Routt County to expand human services thanks to state grant
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A $100,000 state grant will allow the Routt County Department of Human Services to expand programming to serve area families.
The county was one of 10 recipients to earn funding from Colorado’s 2Generation Opportunities pilot program. The grant provides $100,000 in funding, which will be used before the state’s fiscal year ends in June. The incoming administration of Governor-elect Jared Polis could extend funding beyond that date.
“It’s huge for us to have a new funding source to be able to increase our capacity and strengthen the work that we do and to diversify our funding available, especially with this funding stream having the opportunity to be ongoing,” said Stephanie Martin, coordinator of First Impressions in Routt County.
First Impressions, Routt to Work and the Fatherhood Program of Routt County, three key beneficiaries of the grant, are all funded through grants and government funding.
Tom Valand, coordinator of the Fatherhood Program, said the funding would allow those providing human services greater creativity in serving the community. Right now, he said program funding is “siloed” for certain programs.
“A lot of the times when we’re doing work that we do, we’re using money that has to be used for a very specific purpose,” he said. “This grant provided the opportunity to have these silos kind of work together and support the whole family, which is pretty cool, and what we’re going to be working towards.”
The two-generation approach is intended to better serve families by need, rather than considering if they meet criteria for a specific funding stream or topic. In Routt County, this translates to more collaboration and expansion of some human service programs.
For example, Valand will collaborate with Routt to Work Coordinator Beth Lavely and the local Colorado Workforce Center to offer parenting courses, work placement resources and support once an inmate is released from the Routt County Jail. Each of these services are currently offered as courses and programs independent of each other, but with additional, flexible funding, these resources can be offered all at once to the same cohort and expanded to benefit both incarcerated parents and their families.
The grant will allow the following Human Services programs to expand by:
• Providing additional support and education to families with children from birth to age 5 through the Fatherhood Program, First Impressions and early childhood education directors.
• Working with incarcerated parents and their families to strengthen the family unit, increase parents’ involvement with children, decrease recidivism and improve successful re-entry into society.
• Providing supervised visitation and parenting courses to families.
• Implementing the recently developed Routt County Childhood Community Plan.
• Supplementing family preservation funds, which are used to support families in crises in Routt and Moffat counties.
• Strengthening the Routt to Work program in rural parts of the county, particularly South Routt, and allowing more time for one-on-one, individual-case management.
• Supporting mental health services for families through Mind Springs Health.
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The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation is currently taking grant applications from organizations that provide direct service to help with the implementation or expansion of literacy programs for children who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading.