Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Over 700 Books Being Donated to Foster Children in Mesa County

A local Mesa County resident makes reading a mission! Shelly Williams is donating over 700 new books to foster children in Mesa County. Mrs. Williams home schools her children and believes that books are integral to a child’s learning experience. She has stocked her children’s bookshelves with books and each year she then donates books to others in the community.

Williams will be donating the books on Monday, December 19, 2016, at the Mesa County Workforce Center room D from 10:00am-2:00 pm.

A book is such a wonderful gift for a child, especially during the holidays,” said Placement Supervisor, Sarah St. Martin. “We are so pleased Shelly has chosen to share this generous gift with children in foster care.” she St. Martin.

Foster children in the care of Ariel Clinical Services, Whimspire Child Placement and Foster Care of Mesa County will bring children to pick out books at the Workforce Center on Monday.

More Foster/kinship families are needed to provide stability and love to children of all ages in Mesa County.  If you are interested in becoming a Foster Parent contact Foster Care of Mesa County at 970 683 2607. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Study Reveals: Rising Costs Associated with Elder Care to Impact Colorado

Colorado is the one of the first states in the Country to create a strategic plan for the aging population.

Colorado’s population over 55 will have a massive impact on nearly every Coloradoan over the next 14 years, according to a new report from the Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging.  The group and the study are a result of House Bill 15-1033. The group was commissioned by state lawmakers to research the economic impacts on citizens and state, local budgets. The report also examines transportation planning, workforce training and improving consumer protections for seniors.

Dave Norman Director of the Area Office on Aging AAA serves on the Strategic Action Group. Norman states, “The Group’s recommendations are for open coordinated and collaborative services for the State’s aging population.  This is not a top-down approach, rather solutions from the bottom up to address and provided critical services for one of the largest populations in the State.”

The group’s report was released on Tuesday morning and warns that if action is not taken to prepare there will be huge impacts on the state budget. Health care for the State’s aging population will continue to outpace the projected revenue growth.

A prevailing recommendation of the Group would be the creation of a new high-level position in the executive branch of the state government.  Norman compares the position to a “Czar on Aging for the State of Colorado.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Foster Care of Mesa County PRM Team Plays Santa

Foster Care of Mesa County held their annual stocking stuff day. The Foster Care Permanency Team spent the afternoon stuffing goodies into over 120 handmade Christmas Stockings for local Foster Care Children. Supervisor Laura Kinson says, "This is a labor of love for the team and it is one of the team's favorite projects during the year." The stockings will be handed out to children next week. 
If you would like more information on becoming a Foster Parent in Mesa County call 970 248 2794 
2016 Stocking Stuffing
Boxes and Piles of Handmade Stockings 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Colorado State Dept. of Human Services Hosting Post Permanency Roundtable in Mesa County

The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has been hosting Post Permanency Roundtable discussion throughout Colorado and will continue that conversation in both Montrose and Mesa County next week.  

The Mesa County Roundtable discussion will be held-
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Mesa County Workforce Center
512 29 ½ Road, Grand Junction
Conference Room B

The discussion will involve families who have been reunified, adopted or have guardianship of children/youth in their care and the (MCDHS) Mesa County Department of Human Services Post Adoption Team, community partners such as Hilltop, Ariel Clinical Services,and the Griffith Center.  The mission of this roundtable discussion is to explore issues impacting families post adoption and how community organization, MCDHS and CDHS can help support and solve these issues with their Counties.

The agenda will include Sue Badeau, facilitator with CDHS sharing perspectives on permanency and post-permanency for families, followed by discussion panels made of professional and families sharing their experiences.

According to MCDHS Supervisor, Hannah Webster, “This dialogue is about maintaining children in their homes with the least disruptions possible and supporting families.” Webster added, “After these statewide meetings CDHS will be compiling their findings and will be offering funding to assist communities to better achieve and maintain permanency within families.”

The Mesa County Department of Human Services is dedicated to building collaborations among local agencies and advocacy organizations to achieve permanency for children

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Child Abuse & Neglect Forum

A large crowd of community members and concerned citizens attend the Child Abuse & Neglect forum at the Mesa County Workforce Center. Participants heard about the challenges that impact abuse and neglect and solutions to help prevent it in the future. If you suspect child abuse or neglect call the Child Abuse Hotline at 970 242 1211. If you are looking for parent resources to help a stressed family dial 211. Other suggested solutions become a foster parent by calling 970 248 2794, become a CASA by calling 970 242 4191  or be a mentor through Partners call  970 245 5555.

The Group Continues to Grow
Kari Daggett Child Welfare Director & Janet Rowland CASA Director

Sheriff Matt Lewis addresses the group

Jay Seaton from the Sentinel hosts and moderates the discussion 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November is National Adoption Month

Mesa County will observe National Adoption Day with a Proclamation during the Mesa County Public Hearing on Monday,November 14 at 9am and on Friday, November 18 in Judge Robinson's Courtroom as seven 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.

Adoptions will begin at 9:30am and continue every 30 minutes through 1:00pm on November 18. A reception for, past and present adoptive families will be held in Courthouse Jury Room from 3pm-5pm after the final adoption has been finalized.

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. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

IMPORTANT NOTICE! Prohibited Use Locations for EBT Cards

There are some locations where people are prohibited from using their EBT cards.  When they do use their cards at a prohibited location, it creates a lot of work for us, because there are required actions we have to take. 

Federal and State law require the state department to enforce the prohibition of customers accessing benefits at an automated teller machine (ATM) or Point of Sale (POS) machine located in an establishment in which a customer is prohibited from accessing cash benefits.

These locations include:
* Locations licensed to sell malt, vinous, or spirited liquors, including liquor stores, brew pubs, and bars.  This includes convenience stores/gas stations and restaurants that sell full strength alcohol. 
*  Gambling establishments such as casinos, race tracks, and bingo halls.  This includes businesses geared toward children. 
* Adult oriented entertainment including adult video stores, strip clubs and peep shows.

* Stores in which the principle business is the sale of firearms.  

Area Agency on Aging & ADRC to host 16th Annual Caregiver’s Conference

The 16th Annual Caregiver’s Conference will be held on Thursday, November 11th from 8:30am – 3:30pm at the Mesa County Workforce Center (512 29 ½ Rd GJ).  The registration fee is just $5 and includes lunch, keynote speaker and materials.

The featured keynote speaker Lori Ramos LeMasters’ will present “The Write Tool at the Right Time.”  Her presentation features using the "write" tool at the right time. She will be conducting an interactive presentation on journaling (writing) to prevent burn out for care givers. LeMasters utilizes journaling to help caregivers create a self-care plan, as well as other tools and tips to help prevent burnout. LeMasters’ is the founder of Care Partners Resource

 “We are very excited to offer this important conference for the 16th year,” said Dave Norman, Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Colorado.  “This is a tremendous value, for a $5 registration fee.  Attendees will have access to vendors, lunch and a very interesting keynote speaker.” 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. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Child Welfare Hotline Supervisor and her Team Garner State Recognition

Child Welfare Hotline Supervisor and her team are recognized for their outstanding work in Mesa County. 

Too often we do not take the time to recognize the “Great Job” that people do.  I wanted to
take this opportunity to point out a person on your staff whose work ethic, professionalism and dedication is far above other Child Welfare Supervisors we work with on a daily basis.  Jacque Berry’s exemplary performance is not just a beacon of light on a hill, but a true “Light House” who stands above others, brings light and positive energy to every occasion, and has a rock solid foundation of experience and knowledge that she shares.  She continually strives for perfection regarding the operation of the Hotline in Mesa County, but does so in a very constructive and positive manner.  Just one of the most amazing accomplishments that we really admire is her management of the Pending Queue.  In fact, Mesa County is #1 in the state.  When you consider high call volume in Mesa County that is an amazing accomplishment.   We will be featuring her accomplishment in the next Hotline Newsletter as a Hotline Spotlight recipient.  Thank you for helping keep the children of Colorado safer.  
Jack Hilbert
Colorado State Hotline System Manager

Thursday, September 22, 2016



The Blue Eligibility Team in our Economic Assistance Division is asking for your help !!

DHS is looking for donations of any gently used/new children's books for any age child for a project that we are working on to benefit children.

Boxes will be placed in the Community Services Building and the Workforce Center.

The deadline is Friday, October 28th.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mesa County Workforce Center Highlights Being A Work Ready Community

During September the Mesa County Workforce Center is highlighting their efforts to make Mesa County a Work Ready Community (WRC)

Since becoming a WRC Mesa County is finding and filling skill gaps and quantifying the skill level of the valley’s workforce. The Mesa County Workforce Center is achieving this through the use of the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) which offers to:
  • Help employers attract only qualified applicants for their open positions
  • Reduce the cost of onboarding new employees, while reducing turnover
  • Create career pathways to help inform students of growing industries
  • Identify Mesa County’s skilled labor force and market that to new potential employers
  • Help shrink Mesa County’s skills gaps
  • Allows Mesa County job seekers the ability to use the NCRC as a stackable credential in most industries
Being a Work Ready Community makes Mesa County even more attractive to businesses looking to relocate. Having an available, trained and ready workforce demonstrates that Mesa County is taking economic development seriously.” states Commissioner Scott McInnis.

The Mesa County Workforce Center has been preparing the business community through job profiling, which links job tasks with the NCRC by pinpointing benchmarks for hiring, recruiting, advancement, and training. Once the profile is completed, it is owned by the employer and is legally backed by ACT, a huge benefit for businesses when dealing with future hiring requirements.  

According to Mesa County Workforce Director, John Flanagan, “The Work Ready Communities program has been implemented in other states.  Mesa County has been the first to launch the program in Colorado, Flanagan says. “Mesa County is definitely the leader in this effort.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Statement In Regards to Angel Place Lawsuit

Statement via-Tracey Garchar, Executive Director of the Mesa County Department of Human Services. 
"Our sympathies go out to this family and all families who have lost a child due to abuse and neglect. We take all incidents of child abuse and neglect very seriously. Due to pending litigation we are unable to provide any specific response in regards to the Angel Place lawsuit."

Any further inquires on this matter need to be directed to the Mesa County Attorney's Office. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mesa County Workforce Center Celebrates Workforce Development Month

The National Association of Workforce Development Professionals has designated September as National Workforce Development Month to honor all those individual professionals who play a vital role in local economic recovery efforts.
The Mesa County Workforce Center is hosting several activities to recognize National Workforce Development Month during September.

Commissioner, John Justman states, “The Mesa County Board of Commissioners is proud to support National Workforce Development Month. Economic development and growth in Mesa County is our priority. The Mesa County Workforce Center is a vital component of the success of our economic development efforts. We encourage local employers and job seekers to take full advantage of all the quality services being offered this month and every month at the Mesa County Workforce Center.”

Events Planned for September:
New Workforce Center Website launched at
Job Fair Sept 27th -9:00-9:30am Exclusive to Veterans - 9:30am-2:00pm Everyone
Business Breakfast— Sept 28th 7:30-9am
Workforce Center Magazine Launch-Late September

“The Mesa County Workforce Center is a “One-Stop Shop” designed to efficiently serve the needs of businesses and job seekers in an effort to promote economic development and vitality. Our no-cost services, which include assessments, workshops, recruitment assistance, business services and much more, continue to propel our community into the future with education, training and resources invaluable in making our community prosperous and globally competitive.” according to the Mesa County Workforce Director, John Flanagan.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

No LEAP Applications Processed Locally

LEAP PROGRAM 2016-2017


The Mesa County Low-income Energy Assistance Program is now administered by Discover Goodwill of Southern & Western Colorado.  This notice is to inform LEAP applicants of new procedures in submitting your LEAP application for the 2016-2017 season 

LEAP is a mail-in program only!

DO NOT submit your LEAP application to the Mesa County DHS  
as this will delay the processing of your application.

How do I return my LEAP application?

- Return your completed application in the addressed and stamped envelope provided; or
- Fax your application to 719-633-9098
- Mail to:  LEAP
        P.O. Box 39200
       Colorado Springs, CO 80949
- Email to:

What can I do to help with the prompt processing of my LEAP application?

Please make sure that you ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS on the application and provide all requested documentation/verification with your completed application. Make sure that you read, complete, SIGN and DATE where required.  Failure to provide a complete application and submit required verification will delay the processing timeframe.

Continue paying your heat bill, as LEAP assistance will not pay your entire bill!

Processing your LEAP application takes time, so you must keep your account current by making a payment towards your heat bill on time to avoid disruption of service.  If you receive a shut-off notice or have had your heating service disconnected, please contact our call center at 1-888-775-LEAP (1-888-775-5327).  The Call center will open on November 1st, 2016

Please call 1-866-HEAT HELP (1-866-432-8435) to inquire about the status of your LEAP application and if you have any questions regarding LEAP.   You may also visit the Colorado Department of Human Services’ website at    

Community Grants Application

Attention organization serving low income families. Community grants are being offered to organizations with a plan to develop employment, self sufficiency and strengthening families in Mesa County. The application is due September 30 with an informal informational meeting being held on September 6, 2016. 

Important points: 
$200,000 available for community programs (competitive grant)
One time funding for calendar year 2017
Available to programs that serve low-income families
Emphasis on employment, self-sufficiency, and strengthening families
Informational Meeting on September 6, 2016
Applications due September 30, 2016
Application can be found under Colorado Works in the Quick Links section at:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mesa County Workforce Center Launches a New Website

The Mesa County Workforce Center is pleased to announce the launch of its a new and improved website new website has a clean uncluttered design, improved functionality and enhanced rich content focused on the Workforce Center’s mission to provide the job seeker and the business employer a quality experience. The new sleeker look offers the job seeker and the business community a more pleasant and intuitive experience.

The new site is divided into five main sections: Home, About, Job Seekers, Business and Services. The website is shifted to a client-centric layout and can be easily navigated. Listed under the Business link employers can find how to List a Job, Lay Off Assistance, info for On the Job Training, Work Ready Communities and Work Experience Internships. The Job Seeker link offers extensive links such as the Career Coach  Job Search Professional Services, Youth Career Exploration., The Services section provides detailed descriptions of the Workforce Center Services such as Veterans Services, Young Adults, and GED prep. There are dedicated a links to Labor Market  trends, Community Links and Trainings & Events. In Training and Events there are calendars with upcoming events including tradeshows, seminars and workshops, with links to register for these workshops online. Also included on the website is the See What We Do video, News Blog and client testimonials. The site even translates into Spanish.

 “We are excited about our new website launch and the robust information it provides for customers, business partners and the media to better understand the Workforce Centers services" said Curtis Englehart, Workforce Center Manager.  "We believe that this new site will allow our visitors to have a very informative experience. We have plans to further expand the websites features to better serve our community.”

The new Mesa County Workforce Center website was designed and built by local web designer Melinda McCaw Media.

Colorado Senior Lobby’s 2016 Summer Social

The Colorado Senior Lobby will be hosting a Legislative Summer Social at the Mesa County Workforce Center on August 20th from 8:30-Noon.   This event will offer Seniors information on upcoming ballot issues and access to local and state legislators. All ages are welcome to attend. The event is free.

2016 Summer Social and Business Meeting
When: Saturday, August 20, 2016 – 8:30AM – Noon
Where: Mesa County Workforce Center – Center D
Address: 512 29 1/2 RD, Grand Junction

Program is scheduled as follows:
8:30AM to 9:30AM - Socializing & Refreshments

9:30AM to 11:00AM – Live Streamed Panel with Colorado Legislators will offer what they have done to help the aging population and the challenges they see ahead. Interactive discussion will occur to provide feedback from the attendees on what they see as challenges and need help with.

11:00AM to 11:30AM - CSL Serving our Seniors Award Winners
We will be honoring 6 legislators: Senators Kefalas & Martinez Humenik and Representatives Coram, Danielson, Ginal and Landgraf. We will also present a lifetime achievement award to Senator Pat Steadman.

11:30AM to Noon - Review of the Colorado Senior Lobby’s Senior Survey, audience Q&A and discussion of senior issues.

Note that the Colorado Senior Lobby business meeting will be from Noon to 12:30PM – everyone is welcome to stay!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DHS/WFC Achieve the Wildly Important!

The Mesa County Department of Human Services and Workforce Center are proud to announce they have achieved their wildly important goal for 2015-2016.

On Friday July 15, 2015, the organization officially announced and celebrated their success.

One of 40 scoreboards around DHS/WFC
During the Spring of 2015 each of the 5 divisions choose one overall goal to be achieved by  June 30, 2016. 
That goal was to reduce the proportion of complex cases in Child Welfare, Adult Services and TANF from 14.3% to 10.2% by June 30, 2016. 

The Agency achieved that 10.2% and bettered it by reducing complex cases to 7.9%.

To achieve this goal each division, team and unit created goals, lead measures, made weekly commitments and were accountable to their own goals to help reduce the overall Agency goal.

A total of 40 teams contributed to the 6.4% reduction of complex cases being handled within the Agency. That translates into people figures as the following:

153    Children who had been in foster care in excess of 425 days are now in permanent placement!
501     People gained employment!
102     Most vulnerable and at-risk adults were helped to reach a higher quality of life!

“This is an extraordinary achievement and I am extremely proud of our staff, said Tracey Garchar, Executive Director of the Department of Human Services & Workforce Center. These folks have taken this challenge to heart and put their best work effort forward to achieve our goal.

The Agency adopted the Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) by Franklin Covey late in 2014 and plans to continue the use of the tool for the remainder of 2016-17- and beyond.

The new 2016-17 goal is to further reduce complex cases to below t
Staff listen to the success stories during Friday's announcement
he current 7.9%.

Garchar further explains the 4DX tool “as shooting for the moon. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy shook-up NASA with the announcement “land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth before this decade is out.” From that moment NASA had a goal to get to the moon and back by December 31, 1969. Everyone from the engineers to the night janitor knew the goal and made the connection of how their job contributed to achieving that goal.  
Since using that model and the 4DX system we see and foster the same connection within our staff. Whether the staff member is directly helping clients or assisting behind the scenes they have a connection to the overall goal of the entire agency. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mandatory Reporting 101-

As of July 1st o f this year, reporting adults with development disabilities who are being abused will be mandated by Colorado State Law. Senate Bill 15-109 was passed last year and is being implemented statewide. Coloradans will need to know who is a mandatory reporter and how to report suspected abuse. Mesa County Department of Human Services Adult Protection Department is offering this training on mandatory reporting of abuse, neglect and exploitation on developmentally disabled adults.  The training will answer questions about the new law and provide information on the following:

·         What is mandatory reporting?
·         Who is required to report?
·         What situations must be reported and to whom?
·         How to make a report to Adult Protection Services (APS) and Law Enforcement?

This training will be provided at no cost to organizations such as- Medical personnel, long term care facility personnel, mental health professionals, social workers, law enforcement personnel, court appointed guardians and conservators, fire protection personnel, pharmacists, dentists, bank personnel, home health providers and affiliated parties, emergency medical service providers, physical therapists, clergy and chiropractors...the list goes on……


Mesa County Department of Human Services Announces New Child Welfare Division Director

Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) proudly announces Kari Daggett,
MSW as the new head of the Mesa County Department of Human Services-Child Welfare Division.  The selection was made after an intensive national search and selection process.

“Kari brings 17  years of expertise and experience as a case manager, supervisor, and most recently Child Welfare Division Manager,” says Tracey Garchar, Executive Director of the Department of Human Services. “Kari brings excellent leadership and vision to our Child Welfare Division and a deep sense of commitment to the children and families in Mesa County.  She has served our community in many different capacities and leadership levels, and has great perspective and experience.”

In her new leadership position Daggett will be responsible for leading 80+ child welfare professionals. She will be tasked with maintaining and further growing community partnerships, setting the vision and strategies for keeping children safe in Mesa County.  She will continue to strengthen efforts to work with kin and extended family as safe alternatives to foster care placements, whenever appropriate.

“My vision for Child Welfare is to continue to support and lead our cohesive and high performing team of trusted professionals, who value collaboration with our families and community partners to ensure children are safe and achieve timely permanency, “comments Daggett. Understanding the numerous facets of child welfare and its decision making processes is difficult, and at times confusing and frustrating. I plan to work with our community partners and leaders to forge a stronger and deeper level of understanding and commitment to addressing the issues that lead to abuse and neglect. Our Division and Department goal is to become not only a reactive system, but a proactive system that protects our most precious resource our children.”

Daggett has been with MCDHS since July 1999 she has progressively earned increased leadership roles with the Department of Human Services. She values community partnerships having served on the Court Best Practice Team for the 21st Judicial District.  In 2009, she received the “Excellence in Practice” award from the Colorado State Department of Human Services. Daggett earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Western State College and her Masters of Social Work Degree from Colorado State University.  

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...