Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Announcing: (CSBG) Community Service Block Grant Funding

Attention to those interested in the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) funding that Mesa County receives each year. The current award period (2012-2015) is coming to a close and the newly reconstituted Tripartite Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the Mesa County Board of Commissioners, is making plans for the 2015-2018 award period.
Based on an assessment of community needs and the urging of State and Federal level CSBG management teams to move to a long-term strategic focus; the Committee is focusing future CSBG resources on early childhood literacy. Community meetings will be held in March and April of 2015 to discuss ideas for innovative, collaborative proposals to significantly expand early literacy services to children and families who can benefit from them, with a focus on families living in poverty. Once the Committee and Board decide on an action plan for the use of the funds, applications will be solicited. This will likely occur in August of 2015.
Jennifer Shook
Tripartite Advisory Committee, Chair




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Found & Safe

Thank you for sharing the information about at-risk-adult, David Ramsey, Jr. He has been located out of state, and is safe.

Friday, December 5, 2014

ATTENTION: Missing Person-At-Risk Adult Male-

Mesa County- David Ramsey Jr. -27 years old, a white male walked away from his assisted living facility near 33 Road and Lombardy Lane.

 Ramsey has brown hair and is approximately 6'1" tall and 135 pounds. He is most likely wearing a Bronco jacket or Bronco shirt with jeans. David is an at-risk adult and takes medication. He has a gait disturbance and walks on the tips of his toes.  His teeth are noticeably discolored and decayed. He may be with an older gentleman in a wheelchair.


Since David is an at-risk adult and needs his medications, there is an immediate health and safety concern. Anyone with information about his location or sees him should call 911 or (970) 242-6707 immediately.  

Ramsey sports facial hair in this photo. Currently, he may be clean shaven.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November is National Adoption Month

Mesa County celebrates and honors adoptive families in our community.

Mesa County will observe National Adoption Day on Friday November 21 in Judge Robinson's Courtroom as several local families finalize their adoptions.
More than 101,000 children and youth in the U.S. foster care system are awaiting permanent, loving families.  National Adoption Month is an effort to raise awareness about the adoption of children from foster care and to honor those adoptive families who have opened their homes and hearts to become the lifelong families for these children.  While over 60% of children in foster care will return to their biological parents, the others will require an alternate permanency outcome if the Court determines they are unable to return home. 

In Mesa County, there are approximately 20 children each year who become available for adoption through the Mesa County Department of Human Services and are in need of a permanent and stable home.  These children are generally over age 7 and may have developmental, medical or other special needs.  They may be part of a sibling group or have ethnically diverse backgrounds.    

“Adoption is a very special process and we are so proud to be a part of helping children find permanent, loving families,” said Dena Neujahr, Placement Services Team Supervisor for the Mesa County Department of Human Services.    

The Mesa County Department of Human Services is dedicated to building collaborations among local agencies, courts and advocacy organizations to achieve permanence for children.  This effort offers children the chance to live with stable and loving families and encourage other dedicated individuals to make a powerful difference in the lives of children through adoption.


If you are interested in obtaining more information about services provided through the Mesa County Department of Human Services, please contact Dena Neujahr at 248-2818.   

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Audit Reaffirms Work Being Conducted as Part of “Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy”

Colorado’s Child Welfare system has improved over the last four years and is on the right path to keeping kids safe and families healthy.

The Legislative audit conducted by the Office of State Auditor from July 2013 through October 2014 and released today had several administrative findings, most of which have already been completed as part of the implementation of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2012 and 2013 child welfare plans, "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy."

"The Office of State Auditor’s report reaffirms the work already under way as part of the Governor’s child welfare plans," said Reggie Bicha, executive director, Colorado Department of Human Services.  "I am proud to say that we have already accomplished many of the findings in the audit, and we are seeing system improvements as a result."

Colorado’s state supervised/county administered system provides the best model to achieve the ongoing improvements from the Governor’s plans and the audit because counties have the clearest understanding of the needs of their local communities and available resources. The State places a high value on the partnership with counties and the joint ownership and accountability of the child welfare system.

Over the past four years, the State and counties together have implemented nearly every component of the Governor’s plans, including:
  • A common practice approach for Colorado through the use of RED Teams, which will be in use in every county beginning in January, and a pilot Differential Response program, which is demonstrating positive outcomes in eight counties;
  • Managing performance through the use of County Scorecards and C-Stat, which for nearly three years has used real-time data to drive positive outcomes;
  • In partnership with the Kempe Center, a complete redesign of the Child Welfare Training Academy to include a new curriculum based on the most current child protection research and data; regional training sites and online training opportunities; and continuing education and training for call takers/screeners, caseworkers, supervisors, senior work staff and foster parents;
  • Increased transparency through the Community Performance Center that provides online county-specific outcome data; and statewide C-Stat data published quarterly online;
  • The creation of the Child Welfare Executive Leadership Council which brings together community members, advocates, stakeholders, foster parents and county partners to advise the CDHS Executive Director on policy and practice across the system;
  • Legislation to increase transparency and expand the scope of the Child Fatality Review Team to include near fatalities and egregious incidents as part of county reporting and team review, and, in the case of fatalities, the ability to release the child’s name, date of birth and date of death.  Colorado is one of only two states in the nation to review and report on egregious incidents. 
  • A statewide hotline providing one number to report abuse and neglect across Colorado that will launch on time and on budget in January;
  • New prevention programs to help families before they become involved in the child welfare system – SafeCare Colorado, Community Response and expansion of Nurse Family Partnership;
  • New online training for mandatory reporters;
  • The use of mobile technology to enhance field work for caseworkers;
  • A caseload/workload study conducted by the Office of State Auditor which found that Colorado is currently understaffed by 30%.
"We recognize the vast amount of work that has been done over the last four years to improve our child protection system," added Bicha.  "The State Auditor’s report is affirmation of the work already being done since the inception of the Governor’s child welfare plans for Colorado.  We are on a journey of continuous improvement to ensure positive outcomes for children and families."

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mesa County Department of Human Services & Workforce Center Closed for Veterans Day

In honor of Veteran's Day the Mesa County Department of Human Services and Mesa County Workforce Center will be closed on Tuesday November 11, 2014. Normal business hours will resume on Wednesday November 12, 2014.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Colorado Department of Labor to Promote Veterans Services Via Social Media Throughout November


Daily postings will keep veterans apprised of opportunities and resources

November is “Hire A Veteran Month” in Colorado and during the next four weeks, the Department of Labor and Employment will be utilizing a targeted social media outreach effort to highlight services the agency makes available to veterans and employers.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has veteran employment specialists in workforce centers across Colorado connecting veterans with employment services including resume assistance, workshops, interviewing skills and more. During the next four weeks, veterans can turn to Facebook (www.facebook.com/coloradolabor) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/coloradolabor) to learn about jobs, find their nearest veteran employment specialist and engage with service providers.

Although at 7.0 percent, Colorado’s average unemployment rate for veterans (from October 2013 through September 2014) is down from what it was in years past, veterans unemployment is still well above the non-veteran population’s average unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.  More than half of the 231,100 veterans in Colorado’s labor force are veterans of Gulf Wars 1 and 2.

To target that demographic during “Hire A Veteran” Month, the Department of Labor and Employment will be launching an active social media campaign.  The Pew Research Internet Project cites 74% of online adults are using social networking sites and that percentage increases to 82% for people 30 - 49 years old.

This is the first time the Department of Labor and Employment has implemented a targeted outreach effort to Colorado’s veterans through social media.  “The Department of Veteran Affairs reports that the median age of Gulf War veterans is 37 years old, making social media the tool of choice for us in our outreach efforts,” explains Executive Director Ellen Golombek.   “Social media goes to where the young veterans are so that’s where we need to be in our outreach efforts.”

Every day during November, the Department of Labor and Employment will share veterans-specific content via its Facebook (www.facebook.com/coloradolabor) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/coloradolabor) channels including:
  • Daily “job of the day” posts
  • Veteran-specific events at workforce centers
  • How to connect with veterans employment specialists
  • Resources for re-joining the civilian workforce
  • Federal grants and services
  • Information on tax credits for employers who hire veterans 
In addition to Facebook and Twitter, veteran job seekers and employers interested in hiring them can also find information at www.hireacoloradovet.gov, a website created by the Department of Labor and Employment that links to services and resources including the state’s jobs database where veterans can search for jobs and where employers can post job openings.

“Helping veterans successfully maneuver the job search terrain is a key component of reintegration support and is a major part of Hire A Veteran Month,” Golombek says, “Social media has proven to be a great way to increase our outreach -- especially with younger generations who rely entirely on online resources for their job search.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

LEAP APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE

 Individuals and families needing assistance with their winter heat bill are encouraged to apply.


Mesa County, Co.— Mesa County residents can now pick up an application for the 2014-2015 LEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) season by stopping by the Mesa County Department of Human Services located at 510 29 ½ Road.  Applications will be taken through April 30th

LEAP is designed to help individuals and families with winter heating costs.  LEAP is not intended to pay the entire cost of home heating. 

“Something as seemingly simple as paying the heat bill can pose a significant challenge when income is limited or non-existent,” said Michelle Trujillo, Director of Economic Assistance with the Mesa County Department of Human Services.  "Fortunately, there are public assistance programs in place to help income-eligible families in need," added Trujillo.  Residents applying for LEAP benefits must meet eligibility requirements and income guidelines. 

Applications are accepted and processed through the Mesa County Department of Human Services.  The application period runs from November 1st through April 30th.  If applicants are financially eligible to receive LEAP benefits, the payment will be sent directly to the provider and will show up as a credit on the applicants’ heat bill.  LEAP benefits are the same regardless of when the application is processed. 

For additional information regarding LEAP benefits please contact Western Colorado 2-1-1 Resources and Referrals by simply dialing 2-1-1 or 244-8400.  We also encourage you to visit our website at www.humanservices.mesacounty.us



Monday, November 3, 2014

Governor Hickenlooper Declares November As "Hire A Veteran Month"

Online and face-to-face services to be showcased during the month

Governor John Hickenlooper has issued a proclamation declaring November as “Hire A Veteran Month” and during the next four weeks, the Department of Labor and Employment will be spotlighting the full spectrum of services the agency makes available to veterans.

Workshops and special hiring events will take place statewide (for a full list, see the events calendar at www.colorado.gov/cdle) and information and job connections will be available online at www.hireacoloradovet.gov, the veterans website run by the Department of Labor and Employment.  Veterans can use the website to tap into a jobs database or connect with service providers.  Employers can post jobs at the site and learn about tax credit incentives that are available.

Colorado’s average unemployment rate for veterans (from October 2013 to September 2014) is 7.0 percent, down significantly from earlier years. However, it is still well above the general population’s average unemployment rate of 4.3 percent for the same time period and young veterans of recent conflicts are generally encountering far greater difficulty in finding work than the rest of the population.

Helping veterans find meaningful work that matches their skills and interests is a key goal of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  During the last program year, the agency provided employment and training services to almost 43,000 veterans.  While many received services online, others opted to receive one-on-one assistance from more than 40 Veterans Employment Specialists at state and county run Workforce Centers across the state.

These Specialists – who are themselves veterans -- provide assistance to veterans in shortening the transition from the military to the civilian workplace, in acquiring skills and planning for the future.  Lee Tibbets is a Veteran Employment Specialist in Denver.  “Veterans have a priority of service in all Workforce Centers for any employment, training and placement services provided by qualified job training programs,” he says.  “I extend an open invitation to Colorado to Colorado veterans to use our online resources or stop in and see one of us.”

The Governor’s Proclamation notes in part that “veterans … have an ability to adapt and learn quickly and they bring the right mind-set, a good attitude, team spirit and personal attributes that all businesses are looking for.  The integration of these highly qualified veterans into the workforce will greatly benefit our State’s businesses.”  Full text of the proclamation is available upon request.

“Our veterans representatives are doing a great job of getting service men and women into good jobs -- and into the training that leads to good jobs,” says Department of Labor and Employment Executive Director Ellen Golombek, “and employers who hire veterans will tell you they have made a real investment in their business with each hire.  We are proud of our long-standing commitment to the men and women of the Armed Forces.  Our approach is veterans helping veterans.”
# # #

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Local nonprofits work to increase community involvement by launching “Get Connected”

Mesa County, CO – There’s a new community effort to connect volunteers with local agencies and nonprofits. The new website called “Get Connected” aims to help people find service organizations that need volunteers and donations. It also lets agencies promote their needs.
United Way of Mesa County has been collaborating with Western Colorado 2-1-1 on this project. The user-friendly site matches volunteers with opportunities that align with their interests and availability. Volunteer users can sign up to receive notifications right to their email when there are needs at their favorite organizations.
“We always have people asking us how they can get involved and that brings up a lot of questions. What are you interested in? What are your available hours? It’s just never been simple,” United Way of Mesa County’s Executive Director Julie Hinkson said. “With ‘Get Connected’ we’re excited to give them a place that will do that automatically.”
“It is a natural fit to have ‘Get Connected’ housed within the 2-1-1 website. 2-1-1 is the place to go to find community resources and now there is the added dimension of volunteer opportunities as well. Not only does ‘Get Connected’ link the community to volunteer opportunities, but it also assists agencies and organizations that may not be able to hire a full time person to manage volunteer recruitment,” Western Colorado 2-1-1’s Director Christie Higgins said.
On the agency side, users can create profiles that allow them to tell their stories and reach community members who are passionate about the service they provide. They can also list events such as fundraisers.
HomewardBound says it’s excited to potentially recruit volunteers through the site. “(It’s) another great way to get involved in our community as we continue encouraging a pathway home.”
 “Get Connected” will do more than just create matches among the service community and citizens; it hopes to foster relationships with consistent volunteers.
Diverse opportunities currently listed online include: Riverfront Trail System Patrol with Grand Junction Parks and Rec, Patient and Family Support at HopeWest, and Food Delivery Drivers at Gray Gourmet. More than 30 organizations currently have profiles.
Responding to needs is easy and can change a life. By getting people, nonprofits and businesses to work together, our area can be improved.
Click here to check out Get Connected: http://getconnected.wc211.org/.

Media Contact: Honora Swanson Bober, United Way of Mesa County
970-243-5364 or
honora@uwmesacounty.org

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Colorado Launches “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” Youth Marijuana Education Campaign

Colorado Launches “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” Youth Marijuana Education Campaign
Campaign aims to increase awareness among youth ages 12-15 of risks
associated with underage marijuana use
                                                                                                     
Grand Junction-Stocker Stadium– The State of Colorado, has launched a new public education campaign – “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” – targeting youth ages 12-15 with the goal of increasing their awareness of the risks associated with underage marijuana use.
The statewide campaign was funded primarily by grants from the State Attorney General’s Office and a handful of civic-minded organizations, including the Anschutz Foundation and the El Pomar Foundation. The campaign was 
developed by Denver-based Sukle Advertising & Design (Sukle) in conjunction with all of the partners and in consultation with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
The campaign uses the theme “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” to illustrate to kids that if they choose to use marijuana, they are consuming a substance that has effects on teens’ developing brains that are not yet fully understood, and that by doing so they essentially volunteer as the subjects of research about those effects.
“While much still needs to be learned about the effect marijuana has on the brain, enough information is available to cause concern in terms of the negative effects marijuana can have on the developing brains of teenagers,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, CDPHE’s executive director and chief medical officer. “The core premise of the ‘Don’t Be a Lab Rat’ campaign acknowledges that more research is necessary, but it also poses the question of whether or not teens should risk the potential negative effects of using marijuana.”

Specific components of the campaign include:
  • Experiential “Lab Rat Cage” installations in high-foot-traffic areas with messages communicating the potential damage marijuana has on a teen’s brain and the notion that Colorado’s youth are the test subjects for continued observation
  • A microsite (www.dontbealabrat.com) serving as a quick resource providing links
    to related articles and research and including easy share functionality to social
    media pages
  • Advertising in movie theaters
  • Installation of a “Lab Rat Cage,”
  • Commercials on YouTube targeted to Colorado teens

“From the most recent Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, we know that the percentage of high school kids who think using marijuana poses risks to their health has gone down, which has raised the concern of health experts who worry the normalization of marijuana in Colorado could lead more kids to try it,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “We have a civic and public health obligation to do everything we can to make our children aware that there are risks for teens when they use marijuana. This campaign is designed to grab the attention of teens and their parents, and provide them with the facts to have an informed discussion and make informed choices.”
“We want to ensure this new industry is making a safe contribution to our city, and that means educating our young people about the possible effects on their development,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “In the way that tobacco prevention campaigns have resulted in decreased use, our goal is to have a similar impact on teen marijuana use in Denver and across Colorado.”
In developing the campaign, Sukle conducted in-depth qualitative research with more than 100 people – youth and experts – across the state. This included 46 teens ranging in age from 12-20, and included a representative mix of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds. Sukle also conducted one-on-one interviews with treatment and youth prevention experts, and engaged in careful study of existing research on marijuana’s effects on the developing brain in consultation with CDPHE.

This research revealed that kids and teens are concerned about the possible harmful effects of marijuana on their brains, that they are responsive to facts and honest information about the risks of marijuana use, and that they prefer to have this information so they can be empowered to make informed decisions about marijuana. These findings became the basis for the theme and structure of the campaign. The 12-15 age group was targeted because they were found to be the most persuadable in terms of shaping their attitudes about marijuana. The goal is therefore to reach this age group with accurate information before they are introduced to marijuana by others.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

STATEMENT & Foster/Kinship Care Policy - White

The following is an official statement in regards to the ongoing investigation of Sydney Danielle White:

This is currently an open child welfare investigation. For that reason, until further notice the Mesa County Department of Human Services is unable to provide comment at the advice of the Mesa County District Attorney.

Any public information in regards to this incident is public information contained in the Arrest Affidavit on file with the Grand Junction Police Department.


Colorado State Rules for Certification for Foster Care and Kinship Waivers. Volume 7 Rules Regulating Kinship & Foster Care. 

Colorado State Department of Human Services 7.202.75 Assessment, Reporting, and Review of an Incident of Egregious Abuse or Neglect Against a Child, a Child Near Fatality, or a Child Fatality [Rev. eff. 3/2/13] 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Western Slope Caregivers & Respite Resource Fair

Respite for you=better care for your loved one


The Western Slope Caregiver & Respite Resource Fair will be held on Tuesday September 30, 2014 at the Mesa County Community Services Building 510 29 ½ Road, Grand Junction, Conference room 1060 from 4:00-7:00pm.

Statistics show most Americans will be informal caregivers at some point during their lives. During any given year, there are more than 44 million Americans (21% of the adult population) who provide unpaid care to an elderly or disabled person 18 years or older. In the United States informal caregivers provide 80 percent of the long-term care.

To help provide information on services and resources in Western Colorado, the Colorado Respite Coalition is hosting a Caregivers Resource Fair. This fair will offer resources for those caring for someone with special health needs of all ages. Whether you are a caregiver for a loved one or a healthcare agency, resources are available to lighten the load for those who serve children, youth or adults.


“People who take an active, problem-solving approach to caregiving issues are less likely to feel stressed than those who isolate themselves and never seek the resources available in Mesa County.” said Colleen Roahrig, Resource Fair Organizer “This Resource Fair will offer valuable tools to help family members, professionals and volunteers providing care to ailing individuals.” added Roahrig.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Western Slope Caregivers & Respite Resource Fair



Human Services Sends Welfare Fraud Case to DA for Prosecution

Mesa County, Co. — The Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) Fraud and Recovery Unit recently sent a suspected fraud case to the Mesa County District Attorney’s office totaling over $27,200. The suspected fraud occurred between September 2005 and April 2014.  Welfare Fraud investigators uncovered enough evidence to allege $19,509 in SNAP (aka Food Stamps), $2686 in Medicaid, $414 in LEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance), and $1263 in TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) benefits had been fraudulently obtained during that time period.  The total restitution also includes over $3300 in administrative costs related to the investigation. Case number 2014 CR 0991.

Intentionally defrauding public assistance programs consists of falsely reporting information on an application including household composition, household resources or household income. Punishment includes repayment of benefits issued and may result in a 1-year to lifetime ban from receiving public assistance benefits and/or criminal prosecution.

“Knowingly providing false information on a public assistance application in order to receive benefits is a crime and it is something we take very seriously,” said Tracey Garchar, Executive Director for the Mesa County Department of Human Services.  “These benefits are in place for people who are eligible and genuinely need them in order to help provide basic needs for their family,” added Garchar.

If you or someone you know suspects welfare fraud, please call the Mesa County Department of Human Services Welfare Fraud Hotline at 256-2421.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Domestic Violence Assistance Available in Colorado


Domestic violence does not discriminate – people from any geographic location, ethnicity, race, age group, socioeconomic status, education level, country of origin, sexual orientation, or gender can experience abuse.

Nearly 13 million people are physically abused, raped, or stalked by an intimate partner every year in the United States.

In  Colorado, the Domestic Violence programs respond to nearly 70,000 calls for assistance each year, and serve more than 25,000 survivors of domestic violence and their dependents annually.

Coloradans can call 1-800-799-7233 for domestic violence advice and counsel. Call-takers can all make referrals referrals for local victim services and shelter.

For more information, visit our website at http://www.colorado.gov/cdhs/dvp.

Monday, September 8, 2014

EVENTS FOR WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS TO HIGHLIGHT WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT MONTH

Mesa County Workforce Center to Hold Job Fair Boot Camp


Governor John Hickenlooper has declared September as Workforce Development Month in Colorado.

During the next few weeks, state and county run employment offices called Workforce Centers will partner with the Department of Labor and Employment to spotlight a variety of services and resources available to the state’s 2.7 million men and women in the state’s labor force and the 170,000 Colorado businesses that hire them.

Workforce Development Month began modestly in 2004 with a handful of events.  Today, ten years later, the annual series of events has grown to include a wide array of workshops, open houses, hiring events, employer seminars and online features.

For Workforce Development Month 2014, the Mesa County Workforce Center, in collaboration with the Western Colorado Human Resources Association and the Department of Labor and Employment’s Veterans Unit at the Mesa County Workforce Center is presenting the Job Fair Boot Camp on September 24.

During the day, four workshops will be led by Human Resource Professionals within the Mesa County community.  Each workshop will teach you:
  • Determining what you want your resume to convey;
  • Learning how to refine your resume to reflect appropriate skills and language;
  • Understanding what an employer wants to see; and
  • What you need to know about the application process from submission to interview to job offer.
Each session is 20 minutes with a 10 minute question & answer period.  The Job Fair Boot Camp will help prepare job seekers for the big Job Fest Job Fair on September 30.

A skilled workforce is a key to business performance and supporting Colorado’s competitive advantage and Workforce Development Month focuses Colorado on building that workforce.  In his proclamation, Governor Hickenlooper notes that “breaking down the barriers that keep people from following their dreams and reaching their goals is critically important if Colorado is to remain economically robust and globally competitive.”  Workforce Development Month is a time to begin focusing on those dreams.

Other Mesa County Workforce Development Events in September 
-Customer Appreciation Hot Dog Day Sept 10th
-Anti-discrimination Workshop September 16th 7:30 to 9:30
-Governor's Summer Job Hunt Celebration Lunch Sept 16th 11:30am
-Job Fair Boot Camp Sept 24th 2-4pm, workshops designed to  prepared job seekers for the job fair
-Jobfest Job fair Sept 30th 8-9 exclusive to vets, 9 to 2 open to all

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Local Ombudsman Nominated for National Honor

Grand Junction Ombudsman Marilyn Richardson has been nominated for the Howard Hinds Memorial Award through the National Consumer Voice for Long Term Care. The Hinds Award was established in 2005 in memory of the late Howard Hinds, a Tennessee District Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO). Howard was a true champion for residents and for the ombudsman program; as well as a passionate advocate on national issues. The award honors an individual who has effectively advocated for long-term consumers on the local level.

 Marilyn was nominated by Eva Veitch, Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Region 10, Community Services Living Director, in her nomination Veitch said, Marilyn has been a “leader in the field of advocacy and a role model for many Ombudsman” Marilyn is highly respected in the long term care, health care and legal community. Her tireless efforts have resulted in much positive change on behalf of those she serves. It has been my pleasure to work with Marilyn as a facility representative and more recently as a fellow Ombudsman. She is the best of the best.”

The Leadership Awards Selection Committee will review nominations during August and will notify the award recipients soon.


The awards will be presented during the 38th Annual Consumer Voice Conference in Arlington, VA (November 15-18, 2014). For additional information regarding the conference, please visit the Consumer Voice website http://theconsumervoice.org/misc/2014-annual-conference.

Further Contacts for this information are:

 Eva Vetch, Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Region 10, Community Services Living/Area Agency on Aging Director and also the Lead Ombudsman in Region 10, covering Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Ouray, San Miguel counties.  eveitch@region10.net  Office:  (970) 249-2436 ext 207.

Dave Norman Director Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Region 11 covering Mesa, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Garfield Counties, Office: (970) 248 2717

Marilyn Richardson Long Term Care Ombudsman Region 11, Title III Senior Legal Advocate for Mesa County @ Colorado Legal Service Grand Jct., Office: 243-7940 ext 5, Cell: 250-8393.

Councils on Aging Legislative Round-


Four Colorado Regions to Meet in Grand Junction

Mesa County, Co. – Region 11 Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is hosting a Legislative Round-Up for residents across Western Colorado who work with the Elder population and are interested in what transpired during the 2014 Legislative Session and what might coming as new bills during the 2015 Legislative Session.  The Legislative Round-up will be held on Monday, September 8, 2014, at the Mesa County Workforce Center, 512 29 ½ Road, GJ. Registration is required, dial 2-1-1 or (970) 244-8400.


Meeting Agenda
10:00am-10:15am         Opening remarks and introductions
10:15am-11:15am         Baby Boomers, Long Term Care & other Challenges-
                                    Rob Sermro, Bell Policy Center
11:15am-11:45am         Colorado Commission on Aging-Ruth Long
12:00pm-1:30pm           Luncheon Buffet-Luncheon Topic: 2015 Legislative session,      
Featured guests: Area Legislative Representatives        and Senators
1:30pm-2:30pm              Richard J “Rich” Mauro Jt., Senior Policy & Legislative                                                             Analyst; Denver Regional Council of Governments
                                    Kelly Fritts, AARP, Associate State Director of Advocacy

###

 Eva Vetch, Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Region 10, Community Services Living/Area Agency on Aging Director and also the Lead Ombudsman in Region 10, covering Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Ouray, San Miguel counties.  eveitch@region10.net  Office:  (970) 249-2436 ext 207.

Dave Norman Director Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Region 11 covering Mesa, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Garfield Counties, Office: (970) 248 2717


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Forty Years & Going Strong!

Dave Norman 
 Dave Norman a staff member from the Mesa County Department of Human Services was honored on August 19 by the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado AGNC for his 40 years of service to the Area Office on Aging. Dave began with AAA at the programs inception in 1974.  


AAA's were established under the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1973 to respond to the needs of Americans aged 60 and over in every local community. The AAA plans, coordinates and offers services that help older adults remain in their home, if that is their preference, aided by services such as Meals-on-Wheels, homemaker assistance and other programs needed to make independent living a viable option. By making a range of options available through contracts with both public and private groups, the AAA makes it possible for older individuals to choose the services and living arrangement that suit them best. In some cases local contractors are not available and the AAA may act as the service provider. 
CONGRATULATIONS DAVE!

Monday, July 28, 2014

August is Colorado Child Support Awareness Month

Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) collects over $1 million dollars in child support each month.  This money goes directly to support children in our community both emotionally and financially whether it’s ensuring basic needs are met such as food, clothing and shelter or providing financial support for participation in school activities or medical/dental care.  The child support system is critical for building a better future for our young ones.

The mission of the Colorado Child Support Enforcement Program is to assure all children receive financial and medical support from each parent.  This is accomplished by locating each parent, establishing paternity and support obligations, and enforcing those obligations.   The Child Support Enforcement Program puts children first by helping both parents assume responsibility for the economic and social well-being as well as the health and stability of their children. 

The Mesa County Department of Human Services is committed to promoting the health and well-being of all children by ensuring that non-custodial parents pay child support on a regular and timely basis as agreed between the parents or ordered by the courts.

“Children rely on both parents for the financial and medical support they need to be healthy and successful,” said Michelle Trujillo, Director of the Economic Assistance Division at the Mesa County Department of Human Services.  “Child Support provides the security for children that they deserve, which is even more significant during this time of recession and rising health care costs,” added Trujillo.

The Mesa County Department of Human Services Child Support Team currently oversees a caseload of over 6700 cases.  For more information on Child Support services administered through MCDHS please call 248-2780 or visit www.humanservices.mesacounty.us

Striking a Balance-The 14th Annual Caregivers Conference

Striking A Balance
The 14th Annual Caregiver’s Toolbox Conference will be held on Wednesday, August 20th from 8:30am – 3:00pm at the Mesa County Workforce Center (512 29 ½ Rd GJ).  The registration fee is just $5 and includes lunch, all sessions and materials.

The Conference theme is "Striking a Balance".

This year’s conference will feature dynamic expert speakers covering topics on: Advance Care Planning, Mental Health 101, Caregivers Connections and much more.

Professor Sara Qualls
The featured keynote speaker Professor Sara Qualls will present on “Caregiving & How It Effects the Caregiver & Family Structure”.

“We are very excited to offer this important conference again this year,” said Dave Norman, Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Colorado.  “This is a tremendous value for attendees as we have several educational sessions and high caliber presenters to help family members, professionals and volunteers at Striking a Balance in caregiving,” added Norman.

Space is limited to the first 150 registrants. To register, please call Western Colorado 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or 244-8400. 



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to School Donation Drive for Foster Care Kids through the Bear Necessites

School is gearing up and the foster children need your/our help!  This year the Mesa County Community Services Building's Fun Bunch is sponsoring a back to school drive to help our foster children with schooling supplies.

Starting 7/18/14 and ending 7/25/14, bring in any school supply item/s to help out these children.  Please bring school supplies to the following individuals who will in turn collect and give them to Joni Bedell of Foster Care of Mesa County will get the school supplies to the children in need through the Bear Necessities Closet:

Veronika Howard/Josh Kennedy/Candice Logsdon--DHS 1st floor
Shane Chatfield--Health Department
Amy Joy--Workforce Center

Below is a link with needed school supplies for the different schools (copy and paste into your browser):

Thursday, July 10, 2014

COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO HOLD ONLINE HIRING EVENT


Virtual Job Fair offers statewide job opportunities with CDOT
The Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Department of Labor and Employment are teaming up to host a “virtual” job fair during the month of August.  This month-long, around-the-clock event will be used to fill CDOT job openings across Colorado and will utilize the Department of Labor and Employment’s virtual job fair platform.

Running from August 1 through August 31, job seekers need to simply log in or register at www.connectingcolorado.com to gain entry.  Once inside the virtual event, they can peruse a wide variety of career opportunies being offered, visit regional chat rooms to get questions answered and learn about the Department of Transporation.  Participants will also be able to attend workshops to help them write a strong résumé and build their job seeking and interviewing skills.

“We’re excited to be able to provide a great employer like CDOT with this virtual job fair,” says Department of Labor and Employment Executive Director Ellen Golombek.  “They offer vital and interesting work, excellent benefits, competitive salaries and career growth opportunities.”

And because the job opportunities cover a wide geographic region, an online or “virtual” hiring event is the best way to go, she says.  “Job seekers can visit this virtual fair from any location with a web connection and at any time.”

The Department of Labor and Employment and its network of Workforce Centers offer a range of services to job seekers and Colorado employers, all at no charge.  For job seekers interested in learning more about this virtual job fair or for employers interested in having a similar event staged to meet their staffing needs, contact your nearest Workforce Center.  A full listing is available at www.colorado.gov/cdle/wfc.