Colorado Lab and GSSW Help Launch Pay for Success in Colorado

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When young people in Colorado get into trouble, government systems like juvenile justice and foster care struggle to steer them in a better direction. Governor Hickenlooper’s office and the Colorado General Assembly are determined that our state can do better.

“Pay for Success” is an innovative model in which private or philanthropic capital provides funding for preventative programs that will save the government money in the long-term.  On April 30, the Governor signed House Bill 18-1323 to allow the State of Colorado to test this idea with three innovative programs. DU’s Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) and the Barton Institute’s Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab (the Colorado Lab) are involved with these projects.

Pay for Success: Colorado’s Pilot Projects

The three pilot projects seek to make life measurably better for Colorado youth in urban, suburban, and rural settings. GSSW is serving as the facilitator for the rural project and the Colorado Lab will provide evaluation and support for all three projects.

Urban project: Fund rapid responders in Denver County to refer runaway youth to evidence-based in-home services before they enter (or re-enter) the child welfare and/or justice systems.

  • This project will cost $1.61 million over 4 years, but is projected to return $4.72 million to taxpayers and society.

Suburban project: Intensively serve Jefferson County youth in foster care with school-based specialists, better coordination, and additional supports to improve educational outcomes.

  • This project will cost $2.37 million over 3 years, but is projected to return $7.66 million to taxpayers and society.

Rural project: Expand Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST), a proven in-home intervention to reduce juvenile crime, to underserved parts of rural Colorado where it is not available.

  • This project will cost $2.07 million over 3 years, but is projected to return at least $3.6 million to taxpayers and society.