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January 2021Vol. 22, No. 1Fewer Residential Placements Lead to Children Thriving in Families in Colorado

A recent article in The Denver Business Journal discusses how the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) has changed the way Colorado's residential care facilities for youth involved with child welfare operate. Residential care is often seen as a last resort, as it removes youth from a family environment, which can lead to difficulties with healing from trauma and social integration after they exit care.

There are over 50 Colorado agencies that, collectively, are licensed to support 1,664 children in residential care. Between 800 and 1,000 children and youth are currently in residential care in the state. FFPSA seeks to greatly reduce the number of beds available in residential care in order to keep children and youth in families. The reduction of slots available in residential facilities has led to an upheaval of financial priorities, focusing more funds and training toward strengthening the capacity of families and foster families to care for children within safe and caring homes and requiring residential facilities to switch to alternative business plans.