Board of Social Services
Commissionersí Conference Room
Second Floor Ė County Administration Building
10:00 am - Noon
In Attendance: Commissioner Donnelly, Commissioner Johnson, Commissioner Gaiter, Neil Gluckman,† Ginny Riley, Laura Walker, Jim Drendel, Marsha Ellis, Ruth Long and Eileen Brittingham
Commissioner Johnson called the meeting to order.
Everyone in attendance introduced themselves and stated their position for the listening audience.
Update on State Structure Discussions
Ginny announced that the Colorado State Department of Human Services is no longer looking at changing the structure of administering Human Services programs at the state level instead of at the county level. The state is still discussing the idea of a centralized call center to take reports of child abuse or neglect. ††
Division Manager for the Children, Youth and Family, Jim Drendel provided two handouts to the Commissioners. †The first outlined the 22 areas State staff review on child protection cases.† The second handout compares human services programs that are managed by state, county, and national levels.† Jim presented statistical information on how Coloradoís child protection outcomes compare to other states. †In general, county administered systems have better outcomes that state administered systems.
Jim expressed concern in the countiesí response time if the state institutes a centralized call center.† In state administered programs the average response time for a caseworker is 90 hours.† In county administered program the average response time is 48 hours. †The response time averages all types of responses including immediate responses, 3 day response, or 5 day response. Jim expressed his views about a centralized 800 number.† His main concern was the inefficiency of this type of system.† Commissioner Johnson also expressed his concerns with State run 800 numbers for the public to access services.
There is a lot of information available on the Colorado Counties Incorporated (CCI) website.† Jim let the Commissioners know that they can contact him at any time with questions, concerns, etc.† Commissioner Johnson, Ginny Riley, and Jim Drendel discussed providing information from the CCI website to legislators.†
Ginny discussed concerns she had about smaller/rural counties not being able to perform to the level of the larger counties and not having the funding that larger counties have.† Ginny asked the Commissioners if they had any questions. The Commissioners did not have any at this time.†
Additions to Agenda
Commissioner Johnson asked for an update on the recent child fatality in Loveland.† Ginny responded that Larimer County conducted an internal review of the case and submitted its report to that State.† The state will now conduct its own review. Representatives from the state will be coming to Larimer County on Aug 9th to discuss the case.† The state will then issue a draft report to Larimer County. The department will have an opportunity to respond to the State report prior to the final report being issued to the public.† It is most likely we wonít have a final report until September.
Commissioner Johnson asked why the State is reviewing this case.† Ginny explained that in this case the department had prior contact with the family and the department was in the process of doing an assessment on the child victim.
Commissioner Johnson asked what type of response time was given on the child victim.† Ginny responded it was an immediate response.†
Ginny reviewed how the department complaint process works.† Ginny explained that we have several different areas of review for almost all Human Service program areas.† These reviews include appeals, courts, and complaints.† Many of the complaints the department receive cross over all three areas.†
∑ Decisions by the Court cannot be overturned by the department; these request must go back to the courts.† The department can change its recommendation to the courts but we cannot change the court ruling.
∑ The appeals process gives clients the opportunity to have an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) review their case based on federal and state rules.† Clients have a right to appeal the departmentís decision based on the rules.† Clients must meet the timeframe for the appeals process.
∑ Finally, there is an internal complaint process to address client complaints.† The department encourages clients to address complaints at the lowest level possible.† In the end if they are not satisfied they can file a complaint with the Directorís office.†
There are two exceptions; claims of discrimination and the child welfare grievance process.† Ginny explained the child welfare grievance process.† To access the Citizen Review Panel (CRP) the complaint must first submit, to the Director, in writing a statement of the specific conduct which gives rise to the grievance, the employee whose conduct is at issue, prior steps that have been taken to resolve the grievance, and the outcome the complainant desires.† If the Director is unable to resolve the issue within 20 calendar days, the Director shall immediately refer the grievance to the Citizen Review Panel. In order to access the CRP the complaint must be about misconduct of a current DHS employee while he/she was performing their duties under the Childrenís code. The person filing the grievance must be the subject of the allegation. †The remedy the complainant desires must be within the Directorís scope of authority. †The Citizen Review Panel reviews the grievance and issues a written decision containing its recommendations.† The county director shall then issue a written final decision that shall include the county directorís plan for implementation of the final decision, if deemed appropriate. The client can make one final request to the Board of County Commissioners for review.†
Ginny stated that the department takes every complaint seriously and works hard to respond and resolve all concerns.††
Deputy Director, Laura Walker reviewed the numbers and types of complaints received in the Directorís Office from April 1, 2010, through June 30, 2010.
During the 2nd Quarter of 2010, 17 formal complaints were received, the majority of which had to do with the Departmentís two largest divisions: Benefits Planning (Food, Medical and Financial Assistance) and Children, Youth and Family.
Laura reviewed the handout which included the complaints by area of concern, complaints as a percentage of caseload, each divisionís monthly caseload averages and any request for the Citizen Review Panel.
Ginny asked the Commissioners if they had any questions on this data.† The Commissioner did not have any questions.†††
Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS)
Ginny announced that she recently reviewed March food assistance data and Larimer County ranked number one in Colorado for timely processing of food assistance cases.
Division Manager, Marsha Ellis stated that Larimer County staff are still experience significant issues with the CBMS computer system.† The issues include slow response times when moving from screen to screen, the software locking up, and staff being kicked out of the system.
Commissioner Johnson asked if anything has changed that caused these issues.† Ginny responded that caseloads are up, the state was not prepared for the number of users accessing the system and rule changes in the system are all affecting the systems functionality.
Marsha explained that the system not working efficiently has caused more client calls and additional clients in the lobby. Larimer County staff are trying different work schedules to help work around the system issues.
Ginny expressed concern with the new on-line application system coming this fall.† This will increase our number of new applications and further slow downCBMS system response time.
Commissioner Johnson and Ginny discussed the different issues that CBMS has experienced since its implementation.†
Commissioner Johnson asked if there is anything the Commissioners can do help. †Ginny responded that the departmentís number one request is supporting all Colorado counties in their request to not make any further changes to the system unless it is absolutely necessary
Ginny made two announcements:
1. The Medical Service Board (MSB) will be in Larimer County on Sept 10th. The Medical Service board is the rule making body for Medicaid and Ginny is the current Chair.
2. The department has restructured and eliminated the position of Adult and Child Supportive Services Division Manager.† Ginny thanked Ruth Long for all of her hard work.† Ruth will move into a new role as manager for the Office on Aging.
Ginny asked if the Commissioners had any further questions.† The Commissioners did not have anything further at this time.
Commissioner Johnson adjourned the meeting.†