Centennial Parent and Intervener Played Key Roles in Passing New Colorado Law

Colorado House Bill 23-1067 Family Intervener Program Deafblind Children was signed into law by Governor Polis at a ceremony on May 15, 2023. This new law ”...creates the family and community intervener program for children who are deafblind and their families” (Colorado General Assembly website). This was a huge victory for those advocating for this much-needed program, especially for Centennial parent Kiera Zink, her daughter Jordy, and Jordy’s intervener Ofelia Caballero.

Deafblindness is a combination of vision and hearing loss, and the term covers a spectrum of mildly impaired vision and hearing to completely deaf and blind.

An intervener is someone whose role is to support a person who is deafblind by helping them access the world around them when the deafblind person does not receive complete visual and auditory information. The intervener helps with communication and independence. Their role is one built on trust and interaction with the person who is deafblind, which is paramount to the social and emotional wellbeing of someone who is deafblind.

Kiera and another parent of a student with deafblindness, Megan Bowser, began pushing for a program that would allow for their children to have interveners in the community outside of school at events like dance classes, church, camps, museums, community events, etc. Children experiencing deafblindness would have many more opportunities to engage in the world outside of school with such a program.

Working with Christy Blakely with Family Voices, they built a 2-year pilot program funded by grants and private donations. In the program’s second year, a lobbyist was hired to help with drafting a bill and finding sponsors at the State of Colorado General Assembly.

Thanks to all their hard work, Colorado is now the third state to have a funded community intervener program. Minnesota and Texas also have such programs.

Kiera said, “Ofelia (Jordy’s LPS school intervener for four years now) was incredibly integral in the success of this bill. She is a mentor to new community interveners starting out, has helped with the translation of documents and onboarding new Spanish-speaking families, as well as testifying for our bill at the Capitol.” 

Centennial Principal Dan Cuoco said, “This is so amazing. I’m extremely proud of Ofelia and Kiera, as well as Megan and Christy, for making this happen for our families in Colorado. It’s really incredible to see the work of Centennial (and LPS) staff and families come to fruition by getting this bill signed!”