Select a project to learn more:

Reducing Recidivism for Justice-Involved Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury: Determining the Efficacy of a Screening, Identification, and Referral Model

The goal of this project is to inform how CDHS and the Colorado Division of Probation Services tailor recidivism reduction services to individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). This work builds on a federal grant launched by MINDSOURCE –the Brain Injury Network housed within CDHS, which focused on ensuring that justice-involved individuals with TBI were properly screened, identified, and referred for support. In the current project, the research team will link the previously collected MINDSOURCE data to Colorado Division of Probation Services data to determine if there are consistent risk factors and/or vulnerabilities across individuals who screen positive for TBI and to determine whether or not the referral model is associated with successful completion of probation and/or reductions in recidivism. If consistent risk factors can be identified and the model increases successful completion, this information can be used to guide probation, county jails, and the Colorado Department of Corrections in the development of screening, support, and referral policies statewide.evidentiary materials, and other case characteristics. The results are anticipated to improve justice equity across the state of Colorado by modeling prosecutorial transparency, broadening data collection and use, and identifying means of ameliorating racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice.

Agencies: 

Colorado Judicial Branch, Division of Probation Services

Colorado Department of Human Services, MINDSOURCE Brain Injury Network

Research Partners: 

University of Denver

Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: Evaluating and Addressing Issues in Prosecution

In collaboration with the Denver District Attorney’s Office, this project aims to evaluate racial and ethnic disparities in the application of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors play a central role in punishment outcomes and exercise a wide degree of discretion. Drawing on administrative data, case files, and interviews with prosecutors, this research will identify the central pathways by which disparities occur by investigating prosecutorial guidelines, evidentiary materials, and other case characteristics. The results are anticipated to improve justice equity across the state of Colorado by modeling prosecutorial transparency, broadening data collection and use, and identifying means of ameliorating racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice.

Agencies: 

Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice

Denver District Attorney’s Office

Research Partners: 

University of Colorado Denver

Addressing Food Insecurity by Improving Referral Systems between Medical and Social Services Providers in Mesa County

This project aims to mitigate food insecurity in Mesa County by optimizing and testing an electronic data system called the Community Resource Network that links patients/clients, medical providers, and social services agencies. The research team will engage in an iterative, community-engaged process to uncover the factors that prevent people from enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and/or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The project team will learn from the Community Resource Network piloting process how medical providers and SNAP/WIC agency staff can leverage this electronic platform to address food insecurity. The information gained from this project can be leveraged beyond Mesa County to address food insecurity more broadly and to improve medical providers’ referral practices for other social determinants of health.

The Community Resource Network is an initiative of Quality Health Network (QHN), a regional health information exchange. QHN strives to improve the referral process without placing additional burdens on medical providers and food insecurity program staff. To achieve the goals of this project, the research team will be using data from the Community Resource Network system related to food insecurity screenings and referrals and SNAP/WIC enrollment rates, and they will also conduct interviews with food insecure individuals and providers.

Agencies: 

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Nutrition Services

Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Economic Security

Mesa County WIC, SNAP, and Public Health

Research Partners: 

University of Colorado Denver

Quality Health Network

Early Childhood Education Workforce

Organizations working to improve conditions for the early childhood workforce need data to inform their decision-making. However, state government often has insufficient capacity to make sense of the data they collect, and organizations holding key data to complete the early childhood workforce picture are siloed. The Colorado Lab is partnering with the Colorado Department of Human Service’s Office of Early Childhood to improve their data utilization capacity and to routinely share meaningful metrics on the early childhood workforce that is so critical to the wellbeing of Colorado’s young children.

Agencies: 

Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood

Research Partners: 

University of Denver, Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab

Multisystem Utilizers

The term “multisystem utilizers” refers to individuals who use multiple public services repeatedly, including the emergency room, drug or alcohol rehab, temporary public assistance programs, and prison. The Department of Housing (DOH) in the Department of Local Affairs would like to prioritize its limited supply of housing vouchers to multisystem utilizers of public services in order to serve the most vulnerable populations, and potentially prevent more costly public service use across systems in the future. Other agencies – including Corrections and Human Services – are also interested in targeting services, particularly preventive services, to this population for the same reason. However, current data sharing challenges make it difficult to obtain a comprehensive picture of public service use across agency boundaries on a routine basis.

The Colorado Lab will support the piloting of a research and analytic data sharing solution in state government that will allow for the study of multisystem utilizers. This pilot will serve two purposes. First, it will create field- and research-informed metrics of service use within and across public agencies that can be used for decision-making across state government. Second, it will test drive an infrastructure for more secure and efficient solutions for data sharing that can be used for future research and analytic needs.

Research Awards:

The Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab announced its selection of researchers to serve as consultants for the Colorado Lab’s Multisystem Utilizer project.  The work of the selected researchers aims to create field- and research-informed metrics of system utilization within and across public agencies that can be used for decision-making across state government.

Agencies: 

Colorado Department of Human Services, Child Welfare

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing

Research Partners: 

Colorado State University

Colorado School of Public Health at CU Denver

Mathematica Policy Research

Learn more about the research teams

Child Support Churn Study

In collaboration with the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Colorado Lab will describe the feasibility of using routinely collected administrative data to identify employment-related reasons that relate to churn for the cohort of Child Support cases that opened in 2015. Churn for the purposes of this study is defined as changes in payment behavior (e.g., paying prior months, then skipping a month). This study will assess the quality of employment-related data routinely collected in ASCES through review of the data and discussion with CDHS program and/or data services staff.

Agencies: 

Colorado Department of Human Services, Child Support Division

Research Partners: 

University of Denver, Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab

Child Support Employment Messaging Study

Income withholding is a primary way that child support is collected. For this strategy to be effective non-custodial parents need to be employed and their employer must be verified. Developing and testing a behaviorally informed text messaging strategy that allows non-custodial parents to self-identify as (1) being unemployed or (2) having changed employment is hypothesized to lead to more parents who are able to pay child support, who have a verified employer, and ultimately regularly pay child support.

Agencies: 

Colorado Department of Human Services, Child Support Division

Research Partners: 

University of Denver, Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab