CDHS renews 2Generation Opportunities grants for four groups

DENVER (Aug. 8, 2019) — The Colorado Department of Human Services has announced the four communities that will receive continuation funding for their work on the 2Generation Opportunities (2GO) innovation project. This grant program is part of CDHS 2GO programming which encourages all programs to serve children and their caregivers together, to harness the family’s full potential and to put the entire family on a path to permanent economic security.

The state was able to fund four continuation grants of $100,000 each to continue to create and implement policy and programs to assist families with building assets for generations to come. CDHS has conducted site visits with the four awardees and is excited about the outlined project plans and year two goals. “The 2GO Innovation Grant Program was designed to promote innovation and to support communities in breaking down silos and working together to assist the needs of the whole family. Supporting the whole family is critical to sustainable impact,” said Michelle Barnes, Executive Director of CDHS.

Here are the four awardees, their current work and upcoming goals:

Mesa County Department of Public Health

Mesa has improved access to quality Early Childhood Education for working families. 303 children received better early education and safe care through the three pilot sites, and 30 parents received training and job placement. They are currently using a three-pronged approach for their Child Care 8,000 initiative to increase the number of child care slots.

  1. Collaboration with the business community to address child care gaps for working parents and help parents get back to work.
  2. Paying for more teachers to be trained and credentialed to work in licensed child care centers to improve school readiness for children. 30 participants are currently in training.
  3. Incorporated family feedback to improve the delivery of early childhood education and credential training. 

Their year two goals include continuing to fund early childhood education, increase teacher credentialing and expand their shared services model to three more sites.

Eagle County Department of Human Services

Eagle County is utilizing a 2Gen approach (services for the child and parent) to bring mobile services to the underserved Hipsanic community. They have currently served 280 families with mobile services which has improved access to health services, health insurance, likelihood of immunization, connection to medical homes, connection to early childhood and adult education programs, access to public benefits and universal health screening assessments for the parent AND child which was not happening before. Their year 2 goals include updating data systems to link parent and child outcomes and expanding the Parents as Teachers program to the underserved Eagle River Valley to reduce the risk of child abuse or neglect while promoting school readiness.

Routt County Department of Human Services

Routt County is currently serving incarcerated fathers, non-English speaking families in need of work and families with severe mental health or substance use challenges. Routt has served 97 families and has teamed up with nearby Moffat County through the work of their 2GO grant. They are actively learning from Eagle County in how to bring mobile school readiness programs to the community. Common client stories involve a mother who was separated from her children due to opioid addiction who has been able to access comprehensive family services because of the grant. Another example is an incarcerated father who took parenting classes under the fatherhood program has been released, re-engaged with his family and continuing the parenting program and other support services. Routt County’s goals for year two include better behavioral health coordination with the area’s managed services organization and community mental health center for opioid-impacted families and ensuring the sustainability of ongoing one-on-one family support services when released from jail. They plan on continuing to gather feedback from fathers who completed the fatherhood program and presenting that feedback to the county’s Early Childhood Council promoting more father engagement in services.

Focus Points Family Resource Center

A Family Resource Center in Denver, Focus Points, is using a earn while you learn model to provide economic opportunities within an urban farm context. The program works to provide supplemental wages for participants and their families while they acquire core skills, agricultural expertise and guidance in launching and operating their own business. Focus points served 60 families in additional class trainings on technical skill building, case management and job retention services, workshops on nutrition and wellness, all while providing childcare. One parent has completed Focus Point’s business training and has opened a flower cart. Another parent who enrolled in home visitation is helping with the design of the new greenhouse while also working on his parenting skills. Focus Points’ year two goals include observing additional outcomes such as increasing work readiness, resource availability, family engagement, behavioral and cognitive skills in children, school readiness and allowing for increased social networks among others in the program.