Samuel Stephenson - Colorado Child Welfare Life Changer
Samuel Stephenson, pictured above along side Reggie Bicha, CDHS executive director and Minna Castillo Cohen, CDHS director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families, is with Teller County Human Services. He has been with the department for 5 years and was nominated by CDHS Administrative Review Division reviewer Kristin McKinnon.
Like so many of the nominations received, the totality of the circumstances can not be shared because of confidentiality. However, what can be shared is that Sam is being recognized for his role in changing the life of a young person who has developmental delays, was eligible to transition into the adult system, and was not getting her educational needs met.
Sam did an exemplary job in this case and was persistent in his efforts to manage this young person’s safety while she was involved in the adult criminal justice system, made suicidal threats, and struggled with behavioral issues in her foster home, which ultimately impacted attendance at school. Sam challenged the information that was believed to be known about this young person. He knew that with more understanding about this young woman’s abilities, he would be better able to serve her and help her transition successfully to the adult system. Sam did an outstanding job advocating for this young person’s needs. He has worked hard to overcome many systemic barriers to provide this young person with the services that she needs, as well as achieve permanency.
Sam started off as a case aide with Teller County, was promoted up and became a caseworker II, and then caseworker III, and just this month was promoted to ongoing supervisor. At the same time, he has also gone through the Metro Stipend Program and to receive his MSW. In preparing for these awards, Teller County helped CDHS reach out to others who also work with Sam and, county attorney Steve Zentz, had this to say:
For a relatively young caseworker, Sam has a unique ability to always keep to the forefront the big picture goals for the families he works with. But at the same time, he is able to continually diagnose the micro issues that create barriers that can adversely interfere with the families reaching the big picture goals. This ability allows Sam to quickly change or adjust services to give the families the best chance to overcome the barriers. Sam has a strong ethic for getting the job done right which he demonstrates on a daily basis. he brings these traits to his work everyday which has greatly benefited the families served in teller county.
The Colorado Department of Human Services was proud to present Samuel Stephenson with a Colorado Child Welfare Life Changer Award at the 2018 Colorado Child Welfare Conference. We know, Kim Mauthe,Teller County Human Services executive director, and all of the staff at Teller County, joins the Colorado Department of Human Services in thanking Sam for all that he does.