Bill Ritter announced the appointments today of 23 Coloradans to a new Child Welfare Action Committee, which will recommend improvements to Colorado's child-protection system following 13 child deaths at the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008.
Gov. Ritter established the action committee by executive order in April and through follow-up legislation – House Bill 1404, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Stafford and Sen. Moe Keller – in May. The committee will deliver interim recommendations to Gov. Ritter by Oct. 31 and a final report by Dec. 31, 2009.
The action committee's first meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Doubletree Denver North,
8773 Yates Drive, Westminster. All meetings will be held at this location, and all meetings will end with a public comment period.
"I am pleased to announce these appointments today so this committee can get to work," Gov. Ritter said. "When it comes to protecting our most vulnerable children – those in foster care, those who have suffered abuse or neglect – the status quo is no longer acceptable."
"When Gov. Ritter spoke in April about a new day for taking a hard look at Colorado's child protection system, the community, state Department of Human Services, professionals, counties, providers and families embraced the idea of a need for improvement and change," said Karen Beye, executive director of the Department of Human Services and chair of the new action committee.
"The Child Welfare Action Committee will lead this change process and I am enthusiastic about the strengths and variety of experience the appointees bring to the table," Beye said. "I look forward to beginning our work this week as we commit to a joint effort of improving the child welfare system in
The other appointees are:
State Rep. Debbie Stafford
17th Judicial District Court Judge Katherine Delgado
Cyril "Skip" Barber of
Phyllis J. Bigpond of
Shirley Chapman of
Kenneth Crichlow of
Barbara Drake of
Linda Fairbairn of Lamar
John Faught of
Megan Ferland of Evergreen
Mary W. Lewis of
Jose Mondragon of
Adrienne Pederson of
Patricia Schene of
Barbara Shaklee of
Shari Shink of
Theresa Spahn of
Deborah Valentine of
Dr. Kathryn Wells of
The executive directors of the Department of Public Health and Environment and Department of Health Care Policy and Financing also will serve on the action committee.
The committee will:
's current state-supervised/county-administered child-welfare system to determine whether this system is most effective in protecting children. Colorado
· Examine the quality and quantity of training that child-protection caseworkers should receive.
· Recommend ways to make the system more responsive to people reporting child maltreatment.
· Explore the role that independent oversight committees can play in ensuring that human service agencies are held accountable, and recommend how these bodies can be incorporated into
's child-welfare system. Colorado
· Develop recommendations as to how public/private partnerships can improve the services and care provided to children who reside within the welfare system.