Child welfare data and accountability

The Division of Child Welfare utilizes four initiatives to assess and drive improvements to the state's and counties' performance on the measures associated with the Child and Family Services Review outcomes and systemic factors. These initiatives include:
  • Colorado Practice Model
  • Results Oriented Management
  • Administrative Review Division
  • CDHS's C-Stat performance review process

Together, these initiatives constitute a dynamic Quality Assurance System that creates a robust process for quantitative and qualitative analysis of the state and counties' performance, and thorough identification of strengths, weaknesses and potential solutions to improve our performance and our service to children, youth and families involved in Colorado's child welfare system.

Expand the sections below to explore and learn more about child welfare data and accountability.

CDHS Community Performance Center

As part of an ongoing effort to increase transparency and accountability in child welfare in Colorado, CDHS has created an educational website and public data center. Through the CDHS Community Performance Center website, CDHS provides the public with similar online reporting tools and reports that are available in Colorado ROM, while protecting confidential information of the children and families served through child welfare services.

Results Oriented Management (ROM)

CDHS partnered with the University of Kansas School of Social Work to develop a Results Oriented Management (ROM) system for Colorado. This online reporting tool provides both state and county staff with the ability to share data that is more current, drill down and analyze it in different ways aimed at creating a better understanding of the system's numerous successes and challenges.

Become a ROM user

If you are an authorized Trails user, you can become a Colorado ROM user by completing the form linked here.

Statewide Information System (Trails)

Trails is Colorado's certified state-county SACWIS system. It is a complex and comprehensive system that has evolved over its 13-year history. Since its implementation in 2001, Trails has been continually enhanced to address issues and meet the changing needs of CDHS. Since county departments of human services service have many youth involved with the DYC, a separate module was created for DYC services. Trails integrates, with limitations, 11 data systems owned by other child and family serving state agencies. State and county users depend heavily on the approximately 1,000 structured and ad-hoc reports, which were developed from Trails to satisfy federal reporting requirements and to assess the performance and effectiveness of Colorado's child welfare services. In 2013–2014, Colorado enhanced Trails by adding the Results Oriented Management (ROM) System and the CDHS Community Performance Center, a public-facing child welfare e-data website.

Trails has been incrementally updated over the last 13 years, however, the system is rooted in outdated technology and architecture. The system's interface is not reflective of modern technology and has limited mobility capabilities. OCYF contracted for an evaluation of the current system and any recommendations for potential system upgrades. The report confirmed that a system overhaul is needed. OCYF is examining its options.

Administrative Review Division

The Administrative Review Division (ARD) serves as an independent third party review system under the auspices of the CDHS. ARD is the mechanism responsible for the federally required Case Review System and a portion of the Quality Assurance System for both the DCW and the Division of Youth Corrections. With an ultimate goal of providing permanency and well-being for Colorado's children, the ARD works closely with Colorado's counties to train, measure and assess their adherence to state and federal regulations.

ARD conducts three types of reviews that inform the child welfare system:

  • Out-of-home (OOH)
  • In-home (IH)
  • Quality assurance (QA)

ARD OOH reviews are scheduled at six-month intervals as long as the child/youth is in OOH care. Prior to the onsite review, an ARD reviewer reviews the case file in Trails. The case file review is followed by an onsite review in which families, youth, care providers, Guardians ad Litem (GALs), Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), and others are invited to attend.

In-home reviews are conducted on a stratified random sample of the county's in-home cases. IH reviews are conducted every six months for the 10 large counties, and annually for mid-size and small counties. Families and external parties do not attend these reviews.

The quality assurance reviews are incorporated into all of these placement reviews. ARD also conducts reviews of cases through stratified random samples of cases involving children in placement less than six months.

Case Review

Colorado's case review system is administered by the Administrative Review Division (ARD). Independent from CDHS's Division of Child Welfare and county departments of human services, ARD is aligned with CDHS' larger quality assurance system within the department's Division of Performance and Strategic Outcomes. Since its inception in 1991, ARD has developed strong internal processes to ensure consistency across reviewers. The division works collaboratively with the Division of Child Welfare, the Division of Youth Corrections, and county departments to develop review tools and processes. Additionally, the division uses an instrument that is mapped directly to the CFSR On-site review instrument (OSRI), including the multiple items that comprise the Systemic Factors.

Through its case reviews, ARD provides helpful information to CDHS, county departments and caseworkers. The case reviews often highlight areas where additional training or technical assistance are needed. Analysis of data collected from ARD's review process identifies developing trends in Colorado's child welfare practice. Out-of-home (OOH) case reviews provide a forum for parents, providers, children, and youth to share their information and concerns. The efficacy of Colorado's case review process is supported by research that shows children whose cases where reviewed timely achieved permanency 10 months sooner than those whose cases were not reviewed timely.


C-Stat is a performance management system that allows every CDHS program to better focus on and improve performance outcomes. By identifying areas of focus, CDHS can determine what is working and what needs improvement. By measuring the impact of day-to-day efforts, we make more informed, collaborative decisions to align efforts and resources to affect positive change.

Each Division within the Offices of Behavioral Health, Children, Youth, & Families and Economic Security is collecting data to be examined on a monthly basis in C-Stat meetings. Together, executive leadership along with the office staff analyze data to identify both positive trends, and opportunities for improvement. Divisions will determine strategies for improvement and implement these strategies, while executive leadership will help to reduce barriers to the divisions' success.

C-Stat has moved CDHS to an outcomes-oriented and collaborative approach to affect change at every level. The goal of C-Stat is to collect timely data, increase transparency, conduct regular executive meetings to assess the effectiveness of the strategies, and identify new performance measures, all in support of continuous quality improvement.

Data Request

The Division of Child Welfare (DCW), in partnership with the University of Kansas School of Social Work, created the CDHS Community Performance Center to serve as an educational website and the data center, sharing real-time data about the children, youth and families involved in Colorado's child welfare system in an effort to engage communities in the unmet needs of abused and neglected children in their community and neighborhood.

If the information you are seeking is unavailable on the CDHS Community Performance Center, please complete the form below to submit a data requested from the Division of Child Welfare.

Please allow at least two weeks for completion.