Additional funding available through Family First Transition Fund

June 28, 2021

The federal Family First Prevention Services Act emphasizes the importance of children and youth growing up in families and fundamentally reforms the way child welfare is funded and practiced.

Family First provides Colorado the opportunity to --

  • Evolve its child welfare system by expanding prevention-focused services that keep families together;
  • Partner with community-based service providers to respond to the individual needs of children, youth and families; and
  • When necessary, ensure children and youth are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting appropriate.

Family First Transition Act

The federal Family First Transition Act (Transition Act), which passed in December 2019,  provides critical funding and flexibility to ensure a smooth and successful rollout of Family First in Colorado. While Colorado has been fully engaged in laying the groundwork for initial Family First implementation, the Transition Act helps accelerate this work and ensure that our bold vision becomes a reality.

Family First-Related Funding Opportunities

The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is pleased to announce three funding opportunities, utilizing a portion of Transition Act funds. These funding opportunities are aligned with identified priority funding areas and, together, will help move us closer to achieving the following outcomes:

Outcome 1: Children, youth and families have timely access to a continuum of community-based, prevention-focused services that meet their needs, promote safety and well-being, and keep families together.

  • Priority Funding Area 1: Expand the prevention services continuum in a way that addresses locally identified needs, meets Family First requirements, addresses inequities across the state, and emphasizes cultural responsiveness.

Outcome 2: When necessary, children are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting possible that is aligned with their individual needs, high-quality, time-limited and focused on treatment.

  • Priority Funding Area 2: Build a continuum of placement options that include high-quality QRTPs as well as sufficient options for lower levels of family-based care.  

Outcome 3: Colorado has a strong foundation from which to launch Family First implementation efforts and support a successful and smooth roll-out.

  • Priority Funding Area 3: Address known and potential barriers to Family First implementation.

The funding opportunities available now, and in the near future, are as follows: 

  1. This first funding opportunity is currently OPEN. Over the next three years, CDHS will be awarding up to $1.5 million for efforts that align with Outcomes 1 and 3 above. Applications will be reviewed by a multi-disciplinary panel twice yearly. Up to $500,000 will be awarded each calendar year on a rolling basis, through October 2023. CDHS is now accepting the second cycle of application submissions. Applications are due no later than 4 pm on Friday, July 30, 2021. Late submissions may not be accepted.

    CDHS encourages applications that are innovative and bold, community and data-informed, demonstrate collaboration, and promote equity. All interested applicants must complete the application linked here. View and complete the online application. Use the public access button on the left-hand navigation. When redirected to the next page, search for RFA# 2021000308.
  2. Per SB21-278, CDHS will be releasing a funding opportunity in the near future specifically aimed at supporting residential placement providers in the transition to a business model that ensures alignment with Family First, as well as Medicaid eligibility for children/youth placed with the provider. This aligns with Outcome 2. Fifteen percent of the state's Family First transition funds (about $1.1 Million) will be available and awarded to providers for this purpose through January 1, 2023. Sign up for the Family First Digest to be notified when the application is released.
  3. A third opportunity will also be released in the near future focused on Outcome 2 and building out a comprehensive placement continuum across the State. This opportunity will include efforts to serve high acuity youth in family-like settings; recruitment and retention of therapeutic and treatment foster homes; enhanced supports for foster parents and kinship families; and efforts to better understand and respond to the needs of Colorado’s children and youth in all types of care. Sign up for the Family First Digest to be notified when the application is released.
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