County human service departments respond to 40,000 reports of possible child abuse or neglect throughout Colorado each year. Roughly 100 times a day, child protection workers serve as first responders to these reports, typically by entering families’ homes at their own risk.
As the spread of COVID-19 overwhelmed Colorado, the reports of abuse or neglect have not stopped, but the dangers child protection workers face when entering homes has increased. These workers are mandated by the state and federal government to provide services to children and their families, both in their homes and to children in foster care. During the spring and summer of 2020, facing potential exposure to COVID-19, child protection workers – like first responders everywhere – continued to care for some of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens without proper personal protection equipment. The CPO’s issue brief detailed why these critical employees should be prioritized as first responders to ensure their access to the equipment needed to protect themselves, and thus, continue to protect Colorado’s children.