THE DEVOLUTION EXPERIENCE: A Look at Welfare Reform in Colorado
The purpose of this report is to better understand and describe in detail the realities of “devolution” in Colorado. Devolution, the transference or delegation of control, authority, and responsibility for various federal government programs, began in the early 1980’s. Congress further advanced the devolution movement with its passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996. Congress gave the states the authority as well as the extraordinary flexibility to create, design and implement their own welfare programs with little oversight by the federal government.
In Colorado, Senate Bill 120, passed during the 1997 legislative session, established the Colorado Works Program (CW) that extended the state’s authority and control to all 63 counties (now 64). In this report the authors will describe devolution in Colorado and its impact on counties, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) and service providers and will make recommendations about how a county-devolved system can be more responsive and accountable. The study has been conducted and the report written by a team of advocates. Their knowledge and experience with the Colorado Works Program will be reflected throughout.
Released March 2003