Family First Funding Opportunity

December 3, 2020

On February 9, 2018, the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) was signed into law. Family First 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), 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 Opportunity

The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is pleased to announce a funding opportunity, utilizing a portion of Transition Act funds, to support Family First implementation activities. Over the next three years, CDHS will be awarding up to $1.5 million for efforts that align with the following three outcomes and associated priority funding areas: 

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.

CDHS is now accepting the first cycle of application submissions. 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. The first round of applications are due on January 31, 2021, 11:59 pm MST. The review will occur over the following month, and the announcement of awards will occur between March 1-12. 

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.

If you would prefer to complete a paper (PDF) copy of the application, or for additional questions about the application or the process, please contact Marilynn Barron at

New Resources!

Federal Resources:

CDHS Resources:

Application Resources:

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