Commissioners’ Conference Room

Second Floor – County Administration Building

10:00 am – 12:00 am


In Attendance: Commissioner Lew Gaiter, Commissioner Steve Johnson, Commissioner Tom Donnelly, Linda Hoffmann, Lorenda Volker, Ginny Riley, Laura Walker, Heather O’Hayre, Marsha Ellis, Jim Drendel, Ed Rutherford, Thad Paul, Lynda Meyer, Rick Perkins, and Ann Marie Grobarek


A recording of this worksession is available at:


Introductions & Announcements

Commissioner Gaiter welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order.


Director Ginny Riley asked if there were any additions to the agenda.  Commissioner Lew Gaiter confirmed that this is the last Board of Social Services meeting that Ginny Riley will attend as Director of the Department of Human Services, and thanked Ginny for her service to the community and the phenomenal job she has done over the years. 


Update on the State Hotline for Reporting Child Abuse

Jim Drendel, Child Youth and Family Services Division Manager introduced a report updating the information on the Statewide Hotline for reporting child abuse.  Thad Paul, Child Youth and Family Services Deputy Division Manager, and Rick Perkins, Program Coordinator for the Hub, presented an update (see handout) showing the following key points:

·         For January through April, an increase of 9.5% in referrals compared to last year.

·         For January through April, an increase of 1.5% in assessments compared to last year.

·         A corrected number of 700 phone calls to the Hub that were not referrals, not 70 (as reported in the February 2015 Board of Social Services).

·         The progress of efforts made to clear these phone calls, ensure they are not child protection concerns, and verify they are only people seeking general information or referral to other services.  

·         The challenge created by reports from three different sources showing discrepancies in the number of incoming calls.

·         The State Hotline has resulted in additional work for Hub employees as the process to review and “clear” the calls in State’s computer phone routing system (the Queue) is lengthy but necessary. 

·         Judge Payne is doing an independent review of the phone system, but there is no information yet as Judge Payne wants to deliver the results to the State first.


Commissioner Donnelly asked if we had a breakdown of categories for the origin of a referrals.  Thad responded that we do not have any tracking of these categories, but generally they come from hospitals, teachers, law enforcement, family and neighbors.  Jim said the difference in percentage increase from referrals to assessments shows that we need to take a closer look to see if we are getting more calls from the public as opposed to someone who sees the child directly now that the State Hotline is in place.


Commissioner Johnson and Commissioner Donnelly asked for clarification on the presentation.  Ginny replied that we are identifying additional problems with the State hotline, there is a big workload for our employees and the call numbers are going up.  If we need help working with the State, we may ask the Commissioners for their assistance.  Commissioner Gaiter asked for clarification on people who call us directly versus the State Hotline and referrals generated from Trails.



Resiliency in Children/Trauma Informed

Jim Drendel presented information about “Joey”, a child in our system who has participated in the Trauma Informed System of Care and who is now receiving more suitable therapy and care as a result of the process.  Handouts provided included the TOP Factor Scores identifying categories for scoring in the Trauma Screening, a brochure for Trauma Screening & Assessment from the County, and a handout showing the difference in scores for Joey before and after the changes in therapy and medication.

Joey (name changed to protect anonymity) is one of the most highly traumatized children in our system. 

·         Joey was sexually abused, physically abused and neglected early in his life

·         Around the age of five, he was adopted

·         He was heavily medicated, demonstrated sexual behavior, and was mean to others.  He was not considered developmentally disabled

·         He became suicidal and violent within two years, and his adoption began to fail

·         He was returned to the custody of Larimer County, and completed a Trauma Screening

·         The process we use also requires an IQ test, and his IQ was in the 50s, which was much lower than was originally thought

·         The Trauma Screening identified issues that may have been overlooked, caused discussion of those issues and helped identify more effective therapy than the current program

·         Talk therapy was replaced with equine therapy and has been very successful

·         Changes to education including slowing down the pace, allowing more movement and using more imagery has improved his performance in school

·         Medication was adjusted and sensory-based “touch and feel” occupational therapy has started

·         A new home with foster parents trained to control their body language, tone of voice, etc.

·         Ratings on the Trauma Screening have improved


Commissioner Johnson questioned the reliability of the Trauma Screening when results show such a wide discrepancy in scores.  Jim Drendel replied that it causes discussion if there is a discrepancy and brings up topics that might be otherwise overlooked.  Commissioner Donnelly asked if this process is commonly used.  Jim replied that there is a national effort from Washington DC to implement this process that started about three years ago, but Larimer County is one of the first counties in the State to implement it.  We will be working with six other counties who will be implementing it soon. 


Staffing Impacts from Workload Study Findings

Jim Drendel that the Workload Study Findings resulted in the State allowing for additional employees in Child Welfare to address concerns about case management workloads.  Key points from Jim’s report include the following:

·         The number of additional workers is based on the number of assessments.

·         The State recommends a ratio of one supervisor to five case workers.

·         Larimer County received approval for five total employees, and they cannot be clerical.

·         We have ten vacancies due to turnover, so we are looking to hire 15 people to maintain the one to five ratio recommended.

·         The State will be tracking these positions to make sure they are not supplanted, so they will be paid out of a specific line item that will be tracked.


Legislative Update

Ginny Riley reported updates on a number of bills that are related to the Department of Human Services.  The updates included the following: 

1.     Differential Response was extended and passed on the last day of the legislative session.

2.     The Child Welfare Ombudsman was moved to the judicial branch of the government.  This was a compromise reached when CCI indicated that moving the Ombudsman to the legislative branch would make the Ombudsman position too political.  There will be an advisory committee for the Ombudsman’s office, and Ginny said her name may be submitted for consideration.

3.     Legislation passed that will require the County to do some more significant background checks on foster care families.  The argument had been about fingerprint checks.  The State will be auditing for them now.

4.     CCI was able to get representation on the board making decisions affecting the aging population in Colorado by adding a commissioner to the board.

5.     Child Support will be passed through to non-custodial parents, but this will not go into effect until 2017 in order to make the necessary changes to the State computer systems.  Provisions have been made for JBC to backfill the funds for this year, but future backfilling is uncertain.


Office On Aging Four Year Plan Overview

Lynda Meyer, Office on Aging Manager, began by thanking Commissioner Johnson for helping at the Summit on Aging.  She then presented the Four Year Plan, required by the Older American Act for the aging network led by the US Administration on Aging.  Key points of her presentation (see handout) included the following:

·         Changing trends in demographics for the County compared to State and national trends

·         Our vision, which focuses on being a recognized leader in aging and disability services, identifying gaps in order to foster solutions, advocating support for changing service provider needs, promoting quality and cost-effective services by using measurable data

·         An overview of changes in funding from federal, state and other grant sources

·         A graphic visually demonstrating where the funding is spent

·         Planned objectives for the future, including

o    Providing better information to the community, especially low income seniors

o    Focusing on transportation needs, for example funding six vendors instead of five by adding a program in Berthoud

o    Developing nutrition counseling

o    Creating a voucher program for in-home services

o    Developing a housing assessment and improving other outcome based metrics

Lynda explained that the biggest challenge with this job is the funding because there is no certainty.  They have requested two new staff with grant funding, one to run the voucher program and one to do quality assurance.


Commissioner Donnelly asked about the funding provided for congregate meals, as it seems to be a large proportion of the funding.  Lynda replied that congregate meals are under-utilized and they will be working closely with our grantee in looking at that particular issue.  Commissioner Donnelly asked for an update on the Senior Property Tax Workoff program, and Lynda said she would have Katy Mason send a summary.  They have a couple of particularly good stories of the program especially since they partnered with the Aging and Disability Resource Center.  


Client Activity Report

Ann Marie Grobarek, Business Operations Coordinator, presented an overview of the department’s client activity.  Ann Marie reviewed: monthly average caseloads, program activity, complaint totals, and results from the client follow-up survey regarding complaints from January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.   


During the 1st Quarter of 2015:

·         The Food, Medical & Financial Assistance Program caseloads continue to increase.  We currently have 58,038 cases. 

·         Child Support collected over $4.8 million.

·         Children, Youth and Family received 1,774 referrals, and 97% of children with a case plan to remain home did.

·         We received a total of 9 complaints during the 1st Quarter. 


Introduction of Heather O’Hayre, the New Human Services Deputy Director

Laura Walker introduced the new Human Services Deputy Director, Heather O’Hayre.  This was her first day on the job, and Laura wanted to mention that a previous co-worker of Heather’s had stopped Laura to tell her that we had “stolen” their best person from the City and County of Denver.


Heather explained that she had worked for over two years with Denver Human Services on programs intended to maximize program involvement for families involved with the Child Welfare Division.  She described over ten years of experience in New York with Child Protection as a case worker and in private practice.  She obtained her Master’s degree at Columbia University and has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Colorado State University.  She is originally from Broomfield, Colorado.


The Commissioners welcomed her to the County.


Meeting adjourned.