SB 16-190 (Steadman/Rankin) Improve County Administration of Public Assistance Programs

Originally Posted: April 22, 2016
Last Updated: April 22, 2016

Summary

This bill would require the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) and county departments of human services to endeavor to meet federal performance measures for administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known in Colorado as Food Assistance. It would require CDHS to work with counties to establish a system that allows federal performance bonuses or sanctions to be applied to counties based on their effectiveness and efficiency, and would authorize state-funded performance bonuses to counties if the state appropriates funds for such a purpose. At the request of counties across Colorado, the bill includes a study to analyze county department costs and performance associated with administering public assistance programs, including: Food Assistance, Medicaid, and the Children’s Basic Health Plan. The bill would also require CDHS to design a continuous quality improvement program for counties to establish a process for consistent enhancement of state and county administration.

Position

The Children’s Campaign supports this bill. Colorado currently ranks 45th in the U.S. for its timeliness and accuracy of delivering food assistance, which is a critical, short-term support for thousands of Coloradans, and it is vital that the program run as effectively and efficiently as possible to deliver these services. County performance in signing people up for food stamps in a timely and accurate way varies widely. Food stamps provide eligible families with modest monthly funds to purchase food, averaging only about $1.40 per person, per meal. The majority of those eligible are children, seniors, working adults, veterans and those who are disabled.

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Current Status

Introduced in the Senate this week and assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it passed and now heads to the Senate floor for debate.