Supporting Student Parents

The Governor’s Office of Colorado is deeply committed to expanding the state’s use of a two-generation approach to public services and social policies in order to holistically support children and parents together. The state’s 2Gen Initiative has identified student parents in the higher education system as a population that is particularly struggling to meet the complex needs of both generations. The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) lacks an effective method for identifying students who are also parents, and has no insight into whether these individuals are also interacting with other relevant state programs, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC), administered by CDPHE, and/or those receiving SNAP or TANF benefits, administered by CDHS. The Colorado Lab is supporting the 2Gen Initiative by supporting the ability of agencies to “see” across systems and identify where and how populations intersect. This will allow Colorado to identify and prioritize the services that are most needed, and of the greatest value, to student parents.

Two Generation (2Gen) Child Support Transformation Project

Colorado Department of Human Services is changing the culture of child support from an enforcement model to a customer service model.  The focus is now on the whole family. Case workers are using motivational interviewing techniques to identify barriers to custodial and non-custodial parents and connect parents to a network of partners who can help. Co-parenting programs and mediation are among the services provided. Eleven counties are test-driving this new approach, and the Lab is conducting a randomized control trial and process evaluation to learn what works.