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December/January 2020Vol. 20, No. 10Redesigning Child Welfare to Focus on Early Intervention and Prevention

In fiscal year 2019, the Children's Bureau funded nine projects through the Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families grant cluster to use primary prevention strategies to improve the safety, stability, and well-being of families through community-based services and supports. The Cross Program Supports and Information System Integration project in Boulder County (CO) is using funds to support a two-pronged approach to support families.

The Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services (BCDHHS) redesigned its child welfare system in 2009 and renewed its focus on early intervention and prevention activities to reduce the need for foster care placements. The following are examples of programs that stemmed from this effort:

  • The School-Based Rental Assistance Program helps keep children in their school districts and out of homelessness by helping to cover housing costs and providing intensive case management supports.
  • The Early Intervention Program coordinates supports for families with children ages 0-5 who are screened-out after a child protection referral. Through these efforts, families at risk for homelessness may receive Short-Term Housing or Family Unification Program vouchers to help them avoid further child protection involvement.

BCDHHS has also been using an integrated data system with community providers. This can help the parties prioritize client needs and remove barriers between isolated systems in health care, housing, and human services.

For more information about BCDHHS programming, visit