It’s not enough merely to identify the barriers that keep low-income families from achieving self-sufficiency — such as low wages and a lack of affordable childcare. To turn that knowledge into actions that could forge pathways from poverty, we need to research, quantify, analyze and make recommendations for developing policies that could help Coloradans overcome those barriers.

Our Research and Policy Analysis program identifies important emerging issues and informs and advances the public dialogue about these issues with hard data and objective analysis. In some cases, we conduct focus groups among our affected populations to figure out what numbers don’t tell us. We then compile reports and present them to stakeholders who can make difference in developing or supporting policies to improve the lives of low-income Coloradans.

Here is a sample of CCLP’s publications, policy proposals and advocacy efforts:

  • CCLP publishes The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Colorado. The report identifies the true cost of living for low-income Colorado families and individuals in every county in the state. The report has changed the way policies and programs for low-income workers are structured.


  • CCLP authors The State of Working Colorado, an annual collection and analysis of critical data designed to look beyond broad-based economic indicators. The report helps stakeholders understand how the economy is working for all Coloradans across the income spectrum.


  • CCLP convened a series of focus groups among 42 low-income women in Colorado to hear them discuss the challenges they face with securing affordable and reliable childcare, finding and maintaining jobs and getting adequate skills training. The results informed CCLP’s 2015 report, “Surviving to Thriving: Pathways to Opportunity for Low-Income Women,” which provided a blueprint for policies we developed for the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions.


  • In 2013, CCLP published a series of issues briefs, Our Dollars, Our Health. The series revealed dramatic variances in Colorado hospital costs and the arbitrary nature used to determine charges for care.



CCLP’s research staff also provides behind-the-scenes analysis to better understand the issues impacting low-income Coloradans and explore possible policy solutions or weigh in on legislative proposals.

  • CCLP has been looking at outcomes for students that attend private occupational schools in terms of costs of attendance, the likelihood of gainful employment upon completion and student loan debt. This information has been used to make recommendations to the Division of Private occupational schools and provide comments on the WIOA draft plan.


  • CCLP is interested in the availability of childcare assistance for low-income parents seeking training or education to upgrade their skills and improve job prospects. We have been looking at how counties use their CCCAP dollars to support these parents and examining possibilities for increasing the availability of child care assistance.


  • Participation in SNAP varies considerably across counties and Colorado has one of the lowest participation rates in the country. CCLP has been partnering with Hunger Free Colorado to better understand SNAP enrollment and the opportunities for improvement.


  • Criminal justice involved people primarily received health care services through emergency rooms and in prisons and jails until Colorado expanded Medicaid. CCLP has been partnering with the Colorado Criminal Justice Coalition to ensure this population with high health needs gets enrolled in Medicaid by conducting a baseline survey of criminal justice agencies, developing a Medicaid resource guide for criminal justice staff and researching best practices across the country.


To learn more about our Research and Policy Analysis efforts, contact Michelle Webster at To explore our publications in greater depth, visit CCLP’s Publications Library.