Research and Evaluation

CDHS is improving programs through research and evaluation

CDHS is working to proactively improve human services programs throughout Colorado by engaging in meaningful research and evaluation. Leveraging data and evidence in its decision-making is how CDHS will become the most effective and efficient human services organization in the nation. Our commitment to this work is embedded in CDHS’s mission, vision, and values as we strive to be a continuous learning organization, always learning and improving.

CDHS's Research and Evaluation unit was created in 2015 to better support and coordinate research and evaluation efforts across the department. The Research and Evaluation unit seeks to accomplish this by:

  • Improving communication and information sharing among CDHS research and data staff

  • Establishing a learning agenda for CDHS that is driven and informed by data and evidence

  • Building stronger mutually-beneficial partnerships with outside researchers

Learning Agenda

  • In 2018, CDHS will invest approximately $6.7 million in federal, state, and private funds to conduct 48 research and evaluation projects in conjunction with our external research partners.

  • In addition to the 48 projects that CDHS conducts with external partners, CDHS has an additional 17 research projects done entirely by CDHS staff, for a total of 65 projects.

  • Of the 65 projects, 16 are required by the federal government, 17 by the Colorado legislature, and the remaining 32 are not required by either. The fact that nearly half of these projects are initiated internally demonstrates CDHS’s commitment to learning and program improvement.

  • CDHS is partnered with researchers at local universities roughly one-third of all of its ongoing research projects (21 of 65). Three universities account for nearly all of this work: the University of Colorado Denver, Denver University, and Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

  • The total number of R&E projects and annualized dollars have both grown over the past three years, as seen in the chart below.



SHARP Fellowship

As part of our effort to build stronger partnerships with outside researchers, CDHS has created the State Human Services Applied Research Practicum (SHARP) Fellowship for graduate students. You can read more about the SHARP Fellowship here.

Research Partnerships

CDHS is partnered with a number local universities as well as local and national research firms to help us better understand and improve our work through formal research and evaluation.  Through these partnerships, CDHS will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of existing programs and procedures, determine the validity of newer tools developed to assess client needs, and use this information to identify additional opportunities to improve our client services.