Colorado Steps up Quality Assurance Requirements for Serving Youth with Complex Needs

July 05, 2019

Thanks to our colleagues at the National Wraparound Initiative for bringing this to our attention. This new bill in Colorado requires screening to identify youth with complex needs, establishes wraparound to serve them, and blends funding across agencies to make it happen! A model for other states to emulate! 

Child And Youth Behavioral Health System Enhancements
Concerning enhancements to behavioral health services and policy coordination for children and youth, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.

SESSION:  2019 Regular Session

SUBJECTS: Children & Domestic Matters Human Services


The bill creates the office of children and youth behavioral health policy coordination (office) in the office of the governor. The bill also creates the children and youth behavioral health policy coordination commission (commission) and the children and youth behavioral health advisory council (council) in the office.

The commission consists of 15 members, which must be appointed no later than September 1, 2019. The primary duties and responsibilities of the commission include:

  • Providing leadership to increase and enhance efficient and effective behavioral health services to children and youth;
  • Coordinating efforts between state agencies and departments to increase public understanding and awareness of child and youth behavioral health needs;
  • Recommending shared policies to remove administrative barriers in order to facilitate collaboration between communities, state departments, and political subdivisions of the state;
  • Monitoring and receiving updates related to network adequacy for access to behavioral health services in the state;
  • Compiling and disseminating information regarding best practices for delivering and funding behavioral health services;
  • Receiving and acting on recommendations;
  • Recommending funds contained in each department’s budget that can be identified for collaborative service delivery systems; and
  • Beginning January 1, 2020, and each January 1 thereafter, recommending performance measures for each department, office, and county represented on the commission that will quantify and demonstrate the effectiveness of the behavioral health system in Colorado.

The commission shall consult and collaborate with other organizations that incorporate child behavioral health strategies when developing proposals, activities, and implementation planning.

Beginning October 1, 2019, the commission shall work collaboratively with the department of health care policy and financing and the department of human services (departments) to implement wraparound services for children and youth at risk of out-of-home placement. No later than July 1, 2020, the commission shall:

  • Recommend to the departments programmatic utilization of a single standardized assessment tool to facilitate identification of behavioral health issues and other needs;
  • Recommend to the departments developmentally appropriate and culturally competent statewide behavioral health standardized screening tools for primary care providers serving children, youth, and caregivers in the perinatal period;
  • Design and recommend a child and youth behavioral health delivery system pilot program that addresses the challenges of fragmentation and duplication of behavioral health services.

The council consists of 25 members, who must be appointed no later than September 1, 2019. The primary duties, responsibilities, and functions of the council include:

  • Assisting the commission in fulfilling its duties;
  • Reviewing the commission’s data on performance measures and providing input to the commission to ensure continuous quality improvement;
  • Identifying, monitoring, soliciting input, and providing policy and budgetary recommendations on emerging children and youth behavioral health issues affecting the quality and availability of behavioral health services reported by local collaborative management programs; and
  • Submitting any formal recommendations to the commission.

On or before July 1, 2020, and each July 1 thereafter, the governor shall ensure that an annual external evaluation of the commission and council is conducted by an independent organization, which evaluation must be made publicly available in an electronic format.

On or before July 1, 2020, and each July 1 thereafter, the commission shall submit an annual report to the governor and the health and human services committee of the senate and the public health care and human services committee of the house of representatives (committees). On or before January 15, 2021, and annually thereafter, the commission shall present the annual report and submit a progress report on any recommendations to the committees.

The commission and council are scheduled to repeal on September 1, 2024, after review by the department of regulatory agencies.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)

~ You can read this summary and more on the Colorado General Assembly website. ~

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