Location: RM 271
Presentation - Child Protection Ombudsman Office
COMMITTEE ON JOINT HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
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01:35 PM -- Presentation - Child Protection Ombudsman Office
Stephanie Villafuerte, Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman, presented on the Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman Office (office). A handout was distributed to the committee (Attachment A). Ms. Villafuerte described the history and function of the office. She explained that the office became an independent state agency in the Judicial Branch in 2015 to act as a liaison between the public and child protection services. The office was previously located in the Department of Human Services. Ms. Villafuerte described the role of the office, which includes driving reform through collaboration, providing data analysis, and creating public awareness to protect children. She clarified that the office provides oversight of the Child Protection System, not solely the child welfare system.
Ms. Villafuerte went over statistics related to the number of calls the office receives and recommendations made to state departments. She summarized the statutory charge of the office and described typical calls to the office. Ms. Villafuerte reviewed the assessment of the office's FY 2016-17 Performance Plan. She described the office's SMART Act goals which include infrastructure building, increased accessibility, outreach and education, and staff growth. Ms. Villafuerte discussed the office's budget request for the FY 2016-17, and noted that the office does not have a legislative agenda.
Ms. Villafuerte responded to questions regarding constituent concerns, demographics of the callers, and recommendations to state agencies. She noted that state agencies are receptive to the office's recommendations, and gave examples of recommendations. Ms. Villafuerte detailed the budget request for additional staff and salary adjustments. She responded to questions regarding outreach in rural locations, increase in calls to the office, and recommendations to the Judicial Department.
Ms. Villafuerte responded to questions regarding an advisory council and different types of callers.