Child Welfare Wraps Up Statewide Listening Tour In Aurora
In August 2016, the Ongoing Services Team in the CDHS Division of Child Welfare kicked-off an 11-county Post-Permanency Summit tour to hear directly from adoptive, foster and kinship families about what support services work, don’t work and what they would like to see more of. Eight months and thousands of miles later, the listening tour wrapped up in Aurora on April 11, 2017.
The tour began after Colorado received federal incentive funds from the Administration of Children and Families for its performance on Adoption and Relative Guardianship. The funds will provide post-permanency support services to families that have been touched by the child welfare system. In order to utilize the funding to effectively meet the needs of all of Colorado’s families, the Ongoing Services unit hit the road to get feedback directly from stakeholders.
“We intentionally started in rural communities,” Jason Lester, the Ongoing Services Unit Manager, said, “because we frequently heard that policies are too often focused on the needs of families in the metro area.”
The Summit traveled to Alamosa, Arapahoe, El Paso, La Plata, Larimer, Logan, Mesa, Montrose, Morgan, Otero and Pueblo counties. Along the way, common themes emerged, including the need for more training, respite care which gives parents a break for a few hours or overnight, peer support groups, mental health navigation, in-home services and regular, trauma-informed workshops.
Ongoing Services brought in national speaker, author and trainer Sue Badeau to facilitate the conversations. “It’s really unique to have this opportunity,” Sue told the attendees at the Aurora Summit. “Most government agencies would get people together in a room and decide what you need. This is your opportunity to tell us what’s working, what’s not working and to put things on your wish list.”
Following the Summits, Ongoing Services will issue an RFP to create and sustain statewide post-permanency services. True to the ethos of the listening tour, foster, adoptive and kinship families will be invited to provide input on the RFPs that are submitted.
Mary Griffin (left), Foster Care Program Administrator and Relative Guardianship Assistance Program Administrator, author and speaker Sue Badeau (center) and Jason Lester (left), Ongoing Services Unit Manager.