DENVER (KDVR) — On Tuesday, testimony will be heard on a bill in the Colorado House concerning the reporting of child abuse. The motivation behind this bill goes back to a high-profile case involving Aurora Council Member Danielle Jurinsky.
On Tuesday, she’s set to testify in favor of House Bill 23-1142. It would require a person making a report to the state’s child welfare hotline to include their information, like name and number. Right now, you can choose to make a report anonymously.
“Lovingly, I’m calling this ‘Bradley’s Bill,’” Jurinsky said, referencing her son.
The Problem Solvers have reported on Jurinsky’s own battle with phony accusations involving her and her child. A former Arapahoe county employee, Robin Niceta, was charged with falsely accusing Jurinsky of abusing her own son. The report was unfounded and possibly politically motivated.
Anonymous child abuse calls declining
“I do know Danielle very well and was very impacted by her story and how the hotline, the child welfare hotline, could be used against people,” state Rep. Rose Pugliese told FOX31. She is a sponsor of the bill and answered questions on whether this bill will lead to fewer reports of child abuse.
“I don’t believe that’s true because they still have an avenue through law enforcement that does take anonymous calls,” she said, adding: “So we’re not closing off all avenues.”
The number of anonymous calls made to the state’s hotline over the last five years has gone down, according to data from the Office of Legislative Legal Services. FOX31 is still waiting to see data on how many calls were not anonymous and were founded.
“I think that we have to show a strong message in Colorado that we are going to be a leader on this issue,” Pugliese said. “We will still protect children, absolutely still protect children, but we want to make sure we protect the families and the parents as well.
“Once an allegation is made against you, whether it’s founded or not, you are now in this Trails system forever, forever,” Jurinsky said of Colorado’s statewide database for tracking child abuse information. “You are locked in this system.”
Pugliese said there are some exemptions to this bill. Minors who are under 18 can still report anonymously to the hotline, and others can as well. Also, victim advocates can do so anonymously.
FOX31 also reached out to the group Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, or CASA, to get their comment on this bill, but has yet to hear back as of the airing of this story.