GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
With the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the safety of our children is on the minds of most of us. But one organization found investments in the security of Colorado children is sliding.
Colorado Children's Campaign is a non-partisan organization that focuses on improving the well-being of children, and recently discovered through their annual analysis that state investments for programs that are supposed to protect kids from abuse and neglect are being slashed.
“We just need to make the children our highest priority,” said Stacey Mascarenas, co-chair of How are the Children. “It’s always so devastating when you hear that programs are getting cut. So many of the programs here are grant based, so when programming gets cut, it trickles down to our local communities on what these programs can do.”
According to Colorado Children’s Campaign, state investments in Colorado children have decreased 2 percent per year, on average, in the past 5 years.
“When you think of a child’s life from birth to 18, and you see continual cuts over and over again, that affects a child and their mental development and physical development,” said Mascarenas.
Some of the categories hit the hardest are early childhood development, health services and K-12 education.
Which Amanda Green, who's a mother of two, says makes things a lot harder.
“I don’t believe our kids are getting anywhere the care they need anymore,” said Green, a Grand Junction resident.
Officials from How are the Children
say if these funds continue to decrease, we may start to seem some programs diminish all together.
“When funding gets cut, those seem to be an easy target,” said Mascarenas. “As we've seen locally, we can't do that anymore.”
Officials say historically, these services that children depend on for food, safety and security have been among the hardest hit during tough economic times.
Governor John Hickenlooper’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year includes new investment in education and health, but won't be decided on until the coming months.
For more information on the cuts, click here.