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Family Support Programs

Child First® is an evidence-based, two-generation, home-based mental health intervention that serves young children (prenatal through the age of 5) and their families, helping them heal from the damaging effects of stress and trauma. The approach builds strong, nurturing caregiver-child relationships, promotes adult capacity, and connects families with needed services to increase emotional health and learning success and prevent child abuse and neglect.

 

Each Family works alongside a two-person team within the home. The team consists of a mental health clinician with experience in early childhood development and advanced clinical training, and a family support partner who works with the entire family on sources of stress, connecting them to needed community resources. 

 

To make a referral, please complete our HIPPA compliant referral.

Circle of Parents® is a national program dedicated to empowering parents and caregivers with knowledge, skills and support to raise resilient, happy children. It’s a place where anyone in a parenting role can openly discuss the successes and challenges of raising children. It’s a place to find and share support among peers.

As the Colorado chapter of Circle of Parents, Illuminate Colorado works to bring peer-to-peer parent support groups to local communities across the state. These circles provide a community of caregivers that allows anyone in a parenting role to celebrate success, share challenges and find resources that strengthen them and their families while they’re raising children.

Circle of Parents provides support groups that are led by parents, for parents—where parents are the experts. Facilitators help create a safe, inviting space where all participants are empowered to seek and share support and build a community that helps them be the parents they want to be. By coming together in a confidential and non-judgmental environment to talk through the everyday triumphs and struggles of raising kids, parents build strengths in five key areas that help prevent abuse and neglect and promote the health and safety of children:

  • Social connections: Having a network of friends and family
  • Parent resilience: Being able to manage stress and cope with challenges
  • Concrete support in times of need: Knowing where to get help in tough situations
  • Parenting knowledge: Understanding the basics of child development and learning strategies for managing different phases
  • Supporting your child: Helping kids manage their emotions and build healthy relationships

Illuminate Colorado supports Circle of Parents groups throughout the state. These include general parenting groups and circles that are specific to certain experiences and backgrounds, such as:

  • Parents in recovery
  • Fathers and male caregivers
  • Spanish speakers
  • Kinship and grandparents
  • Parents of children with special needs 
  • Expectant, new and expanding families

Find your Circle.

The Colorado Fatherhood Program (CFP) serves fathers who are 18 and older, with children up to 24 years old. Through engaging workshops, program staff help fathers build healthy parent-child relationships, increase economic stability and build social connections. Program recipients also receive assistance accessing housing, employment, and basic needs. Download the flyer to learn more about how CFP strengthens fathers and families and find a program near you. 

The Colorado Fatherhood Program is currently offered at seven locations. Click the links to learn more about a program in your area.

Programs are funded through a federal grant under the Administration of Children, Youth and Families and managed by the Colorado Department of Early Childhood. 
 
“The work of the seven sites selected will support fathers in the vital role they play for children and families,” said Mary Alice Cohen, director of the former Office of Early Childhood. “We are very excited to see grantees make a positive impact in their communities.”    

Read more about the grant that funds these programs

Also, Colorado has a fatherhood network referred to as the Colorado Fatherhood Initiative which works to build a robust continuum of supports that promote a father's role in the family, build accountability measures for fathers, and provides opportunities for mentorships that model responsible fathering. Learn more about the Colroado Fatherhood Initiative.

Family Resource Centers provide a safe, accessible place for your family to connect with comprehensive, coordinated services that help you strengthen your family and become more self-reliant.

Programs at each center are tailored to the culture, resources and needs of the community they serve, and focus on building on the strengths of each family and individual.

Find a program on the Family Support Programs Referral List.

Healthy Steps is a free, voluntary program that helps you understand what to expect from your growing child. The program pairs a Healthy Steps Specialist with families with children ages birth to 3.

Specialists meet with you and your child in your pediatrician's office and at home for up to 3 years. The goal is to provide you with solutions for the challenges of raising a child.

To enroll in the program, your child's pediatrician must offer Healthy Steps. View the Family Support Programs Referral List to find a provider in your community.

Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters

Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is a free, voluntary school readiness program that helps you prepare your 3- to 5-year-old children for success.
 
HIPPY is a peer-delivered program where trained home visitors provide weekly home visits, working with you one-on-one. The program also provides monthly group meetings, where you and your children can socialize and meet other families in your community, and a resource network to connect your family with resources that meet your specific needs.​

Families typically enroll in HIPPY for at least one school year. Many families continue enrollment for two or three school years. The program works toward two main goals to maximize your child’s chances of successful early school experiences:

  • To empower and train you as a parent to act as the primary educator of your children in the home.
  • To encourage your involvement in the school and community.

View the Family Support Programs Referral List to find a HIPPY program in your community. 

Nurse-Family Partnership is a free, voluntary program that pairs first-time low-income mothers with highly trained nurses.

Your nurse will visit you in your home or a place of your choosing from pregnancy until your baby turns 2 years old. Your nurse provides support and education, serving as a mentor to help you have a healthy pregnancy. They will coach you on child health and development, empowering you to set goals and encouraging financial stability for your family.

Nurse-Family Partnership is available in every county in Colorado.

View the Family Support Programs Referral List to find a Nurse-Family Partnership program in your community.

Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development (NHSD) is a 2- to 3-hour introductory workshop developed to help you foster healthy, nurturing relationships that support the healthy growth and development of your children. The workshop addresses the following topics:

Normal sexual development in children Types of child sexual abuse

 

Visit Illuminate Colorado for more information and to complete the training.

  • The range of sexual behaviors
  • Facts and myths about abuse
  • Signs of sexual abuse
  • Answering children's questions
  • Responding to sexual behavior in children

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a free, voluntary parent education and family support program serving families like yours, from pregnancy until your child enters kindergarten.

PAT pairs trained Parent Educators with families to ensure school readiness and healthy child development. PAT delivers services once or twice per month in your home or a place of your choosing. Families typically enroll in PAT for at least one year. Many families continue enrollment for multiple years and some families are enrolled from pregnancy until kindergarten entry. Parent Educators focus on the following components:

  1. Empowering parents to become their child's first and most important teacher
  2. Partnering with parents to demonstrate activities parents can do with their child to optimize the child's brain development and health by combining nurturing parenting techniques with activities, stories, songs, and games
  3. Group meetings designed to relay important information and offer parents opportunities to interact and support one another
  4. Health and developmental screening
  5. Resource network to connect your family with resources that meet your specific needs

View the Family Support Programs Referral List to find a PAT program in your community.

SafeCare® Colorado is a free, voluntary parent support program for parents and caregivers with children ages five and under who need extra support to keep their families safe and healthy.

Parent support providers help you build on your existing skills in the areas of parent-child interactions, home safety and child health. SafeCare® typically takes 18-20 weekly sessions to complete (about 4-6 months) and each session lasts 1 to 1.5 hours. SafeCare® Colorado is delivered in the home or another convenient location by trained parent support providers.​

Stewards of Children is a 2-hour facilitator-led training program that is intended to prevent child sexual abuse.

The goal of the program is to provide you with solutions on how to implement effective prevention policies, recognize signs of sexual abuse in children, and react responsibly if abuse occurs.

You can expect to leave the training with an increased awareness of the prevalence of child sexual abuse, initiatives to facilitate positive change to current policies and procedures, and an individual commitment to creating a personal plan to successfully prevent potential child sexual abuse in the future.

Visit Illuminate Colorado for more information and to complete the training.

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Other Assistance Programs

Get Ahead Colorado/Hacia Adelante Colorado is a website to help families file their taxes and take advantage of tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.

The Colorado Program Eligibility and Application Kit (PEAK) is designed to provide families with a modern and easily accessible tool to apply for public assistance benefits. PEAK allows you to apply online and check your eligibility for financial, educational or medical assistance by using the Am I Eligible tool.​

Over time, the Department of Early Childhood will work toward streamlining the applications for many of these programs so they are accessible and interoperable with the application for Colorado’s Universal Preschool Program. Further details will be shared as they become available. 

Programs currently offered through Colorado PEAK include, but are not limited to: ​

Colorado Child Care Assistance Program

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to families who are working, searching for employment, or are in job training, and families who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. CCCAP provides access to reduced cost child care at licensed child care facilities or qualified (unlicensed) providers.

Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in their local community. Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the mental, social, and emotional development of children from birth to age 5. In addition to education services, programs provide your children and family with health, nutrition, social, and other services. Early Head Start serves pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. Early Head Start programs are available to your family until your child turns 3 years old and is ready to transition into Head Start or another pre-K program.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

LEAP is designed to help low-income households with winter home heating costs. The program operates from November 1st through April 30th each year. Eligible households receive one benefit per program year. Since LEAP is not intended to pay the entire costs of home heating, it is important to keep current with payment of your heating bill.

Child Health Plan Plus (Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program)

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage to eligible children, through both Medicaid and separate CHIP programs. Medicaid provides health coverage to low-income people and is one of the largest payers for health care in the United States. CHIP provides federal matching funds to states to provide health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can't afford private coverage.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 

In Colorado, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is known as the Food Assistance Program. The purpose of the federally-funded Food Assistance Program is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition among low-income households by increasing their food purchasing power. Eligible households who apply receive a monthly benefit allotment. Households can redeem their allotment for food items only using an Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) card.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

In Colorado, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is known as Colorado Works. It is a cash assistance program designed to assist eligible families with very low incomes to attain economic security by promoting job preparation, work, and family stabilization. Applicants who are either pregnant or have at least one child, and who meet other eligibility requirements, can receive monthly cash assistance payments, help with emergency household expenses, and/or services such as counseling, training, and employment assistance. The Colorado Works Program operates in all 64 counties and is delivered locally through each county's department of human or social services.

Women, Infants and Children Program

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a nutrition program that provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, healthy food and other services free of charge to Colorado families who qualify. WIC’s goal is to help keep pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under age 5 healthy. For more information, click here.

Child Find

Child Find is part of Colorado's system for identifying children suspected of having a delay in development. If a young child is not meeting typical developmental milestones, or someone is concerned about the child’s growth or learning, child find teams will evaluate how the child plays, learns, speaks, behaves and moves. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if there is a significant delay or if there is a need for early intervention or special education services.

Preschool Special Education

Preschool special education is a state and federal mandated program for three- and four-year-old children who meet state eligibility criteria for special education and are experiencing challenges in their learning and development. A child is eligible if they have a significant delay in one or more areas of development, such as learning, speaking or playing.

Family Planning Clinics

Looking for information about family planning or where to find free or reduced-price birth control? Title X family planning clinics can help you. View patient services and clinics in your area.

Homeless Children and Families 

With a singular purpose to end homelessness, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless moves Coloradans into safe homes, keeps families together, and provides critical health care and support services for people experiencing homelessness. The Coalition provides more than 13,000 men, women, and children with medical and mental health care, and each night more than 2,300 families and individuals have a place to call home in Coalition housing. 

Parents/Families of a Child with a Disability

The Colorado Department of Education developed a new resource for parents and caregivers. It is dedicated to providing information on special education issues, practices and resources to families who have children with disabilities.

Promoting Safe and Stable Families

Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) is a federal program whose purpose is to help prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their families, improve the quality of care and services to children and their families, and ensure permanency for children by reuniting them with their parents, by adoption or by another permanent living arrangement. States receive PSSF funding for services that address: family support, family preservation, time-limited family reunification and adoption promotion and support.

Child Support Services

What is Child Support Services?

  • Child Support Services is a free program offered to parents/caretakers of children wanting help establishing and collecting child support funds and medical insurance.
  • Child Support Services is not mandatory but a highly encouraged program, you may sign up for child support at any time through their free online application.

The benefits of signing up for child support services are:

  • If you do not have an existing child support order, they can help you establish parentage and a current support order and medical support order.
  • Establishing Paternity gives children legal access to certain Social Security death and disability benefits, can help identify some medical predispositions and help engage the father further in a child’s life.
  • Your child support order will be managed by a child support professional and monitored for enforcement action as appropriate.
  • Payments will be tracked and an official record will be maintained for your reference.
  • It is cheaper than going to court and paying filing fees on your own!
  • You have a case manager to discuss your family’s needs and a connection to local resources to help meet those needs.
  • You do not need an attorney but if you have one already you are welcome to keep them as a resource.