Services, will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota at an induction dinner Thursday in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Bicha will be honored by the university’s College of Education and Human Development in recognition of his leadership in human services and child welfare at the state level. Just 25 of more than 70,000 alumni receive the award annually.
Bicha received his Master of Social Work from the institution in 2000. He previously was named the university’s School of Social Work’s alumnus of the year in 2008.
“I’m humbled to be recognized from among so many prominent alumni who have represented the university so remarkably in a wide array of career paths,” Bicha said. “But I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize those people working tirelessly on the ground in our communities and within our department to enhance the lives of children and families. They inspire my leadership efforts daily.”
Bicha was appointed to his current position with CDHS in Jan. 2011 by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The agency includes more than 5,200 employees and has an annual operating budget of $2.1 billion.
During his tenure, he’s established a performance management system to measure and improve adult, child and family outcomes throughout Colorado. He created the first statewide child abuse reporting hotline and a comprehensive statewide behavioral health crisis system, while leading strategies to safely reduce the number of children living in congregate care by 10 percent.
Bicha previously served as the inaugural Cabinet Secretary for Wisconsin’s Department of Children and Families (2007-11) and was an Administrator and Deputy Secretary for that state’s Department of Health and Human Services (2007). He spent the previous eight years as the Director of Human Services in Pierce County (Wis.), with a two-year stint as Interim Director of Public Health (2003-04).