Colorado submits a proposed plan to improve child welfare over the next two years.

Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Division of Child Welfare (DCW) submitted a Program Improvement Plan (more commonly known as a PIP) to federal regulators this Summer after a lengthy development process with over 120 stakeholders. The plan focuses on measured improvement in specific outcome areas prioritized by the Children’s Bureau which must be completed within a two year period following federal acceptance which is expected sometime this Fall. 

Under the guidance of the PIP Oversight Group, subgroups were formed to investigate data and root causes and recommend strategies related to the Colorado’s Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) findings in five theme areas: 

  • Assessing and managing risk and safety – especially in our youth in conflict cases;
  • Achieving timely permanence for children in out of home care, need to work with the courts;
  • Engaging parents and other caregivers – particularly fathers, assessing and addressing fathers’ needs; also other caregivers;
  • Service array – transportation, consistency in services, availability of service; and
  • National standards – maltreatment in out of home and reentry into out of home care.

PIP development process and recommendations

Five subgroups, each averaging over 30 participants, met weekly for five to six weeks to produce recommendations foundational to the PIP. "I recognize the tremendous amount of energy and expertise stakeholders contributed to the process. The recommendations we received were insightful, studied and innovative. The groups' work was invaluable in developing Colorado's PIP and will be reflected in the next Child Family Services Plan." said CDHS executive director Reggie Bicha. Further public input was sought via a feedback conference call to review the subgroups’ proposals. While the work groups generated some very thoughtful recommendations; many were not included in the final PIP submitted for review primarily because they were were long term best practice activities for Colorado, not short-term recommendations that could be accomplished under the two-year period of the PIP. Instead, recommendations left out of the PIP will be incorporated in the next Child and Family Services Plan, which is essentially a five-year strategic plan for child welfare. 

Colorado submits a proposed plan to improve child welfare over the next two years.Colorado Program Improvement Plan

Download the latest version of Colorado's PIP submitted for federal review HERE to get a sense of where Colorado child welfare administrators will be focusing their attention over the next two years. CDHS plans for the 2018 Colorado Child Welfare Conference November 7-9 to be a usefully tool to help Colorado achieve the strategies, goals and activities outlined in the PIP. So much so that, potential potential presenters at the conference are strongly encouraged to review the latest version of Colorado’s PIP before responding to the Call for Presentations which closes August 29th and presentations that connect to the PIP will be weighted more heavily in the scoring process. 

Background

In September 2017, the Children’s Bureau, CDHS DCW and Administrative Review Division (ARD) collaborated to conduct an onsite evaluation for CFSR which examined Colorado’s child welfare programs and practices to identify strengths and challenges with regard to safety, permanency and well-being outcomes of the children and families served by the child welfare system. Federal law and regulations authorize the Children’s Bureau to administer the review of child and family services programs under titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act. The CFSRs are structured to help states identify strengths and areas needing improvement in child welfare practices and programs as well as institute systemic changes that will improve child and family outcomes. Colorado's strengthens included:

  • Great collaborative processes between counties human service departments and the CDHS Division of Child Welfare
  • Both QA and agency responsiveness to the community are operating within conformity
  • Higher performance on outcomes
  • A strong foundation of child welfare
  • Strong work around timeliness of initiation
  • Great wrap around services, particularly for kinship families
  • Great family and extended family work
  • Comments made about Colorado’s practice: “We saw some really incredible practice,” “outstanding work,” “I was really impressed.”
  • Workgroups to focusing on areas needing improvement

Thank you for investing your time to help improve the lives of Colorado's children, youth and families. 

Special thanks to the co-chairs of the five subgroups listed below and volunteers who contributed a tremendous amount of time during the 90-day PIP development process to help improve the lives of children, youth and families in Colorado.

•PIP Oversight Group
Co-chairs: Nancy Rudel, CDHS Division of Child Welfare and Mimi Scheuermann, Denver County Human Services

•Engaging parents, especially fathers
Co-chairs: Derek Dzien, CDHS Division of Child Welfare and Josie Berry, Denver County Human Services
•Risk & safety, especially youth in conflict cases
Co-chairs: Trevor Williams, CDHS Division of Child Welfare and Terrie Ryan-Thomas, Boulder County Health and Human Services
Service Array
Co-chairs: Melinda Cox, Tiffany Sewell, and Tyler Allen with the CDHS Division of Child Welfare and Catherine Weaver, Larimer County Human Services
Maltreatment and re-entry in out-of-home cases
Co-chairs: Joey Brozek, CDHS Division of Child Welfare and Molly Judson, Broomfield County Health and Human Services
Timely permanency
Co-chairs: Adrianna Hernandez, CDHS Division of Child Welfare, Kris Ferrell, The Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel, and Alison Young, Colorado State Court Administrators Office 

Subgroups comprised more than 120 stakeholders including:

  • countless staff members from CDHS Division of Child Welfare, Office of Early Childhood, Administrative Review Division; 
  • countless county departments of human services employees;
  • employees with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment;
  • CASA;
  • Colorado State University;
  • county attorneys;
  • representatives of the Colorado State Court Administrators Office Court Improvement Program;
  • Disability Law Colorado;
  • district judges;
  • Families First Colorado;
  • Family Resource Centers;
  • foster parents;
  • Illuminate Colorado;
  • Lutheran Family Services;
  • Mount Saint Vincent; 
  • representatives of the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC);
  • representatives of the Office of the Child’s Representative
  • Project 1.27;
  • Specialized Alternatives for Families & Youth;
  • Tennyson Center for Children;
  • The Adoption Exchange;
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