By Jordan Steffen, Christopher N. Osher and Jennifer Brown
The Denver Post
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday revealed sweeping reforms to the state's child welfare system, including a multipart plan that will create a statewide hotline for reporting child abuse and neglect, new training on how to assess those reports, and a study of workloads and caseloads of child protection workers. . . .
The Denver Post investigation revealed the state lacked the ability to track workloads, how many caseworkers were on staff and whether they were disciplined for policy violations. The state plans to hire a consultant to study the workloads and caseloads within the department.
A statewide, toll-free hotline will be set up to take reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. The state will launch new training programs for hotline and child protection workers to ensure that reports contain all necessary information and are shared and assessed properly.
$20 million in state funds this year and $8 million in federal money each of the next five years will go to improve child abuse prevention programs and training. The federal funding comes through a waiver in how Colorado uses money that had been tied to spending on foster care.
Smartphone and tablet technology will be utilized so caseworkers can do paperwork remotely, between visiting homes of children. Caseworkers say they work 60-hour weeks and spend additional hours at home at night filling out paperwork in the state computer system.
The state will make available more money for services aimed at allowing families to remain intact. Other prevention money will deliver services through nurses, parenting classes and other resources — with the goal of reducing child abuse by 50 percent in seven years.
Read more:Colorado announces sweeping reforms to child welfare system - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22533149/colorado-announces-sweeping-reforms-child-welfare-system#ixzz2KEgQoAsL