On May 24, 1893, the first two girls applied for admittance to Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado. Started with the financial backing of Charles Crittenton, the organization of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and 58 local women–including the wife of then governor of Colorado–Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado was one of the first five homes established outside of New York City. It was also the first Florence Crittenton Home in the United States, “to establish active cooperation with the juvenile court and to ally itself with the advanced movement in [the] state and nation.”
Today, Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado uses a trauma-informed, two-generational model to educate, prepare, and empower teen mothers and their children. Their newly expanded campus includes Florence Crittenton High School, an Early Education Childhood Center, and a Student and Family Support Program.
The Florence Crittenton High School is a partnership with Denver Public Schools for pregnant and parenting girls from 14 to 21. New mothers are able receive education and support in the home for at least 6 weeks. The school also has a STEM classroom, a Certified Nursing Assistant program, and the Alethia E. Morgan, MD Health Center on campus. The health center is operated by Denver Health and is the first of its kind for obstetrics and pediatrics.
In the summer, FCS operates a ten-week summer camp for teen mothers to support reintegration in the fall. There is also a three-week Summer Bridge program where recent graduates prepare for the transition to college. FCS also runs a summer Youth Employment Academy for low-income youth ages 16-21 to assist in career exploration goals and employment training.
Florence Crittenton Services is also engaged in public policy and advocacy for Colorado’s teen families and was a part of creating the Colorado Teen Parent Collaborative, a statewide group of organizations that successfully passed legislation to help increase access to the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program for teen parents and survivors of domestic violence. (HB 16-1227)
Suzanne Banning is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado. Ms. Banning joined Florence Crittenton Services in 2004 and became CEO in 2014. As President and CEO, she successfully led the “Building for Teen Family Success” capital campaign and the construction of the new and expanded Florence Crittenton Campus. In 2015, she helped to launch the Colorado Teen Parent Collaborative in order to consolidate support and advocacy initiatives to benefit teen mothers and their families. She is a member of the Denver Women’s Collaborative and served on Denver’s Birth to Eight Roadmap Advisory Committee.