Strengthening family stability

The Department of Human Services is interested in reducing the entry or reentry of young people into the child welfare system through prevention programs designed to strengthen families.

The proposed programs build social capital, increase financial stability and self-sufficiency, and improve family functioning and well-being. Colorado Community Response is one such program providing voluntary services to families who are reported to the state for child abuse or neglect but whose circumstances do not rise to the level of child welfare service involvement. The Colorado Lab will support a new randomized evaluation determining the efficacy of the program.



Pay for Success

The Governor’s office and the General Assembly have awarded funding for the development of three “Pay for Success” projects, and the Lab will help measure these activities. The theory of Pay for Success is that investors will give the state money to take these ideas to scale, and then the investors will be repaid if the projects save the state money. The initial projects are focused on “system-involved youth” in Colorado.

Denver Runaway Upstream Prevention Pilot

Denver Collaborative Partnership is taking an upstream preventative approach to serving youth who run away and their families. A rapid response team is meeting the youth and families where they are and connecting them to evidence-based services (e.g., Multi-Systemic Therapy, Functional Family Therapy) aimed at preventing juvenile justice involvement and the need for out-of-home care. The Lab will conduct a rigorous evaluation of the project.

Educational stability for youth in foster care

Educational stability is highly correlated with student achievement and high school graduation for students in foster care. Educational stability efforts are designed to reduce the number of school moves and streamline the transfer of relevant achievement and behavioral information when school moves do occur. Jefferson County is implementing a school-based case management system for students in foster care to enhance school stability and thereby improve academic outcomes.

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) in rural settings

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an evidence-based model to help system-involved youth that is used commonly in urban areas along the front range but is less available in rural locales. The Center for Effective Interventions at the University of Denver is in the process of identifying five rural counties to participate in a pilot using MST.