DENVER (November 3, 2016) — Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Executive Director Reggie Bicha announced that Colorado has received the TANF Distinguished State Award for its leadership in poverty reduction and prevention efforts.
The award was presented Oct. 26 by the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) at the National Association of TANF Administrators Annual Education Conference in Orlando, Fla. The state of Washington had nominated CDHS’s Colorado Works, a program designed to help low-income families achieve self sufficiency.
“The Department has worked hard to emphasize the outcomes that really matter to Coloradans,” Executive Director Bicha said. “We have focused on helping people get good-paying jobs with a future. That lifts up entire families by not only moving them off public assistance, but by helping them envision an independent path forward that is empowering to parents and children alike.”
The Office of Economic Security (OES) manages the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) state program that provides temporary financial and job-preparation assistance to needy families to help keep families intact.
“I’m so pleased this team is being honored for its hard work,” said Katie Griego, Director of CDHS’s Employment and Benefits Division, who accepted the award at the conference. “Colorado really is a leader in re-envisioning how we work with families to help them achieve economic security.”
Colorado was recognized for helping its citizens attain good jobs and designing new methods to track and measure employment entry in real time. Between July 2015 and June 2016, Colorado counties connected 8,996 Colorado Works participants to employment. Additionally, Colorado was recognized for designing innovative processes to help non-custodial parents support their children.
APHSA also commended Colorado for its innovative work in aligning systems and processes via one online application site for many programs serving individuals and families, including medical, food and cash assistance, Head Start, and home-visiting programs -- streamlining a cumbersome process.
The award is another indication of Colorado’s high achievements in benefit delivery.
Colorado counties have consistently exceeded timeliness goals in processing new applications for Colorado Works/TANF benefits more than 98 percent of the time since 2015. Program recertifications have met the same timely processing threshold since April 2016. Colorado’s substantial improvements in processing applications ensure Coloradans receive the benefits they need to support their families.
“We are proud of the Department’s tireless efforts to create elegant, efficient and effective systems and supports to help vulnerable Coloradans, businesses and communities thrive,” said OES Director Phyllis Albritton.