Colorado Department of Human Services Archives - Colorado Politics

Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 26, 20172min111
Colorado Shines, the Department of Human Services program that rates child care and preschool programs, has added 54 programs to its highest ranking. The Office of Early Childhood’s list has grown its list of rated programs to 848, showing parents and guardians which ones meet and exceed state licensing requirements. DHS ranks programs on levels […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 5, 20177min4630

The Colorado Department of Human Services highlighted five families for their dedication to foster kids at the Governor’s Mansion in Denver Saturday.

“Touching the life of a child in need is one of the most important and fulfilling things we can do,” DHS executive director Reggie Bicha said in a statement. “These families have done an incredible thing by opening their homes and hearts to some of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens. Our kids are our future, and these five families are a great example of the role models we want helping to shape our future through compassion and care.”

The ceremony was part of the state’s recognition of National Adoption Month.

The families were featured in a series of videos shown at the luncheon to inspire adoptions for more than 100 attendees, DHS said.

DHS featured:

  • April and Earl Camp Sr. of Craig.
  • Amy and Jessica Kobylinski of Colorado Springs.
  • Anita and Jeff Nobles of Denver.
  • Himon Robles of Pueblo.
  • Amber and Maurice Taylor of Peyton.

DHS said there are 276 children and teensin foster care awaiting adoption in Colorado. The foster care system in the state took care of 877 kids who were adopted last year, and 652 have been adopted so far this year.

The state is trying to find more foster parents, especially those who can take care of children with special needs, siblings and older children. Colorado Politics reported last week that Colorado needs 1,200 more foster families in the next two years.

Watch the videos by clicking here. Here are bios of the foster families honored Saturday provideds by DHS:

Camp Family

For 18 years, April and Earl Camp Sr. have been foster parents in Craig. In that time, they have fostered countless children and adopted one child, their 9-year-old daughter, Lucy. April and Earl agree that adoption is a lifelong journey for everyone in their family. Lucy is thriving in their home, and their sons, Earl Jr. (22) and Joshua (37), are proud older brothers. For support on this journey, the Camps turn to the Moffat County Department of Social Services, doctors and specialists across the state, and their own families. April and Earl continue to foster children and teens, and they plan to adopt again if they foster a child who is unable to return to their biological parents and needs a home.

Kobylinski Family

Amy and Jessica Kobylinski had already started the process to become foster-to-adopt parents when they read about a Colorado Heart Gallery display at a library in Colorado Springs. This article prompted the couple to contact The Adoption Exchange, where they told an LGBTQ staff advocate about their desire to adopt a teenager. Almost immediately, the couple were interested in adopting Diamond, 17, but it wasn’t until several months later that they were able to meet Diamond in person. Immediately, the three felt like a family, and Diamond’s adoption was finalized in October 2017. Amy and Jessica are committed to giving Diamond acceptance and unconditional love, and they say Diamond gives them that in return.

Nobles Family

Anita and Jeff Nobles were married for 15 years before they grew their family by adopting siblings Imani, 3, and Tyson, 2. Parenting two toddlers is a challenge. Anita and Jeff say that getting through the day and putting the kids to bed at night is a little victory. For the Nobles, parenting is all about trial and error and thinking creatively in order to ensure their children feel safe and have stability. Anita created a visual schedule for the kids to help them recognize family members and adapt to a consistent routine. They have also relied on the support of their family, faith and community throughout the adoption process.

Robles Family

Himon Robles was a 32-year-old bachelor when his two nieces and nephew moved into his home. Going from an uncle to a parent was an adjustment for Himon and the kids, who were used to their uncle spoiling them and giving them everything they wanted. After caring for the kids for two years, Himon and the kids – Mikayla, 15, Anastaysha, 8, and Joseph, 5 – jumped at the opportunity for adoption. Even though they were already a family, adoption gave them all permanency and peace of mind.

Taylor Family

Maurice and Amber Taylor’s adult children had already left the house when the couple decided to adopt three of their foster children: Max, 9, Tatiana, 8, and Keri, 7. For Maurice, adoption runs in the family – his parents also adopted and he saw firsthand how having a family can change a young person’s life forever. Maurice and Amber continue to foster to provide a safe, loving home for children in Colorado’s foster care system. Maurice and Amber want to let other people know that you don’t have to be perfect to adopt. Kids don’t care about what you have; they just want to be love


Donna LynneDonna LynneOctober 25, 20175min4090

Coloradans have always come together to support each other when we need it most. It’s part of our heritage as a frontier, can-do state. And, we should support those families who need it most.  The Colorado Department of Human Services estimates that the state will need 1,200 new foster families in the next two years to help serve every child and teen in our foster care system.


Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandOctober 24, 20173min203
Colorado’s state foster care agency is on a drive to recruit more than 1,200 more foster parents in the next two years. The foster care system currently has about 2,000 foster families, but spokesperson Nourie Boraie of the Colorado Department of Human Services said only about 75 percent stay from year to year.  The need […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 23, 20173min2890

The new director of Colorado Office of Behavioral Health has another new title: Friend of Children.

Robert Werthwein received the award from Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA.

Werthwein was recognized for his work with the Colorado Department of Human Service’s Office of Children, Youth and Families from March 2015 to September 2017, before DHS promoted him last month.

For 24 years, CASA has given the Friend of Children Award “to those who personify the values of humanitarian outreach and volunteerism with children, families and the community,” DHS said.

The award typically goes to judges, law enforcement, doctors, legislators or individuals who work to make life better for kids.

“At CDHS, we’re charged with ensuring every child in our care knows that they can rely on us, that we’re going to work to equip them with the tools they need to succeed and when the burden is too much, we’ll be there to help lighten the load,” Werthwein said in a statement. “Our kids are our future, and we’re going to keep showing up for them every day to help put more Colorado youth on a path to success.”

Since earning his doctorate in clinical psychology, Werthwein has worked to strengthen child-welfare programs and improve treatment for at-risk children. At the Office of Children, Youth and Families, Werthwein focused on juvenile justice, child welfare, human trafficking and other complex issues.

DHS referenced his work on House Bill 1207, the legislation sponsored by Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, that removes incarceration as an option for children younger than 12.

The rule already applied to children 10 and younger. The bill signed into law by the governor in May.

“Dr. Werthwein worked tirelessly to advocate for 10-12 year olds in the juvenile justice system, keeping those youths with low-level offenses from mandatory detention facilities,” DHS said.


Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 20, 20173min198
Reggie Bicha has been talking to tribal leaders about how the state of Colorado can be an ally to the Ute nation to provide needed social services to tribal members in the state. Bicha, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, and other state agency leaders met with representatives from the Ute Mountain […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 5, 20173min2300

Forty-five organizations that serve 23,000 Coloradans has $3 million more to fight domestic violence, the Colorado Department of Human Services said.

DHS’s Domestic Violence Program announced the contract awards Thursday morning

“Domestic violence is a tragedy that touches far too many Coloradans,” the program’s director, Brooke Ely-Milen, said in a statement. “DVP funding helps support a network of essential domestic violence services throughout Colorado’s diverse communities. This will give adults and children in Colorado who are affected by domestic violence the opportunity to seek help and explore options that will increase their safety and well-being.”

The contracts include federal and state money.

About $1.7 million is awarded to the state by the Family and Youth Services Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and another $630,000 from a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant. The state provides another $697,000 from the Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund income tax check-off program, which allows taxpayers to donate part of their return each year, as well as money from marriage licenses and divorce filing fees.

Last year, Colorado taxpayers used the check-off to contribute $175,000 to the fund.

DVP supports community-based programs that provide free, confidential support, including crisis intervention, safety planning, case management, advocacy, counseling and emergency shelter for adults and children affected by domestic violence, DHS said.

“These services increase awareness of community resources and help more Coloradans prepare a plan for their ongoing personal safety,” according to the department.

A list of those programs is available here.

The contracts are awarded year-to-year for up to four years. Though non-competitive, each program has to reapply annually to ensure contract and program compliance, DHS said.

DHS noted that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“If you or someone you know would like to reach a free and confidential community-based advocate, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, ” DHS said in its statement about the grants


Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 12, 20172min354
Circumstances and leadership continue to evolve with the Colorado Department of Human Services behavioral health programs, as Nancy VanDeMark plans to return to a private healthcare consulting at the end of September. DHS is promoting Robert Werthwein to the role. VanDeMark has  led the Office of Behavioral Health since  2015. “Dr. Werthwein is a dedicated […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 23, 20173min1420

Colorado Politics told you in July and now other news sources are taking the word nationwide: C-Stat program is a model that government could learn from.

Reggie Bicha pragmatic’s way of taking on problems at the Department of Human Services is more like a brain bowl for bureaucrats than a bureaucracy. His senior staff and others meet once a week for a lightning round of updates on pending solutions and group-sourcing over new problems for ideas across several departments. Everything is measured against data, not egos.

Last week Government Technology magazine republished a Governing magazine piece titled about Bicha and C-Stat titled, “Colorado’s Data-Driven Approach in Human Services is Helping It Tackle Major Problems; C-Stat has helped Colorado become one of the best states at getting benefits to unemployed and low-income people.”

You can read all about it here.

Writer J.B. Wogan notes:

More than 20 large cities and a handful of counties now have Stat programs. Only a few of them apply the data-driven approach to human services.

One of the pioneers of Stat programs for human services is Reggie Bicha.

The positive attention now is a long way from the situation Bicha inherited when Gov. John Hickenlooper brought him in to fix one of the most broken systems in state government in 2011.

Bicha told Wogan:

“If you go back six to 10 years ago, Colorado was one of the worst performing states in the country when it related to making timely eligibility determinations for food assistance, family cash assistance and Medicaid. It was so bad that when the governor and I came into the office in 2011, we inherited a federal court order directing us to improve the timeliness of these eligibility determinations. When you came in for benefits, you had a 50/50 shot of getting eligibility determined in a timely way. And then if you looked at accuracy, you had worse than a 50/50 shot that you were actually going to get the right benefit that you should have been receiving.

C-Stat itself didn’t fix the problem. What C-Stat did was give us a framework and set a clear goal for helping us dig into what was contributing to our lousy performance for Coloradans in need.”

Bicha told Colorado Politics in July that he has no expectations that he’ll be asked to stay on when Hickenlooper’s last term ends next year. Most new governors bring in their department heads, but he’s hopeful C-Stat will continue.

The KidStat program he started in Wisconsin under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle continued on under Republican Gov. Scott Walker.