As senior policy advisor on Human Services, Leslie learned first hand the impact that our state-funded safety net programs have on families across Colorado. The state must work hand in hand with counties and cities to ensure that the most vulnerable of us can break the cycle of poverty and move into self-sufficiency.
During both good and bad economic times, the social safety-net is important. Access to supportive services and benefits are meant to help folks back on their feet. Those suffering the effects of job loss or generational cycles of poverty need access to various kinds of assistance including food, housing, and utility payments.
Leslie believes that a strong safety net system should be accessible and supportive to help families get back on their feet. She has advocated for a number of programs that do just that such as the Colorado Refugee Services Program [SB19-230]. Additionally, Leslie worked with the rest of the members of the Joint Budget Committee to allocate $460.1 million for medical care and long-term services such as nursing homes and community-based services. The funds pay nursing home care, senior dental programs, behavioral health, and vaccine administration.
Leslie will continue working with key partners to develop programs that actually work. Additionally she’ll continue addressing barriers that prevent folks from receiving services.
Colorado is one of the few states with a state-supervised, county-administered human services model. County case workers in our 64 counties are overworked, underpaid, as are those working respectfully and diligently in our congregate care facilities and foster care homes. Child welfare programs, including the staff that facilitate them, are critical safety nets for thousands of Colorado families.
Leslie has championed many pieces of legislation that support Colorado’s child welfare sector. She has ensured that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities are able to stay in facilities close to their family and community [SB21-276]; increased funding that benefits welfare programs and staff [SB21-277]; and allocated additional funding to facility schools [SB21-274]. Leslie will continue to advocate for additional funding to ensure that communities are able to thrive.