SB09-228).
More recently, we have provided research, testimony, and technical support to the Commission on Long Term Fiscal Stability and the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force. We have been a key member of a broad coalition dedicated to passing national health care reform, and in doing so published an innovative study on health care affordability. Our findings helped inform the current debate in Congress. We have fought tooth and nail to combat misguided budget cuts, while also providing balanced revenue solutions to help reverse the state’s fiscal crisis. We are also one of the key conveners for the Colorado Reform Roundtable, an unprecedented broad-based coalition of organizations focused on long-term fiscal and revenue reform.
We highlight these accomplishments to demonstrate that this work—our work—matters. It matters to an unemployed worker who got a few more checks in the mail to help pay the bills. It matters to a low-income child who can get the health care he or she needs. It matters to a working family faced with losing their home. And it matters to every family in Colorado struggling to make ends meet and working toward economic self-sufficiency.
Change does not come easily, and it does not happen by accident. It took the work of all of us, the coordination of our important coalition partners, and the tremendous support of all of you. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
At CCLP, we honor and thank all the dedicated individuals, including all of our generous donors, supporters, volunteers, and wonderful partners, that we are so fortunate to work with every day to make Colorado a better place.

Nan Morehead
Interim Board President
T.A. Taylor-Hunt, Esq.
Interim Executive Director


Date added

January 1, 2010

Resource type

Filed under


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.


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.


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.


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.