Local Innovation Fund SFY21

October 19, 2020

Any county department of human/social services, CPA or Tribe in Colorado is eligible to receive funding through the Local Innovation Fund. Online applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 16, 2020. Funds will be awarded by Friday, November 20. The maximum award amount varies based on the size of the organization. Awards will be determined based on the guidelines and requirements listed below. 

Knowing that in-person events will be limited and foster parents will continue to be under increased strain while the pandemic continues, this year’s funding is focused on retention efforts. Retention also supports recruitment because positive word of mouth from satisfied foster parents is a very successful recruitment tool. Organizations may include some limited recruitment activities that make up less than 50 percent of the funding used. Applicants are highly encouraged to align their Local Innovation Fund application with the organization’s diligent recruitment plan and all efforts must adhere to all state and federal legislation.

Ideas for the use of funds include, but are not limited to:

  • Staff training on recruitment, retention and customer service that is not available through the Child Welfare Training System (CWTS)
  • Targeted training that accounts for culture, demographics and community 
  • Child care for in-person trainings (recommended by members of the Family First Implementation Team)
  • Support to certify respite-only providers
  • Funding to increase the use of natural supports (background checks, etc.) and babysitters with specialized services
  • Education and ongoing training for providers (including cultural competency training to help parents understand diversity and inclusion and best practices for caring for children from a different culture)
  • Child care or respite for providers
  • Coaching, support groups and mentoring programs for foster parents
  • Parent and family activities geared toward recognition and retention
  • Other education or ongoing training for staff and foster parents outside of CWTS curriculum such as relationship development, customer service training and presentation skills
  • Hard goods to stabilize placements (excluding therapeutic services that are approved by CORE or Medicaid funded programs

Applicants may use the funding toward some approved recruitment activities in addition to retention; however, this should be less than 50 percent of the total funding amount. Recruitment activities are limited to: 

  • Marketing and communication tools, such as website improvements, brochures and videos. Promotional items (SWAG) cannot be purchased with Local Innovation Funds.
  • Out-of-home, print and radio advertising. Digital ads can not be purchased with the Local Innovation Fund. 
  • Child-specific recruitment strategies.
  • Applicants may apply to use the funding for efforts that they have completed in the past; however, applicants should explain how they are strengthening this ongoing effort. 

Guidelines and Requirements:

  • Funding may not be used for participation in community events or hosting recruitment events. 
  • Funding may not be used for staff time.  
  • Funds may not be used to fund May Foster Care or November National Adoption Month events or activities.
  • All efforts or activities supported through the Local Innovation Fund must be completed by April 30, 2021. 
  • Counties and CPAs may include several different activities and efforts in their Local Innovation Fund application. However, retention activities must make up more than half of all funding requests.
  • Local Innovation Fund applicants are encouraged, but not required, to collaborate with other organizations and/or businesses. 
  • Funded activities may be adjusted based on actual funds awarded. All adjustments must be requested and approved by CDHS in writing.
  • Photographs of the funded activities are highly encouraged.
  • Failure to submit an article, invoices and enter expenditures into CFMS by the associated deadlines may impact future funding. If the funding recipient has an issue meeting a deadline, CDHS must be contacted prior to the deadline to discuss alternative arrangements.
  • Beginning this year, all CPAs and counties will be served based on a scaled approach based on the number of children/youth in placement on a given date (November 1, 2020). The number of children/youth will be self-reported and verified through Trails. The approach was selected because the number of children/youth will be reflective of the number of active families being served by the counties and agencies. It is important to note that this fund will not be available for the non-public and intercounty adoptive families.
    • Less than 25 children/youth in placement can receive up to $2,000
    • 25-50 children/youth in placement can receive up to $3,000
    • 51-100 children/youth in placement can receive up to $4,000
    • More than 100 children/youth in placement will receive up to $5,000 

Local Innovation Fund recipients must first incur the costs associated with the award. Counties can submit expenses for reimbursement using the County Financial Management System (CFMS). CPAs must submit an invoice to CDHS and have an up to date W9 on file to be reimbursed. Please review these instructions for completing the W9.


  • Application Deadline: November 16, 2020, 5 p.m.
  • Completion of effort/activity: April 30, 2021
  • Expenditures entered into CFMS (counties only): May 7, 2021
    • Counties: The CFMS code for these funds is E468.9277
  • Submit invoice for expenditures to CDHS (CPAs only): May 7, 2021
  • NOTE: CDHS can only accept invoices (not receipts). This sample invoice offers important guidance for invoices and can be used as a template. Multiple invoices can be submitted throughout the duration of the funding period. Please allow 30 days to receive payment.
  • Submit an article and complete survey: May 14, 2021.


To apply to use SFY21 Recruitment & Retention Local Innovation Funds, complete the electronic grant application and upload a signature page. CPAs who have never been reimbursed by the state or have changed their business name or address should also upload a new W9 to their application. 

Reporting Requirements

Based on stakeholder feedback, and in lieu of participant evaluations and a summary evaluation, Local Innovation Fund recipients will be required to submit a one-to-two-page article explaining their efforts and strategy, the impact of their efforts and lessons learned. This content may be shared with child welfare professionals via CO4Kids.org and related platforms to encourage idea sharing and to disseminate best practices. Recipients need only to submit one article. The deadline to submit this article is May 14, 2021. Read a sample article here: co4kids.org/LGBTQFBLiveRecap

Recipients must also answer a few questions via a survey. Recipients will also need to report on the SMART goal they set for themselves. Recipients need only complete one survey and report on one SMART goal by May 14, 2021. 


For more information please contact


For more information about this memo, please contact

Adrienne Cooper

Recruitment and Retention Communication Specialist

P 720-202-5923 I  adrienne.cooper@state.co.us 


Meladie Clopton
Foster Care & Adoption Recruitment & Retention Specialist
P 303.801.8580 I  meladie.clopton@state.co.us  


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