Advisory Council Meeting

July 10, 2008


Held at 1501 Blue Spruce Drive

Fort Collins, Colorado  80524

Members Present:

Jim Barlow

Steve Budner

Cassie Castleberry


Caryll Cram

Helen Davis

Rene DeMattei


Barbara Nuss

Ellen Pihlstrom

Stan Ulrich


Don Venneberg







Members Absent:

Nancy Arthur

Manfred Diehl

Marcy Greenslit


Elnora McCloughan

Mary Shultz

Earl Stevens


Barbara Tuttle

Sharon Zamora






Staff Present:

Tina Corrigan-Hugo

Margaret Long

Katy Mason


Lynette McGowan

Glen Rathgeber

Laura Sutherlin





Guests Present:

Elaine Boni

Angela Dazlich



Helen Davis called the meeting to order at 1:34 p.m.


Helen introduced Caryll Cram, new member.  All members introduced themselves to Caryll.


Steve Budner noted grammatical changes to page 2; third to the last paragraph; remove the “s” from programs.  Steve also noted a change to page 3, fourth paragraph, remove “and” from after “Margaret asked providers.” 

OFFICE ON AGING PARNTER PRESENTATION:  Katy Mason, Larimer County Alliance for Grandfamilies

Katy Mason distributed a brochure and gave a presentation on the Larimer County Alliance for Grandfamilies (LCAG).  This group started a little over a year ago and originated as a support group.  Katy stated that about eight years ago the Older American’s Act was amended to include a Family Caregiver Support Program.  Part of Caregiver money is supposed to fund grandparents raising grandchildren.  Historically, Larimer County agencies did not provide much support for this population, but last year we were able to come together and support this issue.  Katy noted that she has never seen an initiative take off and accomplish so much in sixteen months.  Katy stated that in the past decade there has been a 73% increase in custodial grandparents in Colorado. 

The term grandfamilies does not just refer to grandparents.  It includes any family member that steps in to help raise children that are not their own.  In Colorado, 28,125 children live in a household without either parent present.  The biggest reason children are not being raised by their biological parents is drug use and incarceration.  Other reasons include abuse or neglect, divorce or illness, employment issues, family violence and death. 


There are many benefits to having children raised by family members.  These benefits include a more stable environment and typically a more familiar living arrangement than foster care.  The cost of providing this care is huge and includes a financial burden, stress, isolation and loneliness, grief, guilt, anger, resentment, and increased health risk.  There are many challenges to obtaining legal custody which may be necessary to access schools, government benefits, health care and insurance.  In addition, it is difficult to access community services and address problems with behavioral issues without legal custody.


The Alliance is a grassroots effort to offer support, information and referral, as well as advocacy.  The group consists of a variety of people including grandparents, relative caregivers, representatives from County agencies and Colorado State University.  The group’s mission is to work collaboratively to support the health and well-being of grandfamilies through community education and training, development of support systems, and advocacy for change.


Katy reported that most of the processes are in place and advocacy is the group’s next focus.  The Alliance met with Representative Fischer who is possibly willing to take a bill to the legislature. 


The Office on Aging helps fund a small portion of the program with $6,000 which is applied to the Kinship Navigator Position at the Namaqua Center.  This position is modeled after Laura Sutherlin’s ARCH position.  The majority of money for this position comes from the Children Youth and Families program. 


September is Grandparent’s Month which the Alliance will use as a spring board for more media.  Katy reported that they are working to add a legal committee because the legal issues for grandfamilies are enormous. 


Katy distributed a sign-up sheet for the council’s committees.  As a reminder, Katy also distributed a copy of the main goals and functions of each committee.  Katy noted that committee chairs will be chosen at the August committee meetings with no committee meetings will be held in July.  


Helen Davis noted that she has received input from council members and feels that the new Advisory Council structure works really well.


Helen Davis reported on the Executive committee.  They discussed the presentation change for the United Way presentation.  Originally Gordon Thibedeau was going to give his presentation this month, but the council decided to postpone the presentation to allow time to gather United Way information from our providers beforehand.  With this information from providers, the council will be able to formulate good questions for Mr. Thibedeau. 


Helen noted that the committee may be tweaking the monthly Advisory Council agenda a little and looking at ways to increase council member participation at meetings. 

Helen stated that there are still four vacancies for the Advisory Council and she invited council members to think about people to invite to apply.  An application was distributed and can also be completed at


Margaret Long announced that Tina Barker, our lead Ombudsman, had a baby boy on June 27th and is on maternity leave.  Bethany Allen, the Ombudsman intern, was hired temporarily to cover for Tina. 


Margaret reported that the Office on Aging is gearing up for Bridging the Gap, September 26th.  Margaret announced that Katy has been working on the Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic and noted that the Office on Aging provided a check for $1,800 to the clinic out of our Health Promotion funds.


Margaret discussed the new impetus of the reauthorization of the Older American’s Act seems to be with evidenced based programs.  VOA is currently working on “Healthy Living”.  The Office on Aging is looking at a program called “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” that would provide caregivers with the tools they need to keep themselves healthier.  Margaret explained that this is a purchased program that includes training staff.  The state is looking at “Chronic Disease Management” and “A Matter of Balance”.  Margaret stated that she is working on getting the money together and pulling in other agencies for a sustainable program. 


Margaret reported that the sixteen AAA’s in Colorado are part of the Statewide Association called C4A.  C4A feeds into the National Association called N4A.  N4A is a large group consisting of over 650 AAA’s within the United States.  N4A does a lot of good advocacy work and every year they have a big convention.  The Colorado AAA’s are bravely offering to host this convention in 2010 or later in Denver.  Margaret feels this would be a good chance to bring more attention to the needs of older adults in Colorado. 


Margaret announced that the Office on Aging is moving with Adult Protective Service and Options for Long Term Care to 2601 Midpoint Drive on July 24-25.  The office will be closed Thursday afternoon and Friday.  This move also means the office will be getting new telephone numbers.  We will continue to have the Council meeting at 1501 Blue Spruce.


Barbara Nuss gave a brief autobiography.


Fort Collins Senior Advisory Board Report

Stan Ulrich reported that the Board discussed the expansion plan for the Senior Center.


Loveland Senior Advisory Board

No report given.


Foundation on Aging

Katy reported that the Foundation received the grant with JVA Consulting for capacity building.  Katy stated that the board is going full speed ahead.  With the first year of funding up in September, the board needs to accomplish a lot in the next several weeks.  Currently the board is considering hiring an accountant to computerize the bookkeeping.  Some of the grant money will be used to buy a computer and software.  The board will be attending some training and hosting a provider lunch. 


Larimer County Commissioner

No report given.


Human Relations Commission 

No report given.


Commission on Aging

No report given.


Community Outreach & Education Committee

Katy Mason reported that the committee is continuing to meet twice a month at the Northside Aztlan Community Center for lunch.  Katy stated that this has been a good opportunity to provide the Center with information on the services in the community for older adults.


Media & Public Relations Committee

Helen Davis stated that as reported at the last council meeting, the media plan has been completed.  This plan provides a good framework for the future.  Helen stated that the committee has scheduled the rest of the providers for presentations.  The October meeting with United Way should be extended. 


Planning, Funding & Partnership Development Committee

No report given.

Pubic Policy & Advocacy Committee

Stan Ulrich distributed the AARP list of Colorado representatives and senators and how they voted.  Stan reported that finally something is being done about Amendment C.  Stan announced that he has a petition for people to sign.  This petition creates a long term savings account for education.  Stan explained that under TABOR, taxes collected in excess of the 6% limit must be refunded to the public, but this initiative will provide a way to put the excess money into a savings account for education so that over the years the fund will build.  Then in lean years, the money can be used.  Stan explained that this plan will not raise taxes.  It will also keep the constitutional right to vote on taxes and eliminate the 6% budget limit each year. 


Rene DeMattei attended the Affordable Housing Coalition and discussed the Colorado Housing Investment fund petition.  This petition proposes an additional four cents per $100 to the closing costs when you buy or sell a house.  This amendment to the Constitution would add $38M a year to the budget with 40% going to the state grants and 60% going to different counties.


Staff Reports

Laura Sutherlin announced that she is working on the Answers on Aging Resource Guide.  Laura thanked the members who volunteered to be models for our publications.  Laura noted that the photo shoot will allow the Office on Aging to get original photographs for the cover and other publications.  The photographer is Norm Rehme.     


Lynette McGowan reported that the Caregiver Coalition is in their second year of their four year Colorado Trust grant.  The Coalition is starting their long-term strategic planning process.  Lynette stated that the Strategic Planning workshop had great attendance and is in the process of reviewing outcomes and coming up with smaller groups.  Lynette stated that the Coalition is in the process of creating a video which should be available in the next couple of months. 



Angela Dazlich, from BRI, distributed information on a Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Fair being held July 19th at Crossroads Church.  Angela stated that her firm has an 80% success rate for finding a solution for people in foreclosure.  Angela went on to state that she has seen a lot of seniors.  Angela explained that the seniors often come in at the last hour for assistance.  If people would come in earlier, there are better solutions. 



Helen adjourned the meeting at 3:30 p.m.