The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is pleased to announce the recipients of two separate one-time funding opportunities to support the implementation of Family First in Colorado. The funding was awarded through the federal Family First Transition Act, passed in December 2019, to provide critical support 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. This funding will support residential providers in their transition efforts through SB21-278 and provide support to departments of human services and child placement agencies in the build-out of a comprehensive placement continuum.

Transition Funds RFA for Residential Providers (SB21-278)

This funding opportunity was statutorily required through SB21-278 and set aside about $1.1 million in Family First transition funds for residential providers to support them in transitioning to a Family First-aligned business model, including those transitioning to the Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) level of care. The awardees are as follows:

Shiloh House will increase staff capacity by hiring four new youth counselors to work at three facilities that are transitioning from Residential Child Care Facilities (RCCF) to Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTP). New staff will allow Shiloh House to reduce the youth-to-staff ratio from 4:1 to closer to 8:3. Shiloh will also increase training through a full-time QRTP Implementation Specialist to ensure all staff are supported and educated in trauma-informed care.

Griffith Centers for Children will continue to train all new staff in the Sanctuary Model. Clinical staff will also receive Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) training as well as Motivational Interviewing training. In addition, Griffith Centers for Children will also receive funding to address some structural issues that have resulted in longer stays.

With Family First, the Dale House Project’s organizational mission and priority remain focused on providing independent living opportunities for youth. With transition funds, they will identify how former foster youth over age 18 can use the eleven transition apartments available at the Dale House Project for a Supportive Housing program.

Southern Peaks Regional Treatment Center, Third Way Center and the Denver Children’s Home are transitioning from RCCF to PRTFs and will use transition funds to help cover costs during the licensing process.

Transition Funds RFA for the Placement Continuum 

This funding opportunity was focused on building out a comprehensive placement continuum across the state to ensure youth can remain in family-like settings whenever possible. The awardees are as follows:

La Plata County and Weld County Departments of Human Services will use transition funds to design and implement therapeutic foster programs.

A New World Child Placement Agency will develop a respite program for new and current foster parents as well as county partners. Transition funds will also be used to implement two virtual support groups geared towards foster parents and their needs in the role of caregiver.

CHAMPS / Foster Source will launch programs in three additional counties/regions focused on innovative and data-driven efforts to recruit and retain foster parents. In addition, Foster Source will be providing therapeutic services to the counties, which include equine-assisted therapy and mental health therapy.

To learn more about the implementation of Family First in Colorado and progress on federal goals visit the implementation dashbord.