Colorado Cornerstone System of Care Initiative
Denver, Jefferson, Clear, Creek, and Gilpin Counties, Colorado
Project goals for the Cornerstone Initiative are to: Develop the service delivery system to consolidate existing categorical funding streams; Develop accountable delivery system governance structures to manage service delivery processes that involve children and families; Ensure full involvement and partnership of families in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of the local service system; Create a single system of care that is financially sustained through integrated funding investments from child welfare, juvenile justice, education, health care, mental health, and specialty services; Establish interagency involvement in the project’s structure and process; Create organizational relationships between State and local mental health agencies and other State and local agencies. During the first 2 years of grant funding, the Cornerstone Initiative has focused on development of the infrastructure to support the program, service implementation, and other project support efforts; training; social marketing; and design and implementation of national and local evaluation strategies. Since 2004, there has been a strong emphasis placed on sustainability of Cornerstone through community-based local governing bodies. The Cornerstone Initiative was integrated into the local communities via these groups. There is no longer a single governance structure that provides oversight of the four county grant community; instead, four individual entities provide oversight for each of the four counties.
The catchment area for the Cornerstone Initiative consists of four contiguous Colorado counties, beginning on the east with Denver County, extending westward through Jefferson County and continuing further into the rural mountain areas of Clear Creek and Gilpin counties. The four-county area is very diverse and is representative of the State as a whole, with a cross section of low income, middle class, and affluent populations, including Asian, Latino, African-American, White, and American Indian residents. As of February 29, 2004, the three most predominant cultural groups represented in Cornerstone’s service area were White 51.6 percent, Hispanic 29.2 percent, and African-American 13.0 percent. The target population for the Cornerstone Initiative has not changed since the first system-of-care assessment in August 2001. Children ages 5 through 21 years are eligible if they meet the following criteria: have a serious emotional disturbance; are involved with, or are at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system; are involved with multiple service agencies; and are residents of Denver, Clear Creek, Gilpin, or Jefferson Counties. As of May 2004, the Cornerstone Initiative had served a total of 428 children.