Children and youth should grow up with a family. Most children and youth who receive help through child welfare services are not removed from their homes. Last year, nearly 70 percent of Colorado children and their families involved in an open child welfare case received services in their own homes. For the first time, Family First allows Colorado to use federal funding to serve these children and their families with treatment programs that are short-term, customized therapeutic support. Quality prevention services and strong federal, state and community collaborations are the foundation for Family First policies. Prevention services must be trauma-informed, evidence-based, approved, and subject to a well-designed and rigorous evaluation.
If a child or youth is unable to safely live with their parents or caregivers, they should grow up in the least restrictive setting. Caseworkers look for kinship families – relatives or other trusted, safe adults – who the child or youth knows. When no kin is available, foster families step in to provide care and safety.
Sometimes, short-term treatment in congregate care can help provide the services and stability a child or youth needs before they transition to a family-like setting, where they are better able to address their past traumatic experiences.
Training and Resources
There is a lot of information available about Family First. We are committed to providing accurate and relevant information to help everyone understand and successfully implement Family First. We think these resources will help.