Two-generation approach in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Human Services uses a two-generation approach to guide all of our services. The two-gen approach encourages CDHS 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.

When programs and policies are designed with the whole family's educational and economic future in mind, and families are assisted to reach the social networks and resources they need to be successful in life, opportunity becomes a family tradition. Fragmented approaches to serving families that separately address the needs of children and their caregivers can leave either the child or the caregiver behind, reducing the likelihood of success for all members of the family. The two-gen approach brings all family members along together, assesses all family members together and provides all family members with opportunities, together, to be successful.

For more information about two-gen efforts at CDHS, contact Family and Community Engagement Director Chelsey Hall at chelsey.hall@state.co.us or 303.866.5310.

How Colorado is using the two-generation approach

The two-generation approach is in action across Colorado and serves clients and providers together. Here are several areas where two-gen is having an impact on Coloradans.

Colorado Guide to 2Gen

The Colorado Guide to 2Gen provides a roadmap for the next phase of the state's efforts to ensure that all Colorado families and children are valued, healthy, and thriving. This guide was published in June 2017 with the work of many groups and individuals who have been instrumental in revolutionizing 2Gen approaches in Colorado. The guide is grounded in the excellent work that has been done in the state and strategies that cut across sectors, nonprofits, the business community, state and local governments, and philanthropic partners to lift up Colorado families. The Colorado Guide to 2Gen represents Colorado's commitment to becoming a state in which all families can attain economic security and educational success.

2Generation Opportunities pilot program

2Generation Opportunities, or 2GO, is an effort to help Colorado communities innovate and create their own ways of engaging in a two-generation approach to service delivery. In November 2018, the 2GO pilot awarded 10 grants of $100,000 each to both rural and urban community collaborators who proposed innovative ways to address complex systemic challenges that impede families' ability to reach their full potential. Learn more about the 2GO program.

COACT Colorado

COACT Colorado builds a system of services and supports for children with serious behavioral health challenges and their families. These individualized, culturally and linguistically relevant services and support are based on an evidence-based process known as high-fidelity wrap around. Learn more about COACT Colorado.

Colorado Community Response

As part of a group of cornerstone prevention programs formed or expanded under Gov. John Hickenlooper's Child Welfare Plan-called Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy 2.0 - Colorado Community Response provides comprehensive voluntary services for families with a screened out referral and/or closed referral after initial assessment by local child welfare agencies. CCR is intended to reach families at an earlier stage when they are facing stress, in an effort to reduce future referrals to child welfare, providing a comprehensive, community-based service continuum for families at risk for child maltreatment. Learn more about Colorado Community Response.

Colorado Refugee Services

Refugees come to Colorado from many different countries from around the globe and with an array of talents, skills, backgrounds and life experiences. They share the common aspiration of finding safety, security and opportunities to establish themselves and their families in new communities. Learn more about the Colorado Refugee Services program.

Division of Youth Services

The family is an integral part of the team working with youth involved in CDHS's Division of Youth Services. DYS strives to adequately honor family experience and culture, empower all family members, use family strengths, and inject hope for a safe and successful future. Learn more about DYS.

A DYS two-gen success story:

Being committed to the Division of Youth Services is an intense turning point for any youth and their families. For Deaundrey, a youth at Zeb Pike Youth Services Center, being committed only told part of the story of his challenges going forward.

Shortly after being committed and arriving at Zeb Pike, Deaundrey learned that his newborn child Gloria was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy a condition known as Noonan Syndrome, that required a complete heart transplant in order for his 14-month old baby to survive. In addition, a donor would need to be found within months before the condition would take her life. Thankfully, a match was found and, after several months, little Gloria was able to have the surgery at Children's Hospital in Aurora.

Creating an emotional bond between Deaundrey and Gloria was pivotal at this important time in their lives. That is why Deaundrey's Client Manager, Deaundrey's family and the staff at Zeb Pike worked closely to ensure that their needs would be met during this critical time in their lives. They began to develop trust in each other to help ensure a smooth transition during recovery. All parties involved helped to ensure that Deaundrey had special visits, additional passes and phone calls as needed. Transportation arrangements were made by the facility and Deaundrey's family.

Deaundrey did his part to maintain his pass privileges by displaying safe behaviors in the facility and in the community. As Gloria begins her long road to recovery, Deaundrey, his family and the staff at Zeb Pike all recognize the importance of keeping this strong collaboration intact. According to Deaundrey's Clinician, Maddy Tormoen, the plan going forward is for Deaundrey to leave Zeb Pike in December and be placed at the Dale House. He also recently accepted a job at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort as a pastry chef, an opportunity that he attributes to his culinary arts training received at Zeb Pike.

Child Support Services

Colorado is proud to be one of the first states in the nation to transform its Child Support Services (CSS) program utilizing the two-gen approach. This approach serves as a complimentary addition to CSS's core services. Counties across the state have already started to incorporate pieces of the approach into their work. Doing so brings focus to the whole family, the child and both parents, custodial and non-custodial, when providing supportive services. Learn more about Child Support Services.

Family Voice Council

At CDHS, we recognize the value of family participation and engaging the voices of those with lived systems experience. The Family Voice Council is made up of community members who have been involved with, or are currently engaging in, at least two CDHS services or programs. Council members come together monthly to learn, give input and ultimately affect positive systems change. The Council's mission is to improve the quality and delivery of services for all Coloradans through giving thoughtful input and achieving personal goals. Members are able to share their honest experiences and provide feedback as a guide for the future. Learn more about the Family Voice Council.

Working Together Project

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Working Together Project applies the two-gen framework to support families enrolled in evidence-based home visiting toward increasing their economic security. The project impacts caregiver access to and completion of the GED, short-term college certificate programs, workforce training and financial literacy education. While caregivers are working toward their goals, their young children will simultaneously receive quality care and support services to optimize development. Learn more about the Working Together Project.

Two-generation partners and resources

Countless individuals and teams help make the two-generation approach a successful reality for Coloradans. Below is a list of partners and resources that aid in the approach.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

FrameWorks Institute

National Governors Association

Arapahoe County Department of Human Services and Family Tree's Generational Opportunities to Achieve Long-Term Success (GOALS) Program

The Bell Policy Center

Colorado Children's Campaign

Family Resource Center Association