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Larimer County Interagency Oversight Group 11/09/2023

by Nanci Wendland

For more information see the full notes document here.*


View the meeting agenda.


From the Larimer County Interagency Group website: The Larimer County Interagency Oversight Group maintains and restores community health, safety, and well-being by partnering with families, youth, children, and communities to provide an integrated, immediate, unduplicated, and efficient continuum of local services for families with children in Larimer County.

Background from the Larimer County Interagency Group past/archived minutes (12/12/2013 meeting: https://apps.larimer.org/boards/minutes/life_12122013_minutes.htm): IV. LIFE Board Merge with LCIOG Board – Thad Paul

  • Discussed and approved at two Board Meetings to re-merge the two Boards. LIFE Board (Larimer County Integrated Family Enhancement) was the predecessor to LCIOG. Merging doesn't really change things. The public is welcome to attend.

Summary

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), DYS (Division of Youth Services), the Juvenile Justice System, Larimer County, and the Early Childhood Council were represented at this meeting. A newly created shared Google Doc was explained. All parties involved with LCIOG board will enter their projects to better coordinate what’s going on in the different departments and track progress. Notes and pleas for needs and/or back-up can also be entered on Google Doc.


The Juvenile Justice System representative discussed projects they are working on to address disparities and available resources in the community. Utilizing Matthews House, Family Peer Providers, Interns, and involving CSU sports were some ideas presented.


Larimer County’s at-risk youth are losing years of education.


According to a Juvenile Justice department representative, Probation, Matthews House, schools, and other youth online programs for education is failing the county’s high acuity youth. In addition to not enough funding and support for some of the programs, it can be difficult for parents to get their children back and forth to the programs available. Many parents work more than 1 job and don’t have their own vehicles for transportation.

The juvenile justice system is hoping for more community collaboration such as using CSU Interns to assist with tutoring and how to access online programs. Many at-risk, high acuity youth don’t have access to computers or the internet at home. A specified location would be chosen for safety reasons. A new law in Colorado prohibits using public schools as a location. Commissioner Liaison Shaddock-McNally said she would bring this issue before the Commission Council for ideas.


There is also work being done to create a restitution fund paid for by the County budget and bringing back community service programs. The county would pay the restitution up front (if applicable), and the youths would work it off through community service. This could help eliminate monetary payments from the youths’ families who are already struggling.


Several other ideas included a launch in January 2024 of peer providers who will work with parents of substance abuse. Other counties using this program have seen a reduction in child welfare cases. CASA offered to give the juvenile justice department the same brochures they use in court to find appropriate proactive activities and events that help kids who have been placed in child welfare programs.

CASA and Foster Care need more housing, daycare, and transportation.

The CASA representative gave a plea for additional care housing, daycare, and foster care families. The county tries to find available housing before it goes on the public market so they can place families in need. The county approved an additional 10 housing vouchers but much more is needed. When a family is placed in housing or with jobs, they may need daycare and transportation. Daycare has become out of reach financially for a lot of affected families.


Child welfare legislators proposed 10 bills in 2023, but only 5 have moved forward to address the needs shown below:

  1. Keeping high-acuity youth in the state.

  2. Transportation to and from programs and education.

  3. Foster family training for high-acuity youth.

  4. Respite options for foster families.

Respite options for foster care families is becoming a concern for human health services. Caring for kids in crisis can be difficult and places stress on foster families. Foster care families in Larimer County have asked for just a weekend of respite from their foster care duties. It’s difficult to find temporary care trained to care for high-acuity, at-risk youths. Foster families may decide to drop out of the foster care program altogether just for relief.


The juvenile justice representative said how difficult it can be to keep youth out of detention centers which may not be appropriate for at-risk youths. Some children have developmental delays and challenges and are not suited for detention. Finding a foster family creates an added layer of difficulty. Childrens Hospital of Colorado has been taking kids in crisis when needed or asked, but a hospital can’t keep them long term.


This meeting was a very interactive conversation between all attending departments. Everyone liked the new Google Doc for tracking and sharing projects and agreed to use it. Several new programs are scheduled to roll out in spring of 2024 and the departments are hopeful they can get a better grasp on solutions to Larimer County’s growing need for juvenile care and support.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:48 p.m.

No meeting in December.

Next Meeting: Jan. 11, 2024 @ 11:30 a.m. – Virtual only


*Citizen Observers further the commitment of the League of Women Voters to its principle of Citizens Right to Know, however, we are not acting as journalists. Omissions and errors are possible. It is assumed that users of this information are responsible for their own fact-checking. This could include contacting a government clerk, conversing with an elected official or staff, and/or asking us to speak to the Observer who attended.

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