Implementing Family First in Colorado

October 1, 2019

The federal Family First Prevention Services Act allows Colorado to reshape child welfare and provide more proactive services, so more children and teens can grow up with their family. Additionally, across our state, local child welfare agencies will be able to partner with community-based service providers to respond to family needs and provide treatment in a setting that is designed to provide a higher level of care.

With all of these changes, we knew we could not implement Family First alone. In 2018, a group of state staff, counties representatives, providers and other government agencies developed a Roadmap for Implementation. Currently, a team of committees and workgroups are putting that Roadmap in place in preparation for Family First implementation in January 2020. (See an important update on delaying Colorado's opt-in until Spring 2020).

Download the Family First Implementation Structure. This document has been added to the Family First resources on CO4Kids.

Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS): As the Title IVE agency for Colorado, CDHS has decision making authority regarding fiscal, policy, program and practice considerations to accomplish implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Delivery of Child Welfare Services Delivery Task Force: The Delivery of Child Welfare Services Task Force (SB 18-254) was created within the state department in collaboration with counties to analyze laws and rules related to the delivery of child welfare services to ensure alignment with the Federal Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018. The Task Force will develop a method to incentivize counties for the provision of services and placements that are based on the needs of the child or youth. They will establish performance and outcome measures and the process to evaluate the measures. The Task Force provides quarterly updates to the Joint Budget Committee, the Public Health Care and Human Services Committee of the House of Representatives and the Health and Human Services Committee of the Senate.

Family First Prevention Services Act Leadership Team: This team of state and county executive leaders provides direction, oversight, review, recommendation and decision-making functions. The Leadership Team receives recommendations from the Implementation Team and sends the Leadership Team’s decision to the Task Force and the Colorado Department of Human Services. The Family First Prevention Services Act Leadership Team also shares their decision or direction with the Implementation Team.

Colorado Family First Implementation Team: The purpose of this team is to implement the Colorado Family First Prevention Services Act Roadmap. The Team is responsible to develop, deploy and monitor a plan to define goals, objectives and outcomes to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Family First Workgroups: Workgroups are formed to accomplish specific implementation objectives and actions. Currently, four workgroups are underway to address service array development and to ensure an appropriate placement continuum, including the Qualified Residential Treatment Program expectations.

Filter Groups: These groups represent specific content/subject areas or perspectives critical to Family First implementation. The Implementation Team and Workgroups seek guidance and input from these filter groups to ensure and enhance the collaborative, integrated and inclusive approach to this work. As decisions are made, filter groups will flesh out how they are operationalized, which will likely require ongoing interchange with the appropriate workgroup for additional clarification and information.

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