CASA Strongly Opposes DHS Proposed Changes

In response to the March 3 Denver Post article “Colorado considers easing rules on child-abuse investigations

The Colorado Department of Human Services has proposed a change that would remove a rule requiring that county social workers automatically open an investigation if they receive three reports of child abuse or neglect within two years.

As CASA advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children throughout Colorado, the concept of relaxing rules dictating when caseworkers must investigate reports of abuse and neglect is simply unconscionable.

The Colorado CASA Board of Directors is strongly opposed to this proposal.

The primary focus of Colorado Department of Human Services must be to ensure the safety and protection of our state’s children. Any way you look at this proposal, the most vulnerable children in our state would become more vulnerable.

In the article, Stephen Johnson, board member and county commissioner for Larimer County is quoted as saying “We’re trusting people to make the first judgment, we’re trusting them to make the second, but for some reason we’re not trusting them to make the third.”

We feel that if the first and second judgments are well made by county social workers, then the chance of a third incident against a child can be significantly reduced.

Furthermore, the focus should not be the “quantity” of judgments made, but rather the “quality” of the information collected, the assessments performed, and ultimately, the decisions made on behalf of the child.

There is no question that budget resources are tight and getting tighter. Social workers have very challenging jobs. However, we should not lose sight of the wellbeing & safety of Colorado’s children in the process.

Colorado CASA Board of Directors

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