New additions to the Family First Implementation Team

May 11, 2020

The Family First Prevention Services Act Implementation Team, the committee of Colorado leaders dedicated to developing Colorado’s Family First opt-in plan, has expanded with two new members and a new American Indian/Alaska Native workgroup.

Makita Cotto, a youth mentor and foster care alum, says that she joined the Implementation Team so that families and youth in Colorado know that they matter. “While sometimes the process of being involved with DHS can be scary and overwhelming, I want them to know there’s a team of people fighting alongside them,” Makita said. “My experiences growing up in foster care, mentoring youth in the child welfare system and working in child welfare have given a unique perspective to be a voice for many who feel silenced.”

Toni Miner, a Family Support Partner at Jefferson County, says she is looking forward to lending her voice as a parent who has been involved in the child welfare system. “My hope is that families and youth voices will be not just heard, but actually listened to,” she said. “That they will be looked to more often as experts, especially when it involves their own families …. “[and] to get our family serving systems to look outside the box to discover different ways to truly support the families they are working with.”

Additionally, the new American Indian/Alaska Native workgroup was created to contribute to Colorado’s Family First opt-in plan and to bolster the government-to-government relationship between the Tribes within the state and the State of Colorado. “With the creation of the Family First American Indian/Alaska Native workgroup, the Implementation Team recognizes that it is critical to include Tribal voices in the development and implementation of Family First,” Kathryn Redhorse, ICWA specialist and a member of the newly formed workgroup, said. “CDHS recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of American Indian/Alaska Natives, both within the jurisdiction of the federally recognized Tribes and for the needs of all Native peoples across Colorado.”

The workgroup’s purpose is to:

  • Provide recommendations for the implementation of Family First in the State of Colorado.
  • To ensure Tribal voices are included in the development and implementation of Family First.
  • To meet the needs of American Indian/Alaska Natives, both within the jurisdiction of the federally recognized tribes and for the needs of all Native peoples across Colorado.
  • Recognizing the government-to-government relationship between the State of Colorado and the Tribes within the state.
  •  Ensure that all pieces of Family First work are culturally responsive to meet the needs of Native peoples across the state.
  • Improve the working relationship between Tribal communities (on-and-off current Tribal lands) with the State and Counties through the implementation of Family First.

The Family First Implementation Team is responsible for developing, deploying and monitoring a plan to implement the specific defined topic area recommendations and activities within the Road Map. Learn more about their work online.

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