Colorado Results First

In summer 2014, Colorado’s Executive Branch and the General Assembly partnered with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to implement Results First in Colorado. Colorado's Results First team has reviewed programs in the adult criminal justice, juvenile justice, child welfare and behavioral health policy areas.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, a project of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, works with Colorado and other jurisdictions to implement an innovative benefit-cost analysis approach to state policy decision making. By offering cutting-edge tools and hands-on technical assistance, Results First helps public leaders identify and invest in policies and programs that produce the best outcomes for constituents.

At the core of the Results First approach is a benefit-cost analysis model. Based on a model first developed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, it incorporates national research on program effectiveness and allows that national data to be analyzed in conjunction with Colorado-specific data.

Colorado Pay for Success

In 2015, the Colorado General Assembly enacted HB 15-1317 authorizing the Office of State Planning and Budgeting to pursue Pay for Success contracts.

Under a Pay for Success contract, a state or local government pays for a service based on outcomes and impact, measured rigorously by an independent evaluator. Pay for Success contracts may also be paid for by nonprofit, private sector, or individual funders, with foundations and/or impact investors providing up-front project financing to the project's service provider(s). The government commits to repay these funders if the intervention achieves key outcomes (for instance, a reduction in recidivism, or improvements in school performance) for the individuals served by the project.

A number of innovators across the country have experimented with the Pay for Success model in recent years as part of a broader strategy to move toward evidence-based and data-driven policymaking. The city and county of Denver recently launched a Pay for Success project last year to finance services for persistently homeless individuals.

The Office of State Planning and Budgeting is currently conducting a feasibility study exploring the viability of a state-sponsored Pay for Success project to improve outcomes for Colorado's underserved youth.