About CDHS and contacts


Mission, vision and values

The Colorado Department of Human Services connects people with assistance, resources and support for living independently in our state. We're the people who help people. Colorado has a state-supervised and county-administered human services system. Under this system, county departments are the main provider of direct services to Colorado’s families, children and adults.

Our mission

Together, we empower Coloradans to thrive.

Our vision

To serve Coloradans through bold and innovative health and human services.

Our values

We believe in a people-first approach: To serve the people of Colorado, we develop a culture and work environment that creates an energized, inspired, and healthy team capable of giving their best to Coloradans.

Balance creates quality of life: We want our team to be resilient through a supportive workplace that values flexibility, health and wellness, and employee engagement.

We hold ourselves accountable: We take responsibility through our actions, programs, and results for the state of health and human services in Colorado.

Transparency matters: We are open and honest with employees, our partners, the Coloradans we serve, and the public.

We are ethical: We abide by what is best for those we serve by doing what is right, not what is easy.

Collaboration helps us rise together: We work together with all partners, employees, and clients to achieve the best outcomes for Coloradans.

Our commitment to counties

The relationships built by counties and CDHS administration are integral to serving Coloradans as we navigate a new, challenging landscape with COVID-19. We have made a dedicated effort to be out in counties to learn more about the amazing work supporting Coloradans, in addition to the on-the-ground challenges counties are facing.

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CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes has attended meetings with county human services directors in each region to listen and learn from directors across the state. As Barnes explained, “We wanted to launch this new administration by getting to know each other and building good relationships. Visiting the regions across the state was important to me because I wanted to meet directors in all the regions. This is part of our effort to ensure that we are building trust in the communities we serve."

What we heard from county human services directors

In talking with county human services directors, we learned that, now more than ever, we need to use our partnership to work on the top needs that directors across the state share. Those needs include:

Behavioral health access: We heard loud and clear that increasing access to behavioral health services to ensure a full continuum of care for people across the state is critical to all.

Child care and families: Another theme we heard is the need to address the child care “deserts” that exist across the state and invest more in the child care needs for families.

Working across silos: We also heard that we need to work across the silos at the department in order to improve our systems and achieve better outcomes.

Recovering from COVID-19: Additionally, the conversations we have had in recent weeks have focused on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What we are doing in response to county needs

Behavioral health access: Ensuring all Coloradans are getting the mental health and substance use treatment they need is a top priority for CDHS, and we are committed to working toward a better system and investing as much time as it takes. The county representation from commissioners and human services directors on the Behavioral Health Task Force has been paramount to working through local needs. It has been particularly helpful in determining how system barriers can be removed to respond to on-the-ground realities.

Child care and families: Working with counties, child care providers and families to ensure providers can stay open and operate safely in this new landscape. Establishing a renewed focus on technical support for child care providers with increased investment in workforce expansion and professional development support and increasing the capacity of local Early Childhood Councils to recruit child care providers and address community quality improvement needs.

Working across silos: This administration believes all of our work should serve the whole family, which requires us to look through the family’s lens instead of working within our arbitrary silos. This administration has instituted regular cross-office meetings and is bolstering the staff who work across offices to ensure our work is aligned. This work includes partnering with our sister agencies more closely to solve issues like data sharing to ensure we have combined communications when appropriate.

Recovering from COVID-19: The recovery from this unprecedented pandemic will take time and true partnership. CDHS leadership has already begun conversations with counties to increase communication and coordination so that we can make decisions together as often as possible. In addition, staff have begun assessing programs and supports that will be needed across the state to help get back to the “new normal.”

CDHS's commitment to maintaining partnerships

We are genuinely committed to partnering with counties and our other community partners early and often as we work to identify and solve problems, such as significant transitions like Family First, changes to the behavioral health system, and our shared recovery from this pandemic. We look forward to our continued virtual and in-person visits so together we can tackle the challenges that lie ahead.


Management team

Visit the Organizational structure and leadership page to view bios of CDHS's leadership and management team.

County intermediaries

DCW staff are responsible for providing support, guidance and monitoring of county child welfare practice. Toward that end, DCW assigns staff to be a liaison between the county departments of human/social services and DCW. As a result of staffing changes, the DCW county assignments have been modified. The DCW Intermediary provides a point of contact to counties to ask questions, request assistance or to help navigate other programs and services. The list and map below identify the DCW Intermediary assignments and their contact information.

View the Division of Child Welfare County and Tribal map and list of intermediaries.

Organizational charts
CDHS org chart

CDHS is made up of four public-facing offices and several internal-facing offices. For a complete list of divisions and programs within each office, visit the Organizational structure and leadership page of the CDHS website.

Our partners

Expand the sections below for helpful links to partner organizations and resources.

   Colorado Human Services Directors Association

The Colorado Human Services Directors Association (CHSDA) is a non-profit association representing the social/human services directors from across the state of Colorado. The Association promotes a human services system that encourages self-sufficiency of families and communities, and protects vulnerable children and adults from abuse and neglect.

Colorado Counties, Inc.

Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI) is a non-profit, membership association whose purpose is to offer assistance to county commissioners, mayors and council members and to encourage counties to work together on common issues.

Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) oversees and operates Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid Program), Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), and other Medical Assistance programs for Coloradans who qualify.

​HRCC Collaborative Forum (HCPF, RAEs, Child Welfare, Counties)

The purpose of the HRCC (HCPF, RAEs, Child Welfare, Counties) Collaborative forum is to improve coordination and alignment of policies and practices across the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), the Regional Accountable Entities (RAEs), the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), and the Colorado Counties to ensure timely service delivery to child welfare involved children and their families. More information can be found here