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News - 2014 Archive

State Launches New Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-844-CO-4-KIDS

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:37 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

The Colorado Department of Human Services will launch a new statewide child abuse and neglect hotline – 1-844-CO-4-KIDS on Jan. 1. Governor Hickenlooper’s Child Welfare Plan “Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy” called for the creation of the hotline to promote greater safety for Colorado’s children.

Designed to provide one, easy-to-remember phone number for individuals to use statewide to report suspected child abuse and neglect, the hotline serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations, which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect inquiries and reports. All callers will be able to speak with a call-taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Everyone in the community plays a role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect,” said Reggie Bicha, executive director of the CDHS. “The statewide hotline is one more tool to help us keep kids safe and families healthy.”

The new hotline system will capture critical information and ensure that calls across the state are handled quickly and appropriately with the ultimate goal of ensuring that no child is harmed.

CDHS Cuts Ribbon on Child Welfare Hotline Connection Center

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:36 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

December 16, 2014 - The Colorado Department of Human Services held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new hotline connection center in Lamar. 

The center will serve as the hub for the Colorado’s first-ever, toll-free statewide hotline to report suspected child abuse and neglect. The hotline will provide one, easy-to-remember number and is a component of Governor Hickenlooper’s Child Welfare Plan “Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy.”

Calls to the hotline will be routed to the appropriate county through the hotline connection center. Callers who are not sure of the county, speak a language other than English or Spanish, or are deaf or hard of hearing will be directed to a hotline connection center representative who will assist them in identifying the appropriate county.

The hotline will always be answered by a real person, 24/7. The hotline launches January 1.

The hotline connection center employs 12 new staff, providing an estimated $1.4 million dollar economic boost to Prowers County.

Call center staff, like all county child welfare call-takers, are certified through the Child Welfare Training Academy.

CDHS Names New Superintendent of Colorado Mental Health Institute At Pueblo

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:34 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

December 8, 2014 - The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has named Ron Hale as the new Superintendent of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP).

Hale most recently served as the Hospital Administrator at The Alaska Psychiatric Institute / Alaska Recovery Center in Anchorage. He has nearly 30 years of health care leadership and administrative experience. 

“Ron will help CMHIP continue to provide high-quality patient care that is built around trauma-informed care,” said Dr. Patrick Fox, M.D., Deputy Director of Clinical Services. “He will provide a firm commitment to foster the positive outcomes CMHIP has achieved in reducing seclusion and restraint, as well as the leadership to direct us to find new ways to best serve our patients.”

Hale earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Park University in Parkville, Missouri, and his MBA in Health Services Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Hale begins his duties January 5.

CDHS Names New Director of Division Employment and Benefits

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:33 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

December 5, 2014 - The Colorado Department of Human Services has promoted Katie Griego to the position of Director of the Division of Employment and Benefits in its Office of Economic Security.

The Division of Employment and Benefits oversees Colorado Works, (Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Adult Financial Assistance Programs (Old Age Pension, State Burial Assistance, Aid to the Needy Disabled, Aid to the Blind, AND/AB Supplemental Security Income, and Colorado Supplement), ReHire Colorado, the state's transitional jobs program designed to connect individuals to meaningful employment opportunities.

Griego will continue to create and develop programs that assist individuals who have aspirations to find lasting employment. She will also focus on making efficient and effective economic public assistance programs, so individuals and families receive the right assistance at the right time for their circumstances.

Griego formerly served as the Programs Manager for the Division she now leads. Prior to joining CDHS in 2008, Griego worked in Arapahoe County and Jefferson County in their respective Workforce Development Centers providing direct services to families.

Griego holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Midland University, and was the 2013 CDHS Employee of the Year.

Audit Reaffirms Work Being Conducted as Part of "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy"

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:32 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

December 5, 2014 - Colorado’s Child Welfare system has improved over the last four years and is on the right path to keeping kids safe and families healthy.

The Legislative audit conducted by the Office of State Auditor from July 2013 through October 2014 and released today had several administrative findings, most of which have already been completed as part of the implementation of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2012 and 2013 child welfare plans, "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy."

"The Office of State Auditor’s report reaffirms the work already under way as part of the Governor’s child welfare plans," said Reggie Bicha, executive director, Colorado Department of Human Services.  "I am proud to say that we have already accomplished many of the findings in the audit, and we are seeing system improvements as a result. 

Colorado’s state supervised/county administered system provides the best model to achieve the onging improvements from the Governor’s plans and the audit because counties have the clearest understanding of the needs of their local communities and available resources. The State places a high value on the partnership with counties and the joint ownership and accountability of the child welfare system.

Over the past four years, the State and counties together have implemented nearly every component of the Governor’s plans, including:
  • A common practice approach for Colorado through the use of RED Teams, which will be in use in every county beginning in January, and a pilot Differential Response program, which is demonstrating positive outcomes in eight counties; 
  • Managing performance through the use of County Scorecards and C-Stat, which for nearly three years has used real-time data to drive positive outcomes;
  • In partnership with the Kempe Center, a complete redesign of the Child Welfare Training Academy to include a new curriculum based on the most current child protection research and data; regional training sites and online training opportunities; and continuing education and training for call takers/screeners, caseworkers, supervisors, senior work staff and foster parents;
  • Increased transparency through the Community Performance Center that provides online county-specific outcome data; and statewide C-Stat data published quarterly online; 
  • The creation of the Child Welfare Executive Leadership Council which brings together community members, advocates, stakeholders, foster parents and county partners to advise the CDHS Executive Director on policy and practice across the system;
  • Legislation to increase transparency and expand the scope of the Child Fatality Review Team to include near fatalities and egregious incidents as part of county reporting and team review, and, in the case of fatalities, the ability to release the child’s name, date of birth and date of death.  Colorado is one of only two states in the nation to review and report on egregious incidents.  
  • A statewide hotline providing one number to report abuse and neglect across Colorado that will launch on time and on budget in January;
  • New prevention programs to help families before they become involved in the child welfare system – SafeCare, Community Response and expansion of  Nurse Family Partnership;
  • New online training for mandatory reporters;
  • The use of mobile technology to enhance field work for caseworkers;
  • A caseload/workload study conducted by the Office of State Auditor which found that Colorado is currently understaffed by 30%.
"We recognize the vast amount of work that has been done over the last four years to improve our child protection system," added Bicha.  "The State Auditor’s report is affirmation of the work already being done since the inception of the Governor’s child welfare plans for Colorado.  We are on a journey of continuous improvement to ensure positive outcomes for children and families."

CDHS Honors Five Colorado Adoptive Families

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:31 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

December 5, 2014 - On Saturday, the Colorado Department of Human Services honored five adoptive families from across the state who provide loving and permanent homes for kids.

Nearly 100 people attended the recognition luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion, part of the Department's celebration of National Adoption Month.
The families honored were:
  • The Kniss Family from Thornton
  • The Sims-Herrick Family from Denver
  • The Hubbard Family from Greeley
  • The Straw Family from Rifle
  • The Kealy Family from Colorado Springs
In 2014, 476 children and youth were adopted from the foster care system in Colorado. CDHS expects that number to increase after National Adoption Day on November 22, with another 110 adoptions taking place during eight adoption day celebrations around the state.

To learn more about adoption and foster care in Colorado, visit

Colorado Expands Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Program

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:29 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

December 5, 2014 - The Colorado Department of Human Services announced four new SafeCare Colorado sites in 12 counties.
The prevention program, a component of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s child welfare plan "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy," is designed for at-risk families with children ages 0-5 years. The evidence-based behavioral parent training program teaches skills that address home safety and children’s health needs.

The sites and 12 partnering counties that are part of the expansion of services include:
  • Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council in partnership with Arapahoe County Department of Human Services;
  • Family Tree in partnership with Adams County Human Services Department;
  • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pueblo in partnership with Pueblo County Department of Social Services, Huerfano County Department of Social Services, Las Animas County Department of Human Services, and Custer County Department of Human Services; and,
  • High Plains Community Health Center in partnership with Baca County Department of Public Welfare, Bent County Department of Social Services, Crowley County Department of Human Services, Kiowa Department of Social Services, Otero Department of Social Services, and Prowers Department of Human Services.
These four new sites join four existing SafeCare Colorado sites that have received referrals for and engaged in outreach efforts towards 631 families.

CDHS partners with the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect to administer SafeCare Colorado throughout the state. 

With the addition of these four new sites, the SafeCare Colorado program is now offered in 30 Colorado counties and the State’s two Indian Tribes.

Existing SafeCare Colorado Programs:
  • Savio House in partnership with Denver and Jefferson County Human Services;
  • Mesa County Health Department in partnership with Mesa County Department of Human Services;
  • Montezuma County Public Health Department in partnership with Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata and San Juan county departments of human services, as well as the Southern Ute Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe;
  • Baby Bear Hugs in partnership with county departments of human services in northeast Colorado -  Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma.

CDHS Recognizes the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan for Outstanding Performance

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:27 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

September 23, 2014 - The Colorado Department of Human Services gave a "Best of C-Stat" award to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan (CMHIFL) for reducing the use of seclusion at the facility to near zero for the last 15 months.

CMHIFL reduced the use of seclusion from 8.63 hours per 1,000 patient hours in February 2011 to an average of significantly less than one hour per 1,000 patient hours for the first six months in 2014. In fact, in June 2014, CMHIFL had zero incidents of seclusion and has exceeded the goal for the last 16 months.

Hospital staff employed several strategies to achieve this impressive outcome, embracing a trauma informed care philosophy that includes:

  • One-to-one staffing ratios for patients with more specialized needs; 
  • Patient care monitoring, bringing together the multidisciplinary team to proactively discuss strategies to help patients avoid physical interventions; and 
  • Checking with patients every two to four hours to prevent situations from escalating.

CDHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha was joined by members of the Department’s senior leadership team including Deputy Executive Director of Enterprise Partnerships Dee Martinez and Office of Behavioral Health Director Dr. Lisa Clements in presenting the award to Dr. Christopher Burke and the CMHIFL management team.

C-Stat is the Department’s performance management strategy that tracks more than 100 measures in real time across all of its programs to create positive outcomes for the people of Colorado.

New Online Tool Helps Mandatory Reporters Keep Kids Safe and Families Healthy

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:25 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

September 18, 2014 - The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) today announced a new online training opportunity for mandatory reporters who are required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

Under Colorado law, nearly 40 professions are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect. A recent CDHS survey found that while 79 percent of mandatory reporters surveyed knew that they were required to report abuse or neglect, nearly half could not recall if they have received any training to help them know when to report or how to report.

This first-ever Colorado online training offers ease of accessibility for mandatory reporters to utilize this important tool. Mandatory reporters who complete the training receive a certificate of completion to share with their employers.

CDHS partnered with The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect to develop the web-based training for mandatory reporters to improve and help ensure proper reporting of information. Individuals can take the training at their own pace, at work or home, anytime day or night.

The training educates mandatory reporters on what constitutes abuse and/or neglect; when to call for assistance; and how to make a report. It also explains the process undertaken when a call is received.

The comprehensive training is a part of Gov. Hickenlooper’s Child Welfare Plan "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy," announced in February 2013.

The mandated reporter training is available on the CDHS Child Welfare Training System at

  • Physician or surgeon, including a physician in training
  • Child health associate
  • Medical examiner or coroner
  • Dentist
  • Osteopath
  • Optometrist
  • Chiropractor
  • Podiatrist
  • Registered nurse or licensed practical nurse
  • Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, care, or treatment of patients
  • Christian science practitioner
  • Public or private school official or employee
  • Social worker or worker in any facility or agency that is licensed or certified pursuant to part 1 of article 6 of title 26, C.R.S. e.g. child care providers and child care employees
  • Mental health professional
  • Dental hygienist
  • Psychologist
  • Physical therapist
  • Veterinarian
  • Peace officer
  • Pharmacist
  • Commercial film and photographic print processor
  • Firefighter
  • Victim's advocate
  • Licensed professional counselors
  • Licensed marriage and family therapists
  • Registered psychotherapists
  • Clergy member
  • Registered dietitian
  • Worker in the state department of human services
  • Juvenile parole and probation officers
  • Child and family investigators
  • Officers and agents of the state bureau of animal protection, and animal control officers
  • The child protection ombudsman
  • Educator providing services through a federal special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children, as provided for in 42 U.S.C. sec. 1786
  • Director, coach, assistant coach, or athletic program personnel employed by a private sports organization or program. For purposes of this paragraph (ii), "employed" means that an individual is compensated beyond reimbursement for his or her expenses related to the private sports organization or program.
  • Person who is registered as a psychologist candidate, marriage and family therapist candidate, or licensed professional counselor candidate
  • Emergency medical service providers

CDHS Puts Mobile Technology in the Hands of Child Welfare Workers to Keep Kids Safe and Families Healthy

posted Sep 3, 2015, 11:20 AM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS

April 14, 2014 (Denver) - The Colorado Department of Human Services is distributing mobile technologies throughout the state as part of Governor John Hickenlooper’s Child Welfare Plan "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy 2.0" announced in February 2013.  The plan reflects the importance of having well-trained, highly-qualified caseworkers with the best supports and tools available to meet the needs of Colorado’s children and families.

Southern and Southeastern counties will receive a total of $245,849 in mobile technology devices, as follows:
Baca - $1,734
Bent - $4,913
Crowley - $$7,589
Elbert - $8,099
El Paso - $115,467
Fremont - $20,048
Kiowa - $1,210
Huerfano - $3,425
Las Animas - $10,548
Otero - $15,528
Prowers - $15,579
Pueblo - $$29,199
Teller - $12,510

Southern and Southeastern county child welfare workers spend a great deal of time away from the office; visiting families in their homes; working with parents, foster parents and treatment professionals; and testifying in court hearings. When away from the office, workers have limited access to data systems and cannot always record information in a timely manner.

With an investment of more than $245,000 in mobile devices - laptops, tablets and smart phones – Southern and Southeastern county child welfare workers will be more efficient and effective in their jobs.

"Social workers pursue this line of work to help our most vulnerable children and families. By utilizing technology we can help them be more efficient to make a difference for kids," said Julie Krow, director, CDHS Office of Children, Youth & Families. "There is a significant amount of time spent waiting between appointments and court hearings.  Now, caseworkers can spend that time completing documentation that allows real-time information sharing that enhances child safety."

Mobile technologies are being distributed to child welfare workers in 53 county human services departments throughout the state. CDHS is working with the remaining 11 counties to identify and purchase mobile devices over the next two months.

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