Colorado’s federal partners have approved a five-year prevention services plan, which will support families, prevent circumstances that lead to child maltreatment, and give steps to intervene when maltreatment has been identified to ensure that children and youth remain safely in their homes or with kinship caregivers whenever possible.
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Family First Prevention Plan was approved on September 28 after a review by the Children’s Bureau, a federal agency organized under the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. The Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) is a federal law that allows local child welfare agencies to use federal funding to pay for services that keep kids safe, growing up in their families.
“CDHS has made it a priority to proactively support families with research-based services,” said Office of Children, Youth and Families Director Minna Castillo Cohen. “Colorado has taken the prevention approach for some time, and we’re pleased that the federal government is moving in that same direction, funding a system that serves families while keeping parents and kids together. We could not be more thrilled that our plan was approved.”
Colorado’s child welfare system is transforming and CDHS has made an intentional shift to focus on strengthening families, keeping families together safely, and when necessary, placing children and youth in family-like settings. These changes have produced positive outcomes for the state’s most vulnerable children, youth, and families. Less than 1.2% of children re-enter child welfare care within 12 months and the average daily out-of-home population (children who are removed from their homes) decreased from 3.8 per 1,000 to 3.5 per 1,000 in the fiscal year 2021-22.
This prevention plan approval means Coloradans will begin to see tailored resources for families who are already involved in the child welfare system, a stronger effort to prevent abuse and neglect, and better outcomes for youth involved in the child welfare system.
The Office of Children, Youth and Families is responsible for the coordination of quality and effective services for Colorado’s most vulnerable children, youth, and their families. The office supervises Colorado’s child welfare system and operates the state’s youth services system, as well as several other programs.