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Home Administration Court Services Family Law Programs Colorado's Dependency and Neglect System Reform (DANSR)
Home Administration Court Services Family Law Programs Colorado's Dependency and Neglect System Reform (DANSR)
Colorado's Dependency and Neglect System Reform (DANSR)
Breaking Barriers. Using Best Practices to Do What Works for All Colorado Families.




Up until September 2019, Dependency & Neglect System Reform (DANSR) was a federally funded cross systems collaboration that was created in October 2014 between The Colorado Judicial Branch, Colorado Department of Human Services (Division of Child Welfare and Office of Behavioral Health) , Colorado Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel, and the Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative.

DANSR was established to increase the collective capacity of Colorado’s D&N system to support and improve outcomes for families affected by substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders through infusing research based family drug court principles into court, child welfare and treatment systems.

The DANSR Approach to systems reform is based on the extensive research findings that show Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC) programs yield more positive outcomes for families. The hypothesis is that when unbundled from a FTDC, certain key elements show promise for improving outcomes in non-FTDC cases. The DANSR approach and principles incorporate several key elements of FTDC that have been proven to generate better outcomes in dependency and neglect cases involving substance use disorders.  FTDC research shows: (1) parents are more likely to attend and complete drug and alcohol treatment; (2) 90% of children stay with their families (3) 91% percent of children are reunited with their families and (4) 98% of children were not maltreated within six months of case closure. 

DANSR relies on cross system collaboration to support system reform for Colorado’s Judicial Department, CDHS-Division of Child Welfare, CDHS-Office of Behavioral Health, and local DANSR Steering Committees consisting of court, legal, child welfare, and treatment professionals.  DANSR is supported by a nationally-recognized substance abuse and child welfare research agency, Children and Family Futures (CFF). 

Vision: The DANSR vision is that each system changes to meet the needs of children and families. 

Mission: The DANSR mission is to improve outcomes for children and families in all dependency and neglect cases with substance use or co-occurring mental health disorders through system reform.

Values: *Child and family centered practice  *Trauma informed practice  *Empowered and engaged local communities  *State and local cross system collaborative partnerships  *Services matched to client need  *Accountability and follow through by professionals and participants  *Appropriate level of judicial intervention  *Quality representation and advocacy  *Delivery of effective services for families  *Courage to innovate and change

Now, DANSR is project of the Court Improvement Program (CIP) and implementation is supported through the CIP. 

DANSR Desired Outcomes & Objectives

Increase permanency *Increase permanency and decrease time to permanency for children. *Increase family reunification and decrease time to reunification. *Decrease time children are in out of home care. *Decrease re-entry into out of home care for children.

Increase safety and reduce recidivism *Increase long term safety for families.  *Decrease repeat maltreatment and re-entry into out-of-home care or the system. *Maintain child safety. *Maintain parental sobriety and management of substance use disorder, co-occurring mental health disorder, and/or trauma.

Support recovery *Support substance use and mental health disorder recovery through timely access to treatment *Ensure parents are placed in the appropriate treatment level of care. *Increase treatment completion and success.

Support judicial responsivity *Determine and deliver the appropriate level of court supervision.


DANSR Principles

The DANSR approach is guided by six principles. Each county/jurisdiction will infuse the DANSR principles into their systems that manage dependency and neglect cases with substance use or co-occurring mental health disorders.


  1. Engage families immediately and universally identify substance use and other needs.
  2. Families complete substance use and other assessments and begin treatment as soon as possible once needs are identified.
  3. Enhance communication, collaboration, engagement, and integration of treatment information into the management of the case through the use of multi-disciplinary team staffing.
  4. Provide timely judicial support and oversight to meet the individual needs of each family.
  5. Enhance data collection and information sharing across the court, child welfare, and treatment.
  6. State and local teams coordinate strategy at the systems-level and participate in collaborative training.

DANSR Implementation Sites:  Jefferson, Denver, Huerfano, Clear Creek, Garfield, Pueblo, Fremont, Prowers, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Baca, Broomfield, Arapahoe, Boulder, Montezuma, Clear Creek, Las Animas, Alamosa


Documents & Announcements 

DANSR is managed and implemented by the Court Improvement Program (CIP). Link to the CIP website

Goals for 2019-2021

DANSR Implementation Guide, for the Appendix Documents please email 

DANSR Information Graphics 


Restricted Access for Pilots

Please contact for more information.



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