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Audit Finds Colorado Department Failed To Properly Investigate Child Abuse And Neglect.

Daniel Noffsinger - Monday, December 15, 2014

An audit of the Colorado Department of Human Services shows that the Department failed to properly supervise county child welfare services while the Department decided if child abuse and neglect allegations merited investigation. The legislative Audit Committee recently held a hearing to discuss the audit and the results published in the 239-page report.

The hearing and audit brought forward numerous deficiencies regarding the Colorado Department of Human Services’s handling of the state’s child welfare system. For example, caseworkers screened out certain calls by applying improper criteria. Caseworkers also failed to follow up with cases that warranted further investigation. In addition, the Department also had problems with ensuring that the counties followed state rules on how to handle complaints of child abuse and neglect.

The audit provided nearly 50 recommendations on how the Department could ensure that the counties follow state rules. Some of the recommendations included updates and revisions to training materials, new reporting requirements, and internal steps and controls to ensure compliance. Addressing the Committee, Reggie Bicha, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, felt that about one third of the recommendations were not warranted.

After a 2013 investigation from the Denver Post, Colorado lawmakers requested an audit of the Colorado Department of Human Services. The investigation revealed that the Department knew the families or caregivers for 70 of the 175 children who died from child abuse and neglect from 2007 through 2011. The Department’s child protection workers may have failed to take the necessary steps to prevent the deaths of these children.

Child Abuse And Prevention

Child abuse and neglect, unfortunately, occur in every part of the country and affect people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Children of all religions, ages, family backgrounds, and national origin are affected.

Child abuse and neglect can be divided into four distinct categories :

  • Physical injury or abuse, such as broken bones, cuts, bruises.
  • Mental or emotional injury or abuse, including verbal abuse and emotional neglect.
  • Sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • Negligent abuse, including lack of adequate care and protection that threatens a child’s safety and welfare. Examples include lack of shelter, food, clothing, or medical attention.

According to the Colorado Department of Education, physical and medical neglect are the most common forms of child abuse. Furthermore, children three and younger have the highest victimization rates. While parents are the most common individuals responsible for child abuse or neglect, abusers can be anyone responsible for the care and well-being of the child, including daycare providers, teachers, or foster parents.  

If your child is a victim of abuse or neglect, you can obtain a civil protection order. A civil protection order permits one to obtain speedy relief to protect another party from harming you or your child. The order can remove an individual from the home, give you temporary control of your children, and order an individual to stay a certain distance away from you and your children. Importantly, obtaining a civil protection order does not mean the other person will go to jail.

Contact a Colorado Springs Family Attorney

If you have questions regarding protecting your child’s rights or civil protection orders, an experienced Colorado Springs family law attorney at Noffsinger Law, LLC can help you. From domestic violence disputes to divorce issues, Noffsinger Law LLC provides comprehensive family legal services. Contact a Colorado Springs family lawyer today for a free initial consultation.