Strong Communities for Children launched in Colorado Springs

Mark Couch | CU School of Medicine 

The University of Colorado School of Medicine (SOM) and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) announced April 4 that they will launch a Strong Communities for Children program in Colorado Springs.

The Strong Communities for Children approach is a neighborhood-based strategy proposed by the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect when it issued a landmark report 20 years ago that proclaimed a national emergency in the child-protection system.

Since that time, the approach recommended by the board was implemented in Greenville, S.C. The result was stronger community engagement with thousands of volunteers from hundreds of organizations, safer children, parents with better support, and a significant decrease in reports of child maltreatment.

“Strong Communities engages many people who may not think of themselves as people whose job it is to protect children or strengthen families,” said Gary Melton, PhD, associate director for community development and social policy at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect and a professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine.

“Strong Communities is a preventive intervention that mobilizes entire communities to work together to ensure that every child and every parent know that if they have a reason to celebrate, worry, or grieve, someone will notice, and someone will care,” Melton said.

The project, which will be based on the UCCS campus under the leadership of Provost Mary Coussons-Read and Associate Professor of Public Affairs Katie Kaukinen, will focus on enhancing support for families with young children by strengthening neighbor-to-neighbor assistance. The goal is to ensure that every child and every parent know they have support available in settings they go every day, such as school, workplaces, child-care centers and places of worship.

The U.S. Advisory Board’s leaders re-convened this week in Aurora and Colorado Springs to commemorate the release of its report. The events were organized by the Kempe Center for Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, which is housed on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Faculty at SOM work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The school is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. To learn more about the medical school’s care, education, research and community engagement, visit its web site. For additional news and information, please visit the University of Colorado Denver newsroom.

UCCS, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in Colorado. The University offers 37 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 10,500 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit

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