CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families director outlines priorities for the remainder of his tenure

This administration has accomplished a great deal over the last several years, but recognizes that there is still much work to be done to improve the lives of Colorado’s children, youth and families served by the divisions and programs overseen by the Office of Children, Youth and Families. During his four and a half year tenure with CDHS, Dr. Robert Werthwein, director of the Office of Children, Youth and families, has listened to feedback from CDHS employees and county and community members alike and learned a great deal about the programs and systems designed to intervene at critical points in the lives of children and youth.

With less than two years remaining, Werthwein created a "punch list" outlining priorities which the Office of Children, Youth and Families aims to accomplish before the end of this administration on January 1, 2019 to create lasting change in Colorado’s child welfare, juvenile justice and domestic violence systems. A punch list is a document prepared near the end of a construction project listing work that needs to be completed before the project is done. With this blog post, the Office is beginning a series of blog posts that will dig deeper into each idea and solicit feedback from all stakeholders on ways to improve Colorado’s child welfare, juvenile justice and domestic violence systems. 

Office of Children, Youth and Families  Action Items

  • Educational reform for mobile youth in custody.

  • Spark a movement to support foster parents.   

  • Create rules for child welfare youth in conflict and beyond control of parent populations.

  • Better prepare older youth involved in the child welfare system by:
    • Completing the Pathways Model Youth System Grant to create a model intervention for youth/young adults with child welfare involvement determined to be at-risk of homelessness.
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of the Pathways interventions to learn from the experiences and identify any necessary modifications to child welfare programs and/or practices.
  • Monitor and improve the percentage of eligible young people who have a complete independent living plans and emancipation transition plans.

  • Improve post-permanency supports for families that have adopted children and youth from the child welfare system without re-entry into child welfare system.

  • Implement the activities outlined in HB17-1329 as well as the 2017-2018 DYS staffing budget request including:
    • Implementation of a 20-bed pilot program in DYS to initiate a cultural change within the division.
    • Evaluation of the effectiveness of the pilot program to learn from the experiences and make any necessary modifications to DYS program and/or processes.
    • Evaluation of DYS hiring and retention evaluations.
  • Complete phase 1 of creating a more effective juvenile justice crossover continuum by:
    • Supporting recommendations from the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
    • Monitor youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems to ensure that young people do not languish in detention awaiting placement.
  • Ban the detention of youth ages 10 to 12 with non-weapon, non-felony misdemeanor charges.

  • Empower families of youth in DYS custody to connect to important benefit programs to help pay for child care, buy nutritious food, get cash assistance and access health care coverage through the Colorado Program Eligibility and Application Kit (PEAK).

  • Train Domestic Violence Program funded programs to help domestic violence survivors connect to important benefit programs to help pay for child care, buy nutritious food, get cash assistance and access health care coverage through the Colorado Program Eligibility and Application Kit (PEAK).

 

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