To the editor:
Recently the Denver media reported on the Colorado Child Welfare system. This 8 day report was the culmination of a review over the past eight months with unprecedented access to inform provided by the state and numerous counties to the media.
Exclusive Director Reggie Richard of the Colorado Department of Human Services noted, "It is only by providing access to the painful realities of our work, the families we served and the professionals who served them, that we can work together to find the best solutions of children."
Over the past two years, Governor Hckenlooper worked closely with the Department of Human Services to establish a child welfare plan for Colorado, "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy." Our focus on these strategies will continue to assist in improved outcomes as even one child hurt is too many.
On November 11, the Denver Post reported that Moffat County has the highest rate in the state of child abuse and neglect reports per 1,000 people. A referral is a report a suspected child abuse of neglect to Social Services or one of the law enforcement agencies.
There could be negative assumptions about the high rate of abuse and neglect referrals. These could include the idea that a high rate of referral is an indication that more children are being abused and neglected in Moffat County than in any other county in the state.
Because there surely are unreported incidents of child abuse and neglect in every county, we don't have a way of knowing if Moffat County has a higher rate of abuse and neglect than other counties.
It is important to know this high rate of referrals reflects the success of the Child Protection Team's efforts to encourage reporting by mandated reports. It also indicates that Moffat County Social Services hears each report and considers them important which means each one is carefully considered, investigated or otherwise addressed, and then entered into the statewide computer system.
Most importantly, it indicates that Moffat County has citizens who care deeply about children and are willing to take action on behalf of those children. The Moffat County Commissioners and the Social Services Department that the citizens of Moffat County for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect.
Your willingness to get involved by reporting abuse is commendable; you are making a difference.
To report suspected abuse, please call 824-8282 between hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours and on weekends, please call law enforcement dispatch at 824-8111 and ask that a caseworker returns your call or give information to the dispatcher.
Please continue to call in reports. Your care and concern expressed by calling is vital to the protection of the children of Moffat County.
Moffat County Commissioner
Marie J. Peer
Director, Moffat County Department of Social Services