Thursday, April 27, 2017

Commissioners to Proclaim May NATIONAL FOSTER/KINSHIP PARENT APPRECIATION MONTH

The Mesa County Commissioners will proclaim May as National Foster/Kinship Parent Appreciation Month on Monday, May 1st at 9:00 am. The Proclamation will be signed at the old County Courthouse, 544 Rood, in the Public Hearing Room. Members of the media are invited to attend. DHS staff and a Foster Family (The McGinnetts) will be accepting the Proclamation and will be on hand for interviews immediately following the Proclamation.

In Mesa County, there are nearly 300 children and youth in foster care.  There are over 180 Foster and Kinship families, in Mesa County, who open their homes and hearts to children. These Foster/Kinship families and play a vital role in helping children and families heal and reconnect, thus launching children into successful adulthood. During the month of May, we take the opportunity to thank these heroes of our community for providing loving safe homes for children and families in crisis.


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. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Community to Recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month

Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) joins countless others across the nation to highlight the issues of child abuse & neglect during the month of April and the importance of everyone taking responsibility in preventing abuse and neglect in our community.

MCDHS hopes to raise awareness that effective child abuse prevention succeeds because of partnerships created among social service agencies, families, neighbors, schools, religious organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community.  Parents, families and community members can and must help reduce child abuse and neglect in Mesa County by promoting the benefits of seeking out groups, agencies and resources that can assist a parent in providing a loving, supportive and violence-free home.

Reporting: “If in doubt report it out” Mesa County Child Abuse or Neglect Hotline 970 242 1211;
Colorado Statewide Child Abuse or Neglect Hotline 1-844-CO-4-KIDS.

The Mesa County Human Services website has info for those resources

 “Everyone in our community should become involved in supporting families to provide a safe, nurturing environment for all children,” stated Tracey Garchar, Mesa County Department of Human Services Director.  “Child Abuse Prevention Month is an opportunity for us to recognize that we all play an important part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our community,” added Garchar.


Some events planned to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention month are:

Planting of Pinwheel Gardens in Mesa County in front of DHS & WFC Monday, April 3 at 1pm.

Major Mortgage Gives to the Bear Necessities Program

Major Mortgage choose Foster Care of Mesa County Bear Necessities Program to be their Community Outreach program. Major Mortgage collected items needed for children being removed from their homes in times of tragedy. A child may arrive in a foster home with little more than the clothes on their backs. Major Mortgage's Kevin Cordova has a special connection to this project. Having been a foster parent Kevin related to having a young child arrive at his home carrying just a pillowcase containing a few personal items. Having a real bag or backpack with new clean items can make a tremendous difference to child, facing a very stressful situation. 
Foster Care Team Avrielle Walker, Kevin Cordova Major Mtg. Jeff Sheley Foster Care Team, 
Kori McCoy & Julia Graddy Major Mortgage.  


Thanks, Major Morgage the big load up!


Colorado State Celebrates Mesa County Timeliness

The Economic Assistance Division of the Mesa County Department of Human Services was recognized by the Colorado Department of Human Services for being only one of 8 Counties achieving 95% or better on timely application processing. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March is National Social Worker Month

Mesa County celebrates and honors Social Workers in our community.



Mesa County Department of Human Services celebrates and honors Social Workers in our community.

National Social Worker month is celebrated each year during the month of March. National Professional Social Work Month is an opportunity to turn the spotlight on the profession of social work and highlight the important contributions they make to the community. 

At the Mesa County Department of Human Services we have some of the most dedicated, tenacious and talented social workers that care and protect children and the elderly.” says Child Welfare Division Director, Kari Daggett MSW.

Social workers stand up for millions of people every day. These include people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, our veterans, children, families and communities. Yet many people still misunderstand who social workers are and the invaluable contributions they bring to society.
The nation’s 650,000 social workers are champions for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. They comfort people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, ensuring the best possible care while on the road to recovery. Social workers support military personnel, veterans and their families, and people living with disabilities. Child, family and school social workers protect children who have been abused and neglected, helping children find new families through adoption, and ensure young people reach their full academic and personal potential. Additionally, social workers work in communities with national, state and local government to provide services, pass legislation to help people with the most needs. 


Friday, February 24, 2017

Statement in Regards to the loss of a Mesa County Foster Parent

The death of Foster Parent, Linda Smith is a very rare and tragic occurrence, we at the Mesa County Department of Human Services, regard Foster Parent safety with the utmost importance as they are one of our most valuable resources in attaining permanency for children in our system.  

The Mesa County Department of Human Services recognizes and appreciates Foster Parent’s unwavering support and the love they give to the children in their care.  The work that Foster Parents do on behalf of our community’s children is very important. The Mesa County Department of Human Services will continue to inform and support Foster Parents during the entire placement process.  If this situation has created concerns for current or potential Foster Parents, we encourage you to contact us. 




Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Western Colorado 211 Celebrates National 2-1-1 Day


On Saturday, February 11 (2-11) Western Colorado’s Information & Referral Service 2-1-1 observes “National 2-1-1 Day” in Mesa County.

2-1-1 is a free, confidential, easy-to-remember phone number that connects Western Colorado residents to essential, non-emergency community information and services. These services include: healthcare, rent and mortgage assistance, food and shelter, job training, transportation, childcare, senior care, veteran services and much more.

By dialing 2-1-1, callers are answered by live, highly-trained, Resource Navigators who will guide them through their situation by assessing their needs and then matching them to the best and closest resource in their community. With 2-1-1, individuals, families and practitioners can receive the help and guidance they need with one telephone call.



The first 2-1-1 in Colorado launched in 2003, and last year the five 2-1-1 contact centers across the state received 149,000 contacts through phone calls, in-person visits and emails and another 70,000 online database searches. During times of disaster, 2-1-1 also plays a critical role in emergency relief and recovery. In September 2013, Colorado 2-1-1 was activated to help communication efforts for the floods, and received 6,000 calls for information, assistance, and inquiries about how to volunteer or donate.

Western Colorado 2-1-1 covers the counties of Archuleta, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, La Plata, Lake, Hinsdale, Ouray, Mesa, Montezuma, Montrose, Pitkin, San Miguel, and San Juan and received more than 11,000 calls and assisted with over 6,000 referrals to services in 2016. Community members seeking assistance can also access information 24/7 through the 2-1-1Colorado online database or at www.wc211.org.

2-1-1 has a library of more than 14,000 resources statewide which consist of local, nonprofit, faith-based and public agencies. 2-1-1 has the most comprehensive database of resources in the state.


For more information about Colorado 2-1-1, visit: https://211colorado.communityos.org/cms/node/142.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Substance use while breastfeeding IS child abuse


Just because it is legal doesn’t mean it is okay for your baby


The Mesa County Department of Human Services Child Welfare and the Health Department want to remind new mothers that marijuana, narcotics, alcohol and tobacco use has an impact on breastfeeding babies. Substance use while breastfeeding is considered child abuse and can be reported.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that mothers who are breastfeeding their babies should not use marijuana. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the baby and the mother. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana gets into breast milk and will likely affect your baby.

According to Child Welfare Supervisor Lynette Overmeyer beside the direct, chemical effects of marijuana on a baby, use of marijuana may affect a mother’s ability to be able to properly care for her baby. Additionally, Overmeyer states, “In Child Welfare we consider a mother using marijuana and breastfeeding her baby as child abuse.”

Marijuana can cause lethargy in the baby, which can lead to slow weight gain and possibly slow overall development in the baby long term. The THC in the marijuana impacts the baby’s brain development.  In addition, babies whose mothers smoke marijuana or tobacco regularly have a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Karla Klemm, Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Manager, adds "Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, it doesn't mean it is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding."


Both agencies encourage mothers to seek help with breastfeeding through WIC with the Mesa County Health Department.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Human Services Welfare Fraud Case Sentenced

The Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) Fraud and Recovery Unit in combination with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office sent a case of suspected fraud to the Mesa County District Attorney’s office, totaling approximately $30,000 involving the following programs, Food Assistance, Medicaid, LEAP and the USDA School Lunch program. An additional, $1,412.07 in administrative costs is associated with the investigation for a total restitution of $30,931.68.  The fraud occurred from 8/1/13 through1 /31/16.  The fraud suspect, Miriah Verzani was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 5 years probation, she is required to pay full restitution and is disqualified from receiving Food Assistance benefits for 12 months. Verzani was sentenced on January 3, 2017.

Verzani intentionally forged rental lease agreements to remove her spouse who is also the father of her children, resulting in failing to report her spouse’s income.  Additionally, she forged lease agreements to inflate her obligated rent expense.  Further, Verzani added others to her lease who did not reside with her. All of these actions lead to Verzani receiving more public assistance than her household was eligible for.

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

“Our Fraud and Recovery team takes investigating false information on public assistance applications very seriously.”  said Tracey Garchar, Executive Director for the Mesa County Department of Human Services. “Ensuring benefits go to families who are truly eligible and in need is our utmost priority” added Garchar.

If you or someone you know suspects welfare fraud, please call the Mesa County Department of Human Services Welfare Fraud Hotline at (970) 256-2421.