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Family First Evidence-Building Hub Updates


Colorado’s Five-Year Family First Prevention Services Plan (Colorado’s Plan) promotes use of evidence-based programs and services in child welfare to help keep children safe and more families together. The Colorado Lab leads the Family First Evidence-Building Hub on behalf of the Colorado Department of Human Services. 

We recently released the State Fiscal Year 2024 Family First Rigorous Evaluation Annual Report, detailing results of evidence building for programs and services in Colorado’s Plan or in the pipeline for potential future inclusion in the plan. A goal of the Hub is to advance programs and services toward an evidence designation in the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse). Building ongoing evidence for programs and services:

  • Promotes high-quality service delivery for children, youth, and families; and
  • Increases the amount of federal Family First reimbursement dollars returned to the Colorado Child Abuse Prevention Trust Fund for reinvestment in the prevention of child maltreatment.

As part of the pipeline, we coordinate rigorous evaluations via an external research network. Research partners OMNI Institute and Colorado State University’s Social Work Research Center begin new evaluations this summer for two services:

  • Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) was prioritized because it fills a gap in the Family First service array by providing early support for substance use without a diagnosis. SBIRT currently has a “promising” Clearinghouse evidence designation.
  • Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) – Caregiver Training is designed for caregivers of children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or other trauma. It was prioritized in Colorado’s long-term strategy to bolster the mental health service array and reach a wider age range of children and youth. TBRI currently has a “promising” Clearinghouse evidence designation.

Finally, we are happy to share a new paper, Long-term Impact of the Fostering Healthy Futures for Preteens Program on Suicide-Related Thoughts and Behaviors for Youth in Out-of-Home Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Published by Dr. Heather Taussig from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, this work contributes to Colorado’s evidence-building strategy by identifying practices that support the long-term well-being of youth involved in child welfare.

To learn more about the Colorado Lab’s Family First Evidence-Building Hub, please contact Dr. Elysia Versen.