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Colorado Edition: College tuition for Colorado's foster youth; new chief of mental health at Children's Hospital says the crisis remains urgent

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Scott Dressel-Martin
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Children's Hospital Colorado

Coloradans who grow up in foster care are the least likely group to attend college and earn a degree. Critics say the state is not doing enough to help them with tuition for higher ed when they leave high school. A new bill aims to change that. KUNC’s Scott Franz reports that foster youth see the proposal as a potential game changer for thousands of people who can’t afford college.

A growing number of young people in Colorado are in a dire state of mental health crisis. Visits to emergency departments due to severe anxiety and depression have increased dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic, and health officials now estimate that as many as 50% of all youth are struggling with a mental health condition.

This led Children’s Hospital Colorado to declare a state of emergency for pediatric mental health in May 2021. We speak with the head of mental health at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Dr. K. Ron-Li Liaw, about her role and the current state of kids' mental health.

Colorado Edition is hosted and produced by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1). Web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai.

The mission of Colorado Edition is to deepen understanding of life in Northern Colorado through authentic conversation and storytelling. It's available as a podcast on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

You can hear the show on KUNC, Monday through Friday at 2:30 and at 6:30 p.m.   Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music in the show by Blue Dot Sessions.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily look at the stories, news, people and issues important to you. It's a window to the communities along the Colorado Rocky Mountains.