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

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


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 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

Generous Girl Gives Some Sole

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Mesa County Department of Human Services received some helpful donations this week.
Averi Wagner turned eight this year and didn't ask for presents, but for shoes. Wagner received 20 pairs of shoes from her birthday party, all going toward Foster Care of Mesa County.
As a result other organizations became inspired to do the same.
“So our shoe drive will start on August 22 for [to] Be an Angel Day and runs through September and October. We will be collecting shoes for kids in foster care delivering them at the end of October and working with the girl scouts to do this,” said Janet Rowland, with Court Appointed Special Advocates.
“We have a bare necessities closet so when kids come into care they can actually come into our closet and shop for themselves [picking out supplies they need and want],” said Foster Care of Mesa County supervisor Joni Bedell.
Foster care officials say most people usually donate clothes and books but shoe donations are very low and are needed the most.
The foster care program helps children ranging from new born to the age of 18. To learn how to donate to the foster care program, call 970-248-2794. By: KREX TV Angelo Vargas.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Even a Minute is Too Long to Leave a Child in a Hot Car

The Mesa County Health, Human Services and Sheriff’s Department wants to remind everyone that it takes only a few short minutes for a child to perish in a hot car. 

The following are facts on child deaths from being left in cars, along with a trick to ensure you never leave a child unattended in the car. 

Check out the "Shoe trick" video below. 

USA TODAY Network compiled 10 facts about child deaths in cars caused by heat stroke.
1. An average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year in the USA since 1998.
2. Since 1998, 619 children have died in vehicles from heat stroke in the USA.
3. More than 70% of heat stroke deaths occur in children younger than age 2.
4. More than half of heat stroke deaths occur because a caregiver forgot the child in the car.
5. Roughly 30% of heat stroke deaths occur because the child got in the car without a caregiver knowing and couldn't get out.

7. Cars heat up quickly. A vehicle can heat up 20 degrees in 10 minutes.
8. Cracking the windows or not parking in direct sunlight does not make a car significantly cooler. Heat stroke deaths have occurred even when the vehicle was parked in shade.
9. A car can reach 110 degrees when temperatures are only in the 60s. Heat stroke can take place when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.
10. The body temperatures of children can increase three to five times faster than adults. Heat stroke begins when the body passes 104 degrees. Reaching an internal temperature of 107 degrees can be deadly.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On Demand Service in DHS Lobby

On May 20, 2014, the majority of the Department of Human Services's Eligibility teams implemented a new model of doing business to provide better customer service and to improve efficiency in the processes!  Eligibility staff and leadership have worked hard to design and implement what we call "On-Demand Service"

What does this mean?  When a client comes into our office between the hours of 7:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, they are now greeted at the reception window by an eligibility specialist.  Clients now have the option to have same day service for programs they are applying for, as well as get answers to questions or any issues that may arise in their circumstances.​ That means a client can walk in the door, be seen by a worker, and may be given the results of the visit the same day! 

Will clients have to wait? If not seen immediately, the wait time to see a worker for case/application processing may be anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours (due to the high demand).  Clients do not have to wait in the lobby.   They can ask to be contacted by phone with the results.  This may seem like a long wait, but under our previous process, clients waited weeks for their results, so this is a dramatic improvement. 

There are specific days and times our certain teams are not available due to team trainings or meetings. For example, every Wednesday afternoon the intake teams at the Community Services Building (CSB) and the Workforce Center (WFC) are closed to clients in order for our workers to receive crucial updates on system and rule changes, so that we may serve our clients as best we can.  If a certain eligibility team is unavailable for case processing, there will still be eligibility staff from other teams available at the window who can address basic questions and concerns.

Changes to phone numbers? Each team now also has one telephone number that clients may call, rather than calling individual workers, so we can better manage our call volume.  We ask that they leave a message with identifying information, such as a case number or complete social security number, a good telephone number, the best time to call, and permission for us to leave a detailed message. 

Blue Team- Food Assistance/MAGI Medicaid (970) 256-2434
Purple Team- Adult Eligibility (970) 683-2696
Green Team- CSB Intake (970) 683-2656
Pink Team- Colorado Works/TANF Intake (970) 256-2438
Gold Team- Colorado Works/TANF ongoing (970) 256- 2488

Please note these changes do not to apply to Long Term Care, LEAP, or CCCAP.  If you have any questions regarding these exciting new changes, please contact Michelle Trujillo at (970) 248-2736.

In Observance of Presidents Day, Mesa County Department of Human Services offices will be Closed

In observance of Presidents Day, all Mesa County Department of Human Services offices will be closed on Monday, February 17. All offic...