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Family First Evidence-Building Hub

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Hub Overview

The Family First Prevention Services Act is sweeping child welfare legislation aimed at keeping families together with a focus on preventative services. The Colorado Lab supported the state in developing a long-term strategy for the evaluation components of Colorado’s 5-Year Family First Prevention Services Plan (Colorado’s Plan), approved in October 2022.

Programs and services receiving a “promising” or “supported” evidence designation by the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) require ongoing rigorous evaluation to reach a “well-supported” evidence designation. Programs and services that have no current designation and those that have been reviewed but do not currently meet criteria require evidence building from the ground up. The Colorado Lab serves as the Family First Evidence-Building Hub on behalf of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). In this role, the Colorado Lab provides strategic guidance to meet the evidence requirements for Family First and ensures strategic investments in evidence building for programs and services positioned to meet the needs of Colorado’s children, youth, and families. The Hub currently coordinates and oversees six evaluations and will onboard additional evaluations as programs and services are prioritized within Colorado’s prevention strategy.

There is a federal Family First requirement to monitor adherence across all programs and services included in Colorado’s Plan. Continuous quality improvement (CQI) is also required for programs and services in Colorado’s Plan that have achieved a “well supported” evidence designation. To this end, the Hub developed a dashboard to support state program intermediaries in monitoring fidelity to evidence-based models and inform investments to strengthen and scale programs and services.

Family First Evidence-Building Hub

Summary of Evidence

The Hub produces two annual reports for CDHS:

  • Family First Annual Evidence-Building Strategy Report: Delivered in November each year, this report includes recommendations for prioritizing additional programs and services for evidence-building and possible inclusion in Colorado’s Plan, and opportunities to advance Colorado’s prevention strategy.
  • Family First Annual Rigorous Evaluation Report: Delivered in May each year, this report details rigorous evaluation efforts underway, including a summary of evidence to date, for programs and services currently in Colorado’s Family First evidence-building pipeline.

The Hub also developed a Family First Fidelity Monitoring Dashboard to support monitoring of fidelity to evidence-based models and inform investments.


The Family First Evidence-Building Hub uses all three evidence-based decision-making domains: the best available research evidence, the implementation context and community needs, and decision-maker expertise. Evaluation findings and annual Hub reports can be used by:

  • CDHS Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF) team to promote high-quality prevention service delivery for children, youth, and families and maximize federal reimbursement for reinvestment in the prevention of child maltreatment.
  • Child Welfare Prevention Task Group and other key stakeholders to inform priorities for evidence-building and maximizing Family First reach, access, and drawdown.
  • Legislators, Colorado Child Abuse Prevention Trust Fund, and policymakers to inform Family First funding and policy decisions.

Get Involved

For more information about working with the Colorado Lab, see Government and Community Partnerships or Research Partnerships.