Friday, December 15, 2017

What you need to know about effective dates and the Connect for Health Colorado attestation process this year

Did you apply for Health Care coverage through Connect For Health Colorado on or before midnight December 15, 2017, but have not yet enrolled in a Marketplace plan for 2018 coverage?  For those enrollments completed after midnight December 15, 2017, the effective date for coverage plans will default to February 1, 2018.

BUT, in limited circumstances, you may request to be considered for a January 1, 2018 coverage effective date once you are able to enroll.  Requests will be considered only for the following circumstances:
* Customer lost coverage and qualifies for a special enrollment period.
* Customer’s 2017 health plan is no longer offered.
* Agent or employee error.
* System outage or system error.
* A declared natural disaster.
* A delayed eligibility determination (when your application was submitted before midnight December 15).
* Marriage within the last 60 days.

If you need assistance with the attestation process to be considered for a January 1, 2018 coverage effective date, please contact a Broker or Assister by visiting the Connect For Health Colorado Get Help page at

Monday, November 20, 2017


Jadahlen ("Jadah") Rocah DOB 12/3/04 (12 yrs old) went on the run from a Front Range group home she may have gotten a ride back to the Grand Junction area.

If you have any information please call law enforcement and the Mesa County Child Protection  Hotline 242-1211.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Area Agency on Aging & ADRC to host 17th Annual Caregiver’s Conference

The Write Tool at the Right Time
Mesa County, Co. — The 17th Annual Caregiver’s Conference will be held on November 1st from 9:00am – 3:00pm at the Mesa County Workforce Center (512 29 ½ Rd GJ).  The registration fee is just $5 and includes lunch, speakers, vendors, demonstrations, and materials.

9:00-9:45-Conversations about Life
9:45-10:30-Holistic Approach
10:45-11:45-Legal Checklist
11:45-12:30-Lunch-($5; vegetarian options available-ask when you RSVP dial 211)
12:30-1:15-Life Coach 
1:15-2:00-Mental Health First Aid
2:15-3:00-Tips and Tricks
Space is limited register EARLY!

Dave Norman, Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Colorado states, “This is a tremendous value, for a $5 registration fee.  Attendees will have access to vendors, lunch and speakers and hands on demonstrations.”

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Councils on Aging Leadership Round-Up

Councils on Aging Leadership Round-Up
Four Colorado Regions to Meet in Grand Junction

Mesa County, Co. – Region 11 Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is hosting a Leadership Round-Up for residents across Western Colorado and are interested in what transpired during the 2017 Legislative Session, what new bills might be coming during the 2018 Legislative Session and info on Health Care legislation, as well as, info on livable senior communities in Western Colorado.

The Round-up will be held on August 25, 2017, at the Mesa County Workforce Center, 512 29 ½ Road, GJ. The event is open to the public, registration is required, dial 2-1-1 or (970) 244-8400.

Meeting Agenda
8:30am-9:00am          Registration
9:00am-9:15am          Opening remarks and introductions
9:15am-10:00am        AARP Western Slope Alliance--Livable Communities Proj-John Rodwick, Chair
10:00am-11:00am      CMU Health Care Panel Discussion-
11:00-11:45am            CLUB 20 Health Care Overview-Steve Childs, Pitkin County Commissioner
12:00pm-1:30pm        Luncheon Buffet-Luncheon-Keynote Bonnie Peterson, AGNC           
1:30pm-2:30pm          Area on Aging Regional Updates
·         Region 9- Durango-Christina Knoell
·         Region 10-Delta, Montrose, Gunnison-Eva Vetch
·         Region 11-Mesa, Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt-Dave Norman
·         Region 12-Pitkin, Eagle-Erin Fisher
2:30pm-3:30pm          Legislative Discussion-Rich Mauro-Denver Reg Council Of Gov. Sr. Lobby
·         Overview of Senior issues from 2017 Legislative Session
·         Emerging issues for the 2018 Legislative Session
·         Open Discussion
 According to Dave Norman, Director Area Agency on Aging “This is a great opportunity for seniors, caregivers and anyone involved with senior issues to become educated on subjects ranging from health care to livable communities.” Norman continues, “The event is open to the public and will be very interactive. Participants will be able to ask questions and get answers to some very serious issues swirling around our community. “

NOTE: Colorado's Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging will hold its first "Conversations on Aging" in Grand Junction from 1 to 4 pm Thursday, August 24. The meeting will be in the Gunnison Room at the Two Rivers Convention Center.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Community Leaders to Proclaim June 2017 as National Adult Protection Awareness Month

Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) receives an average of over 100 new adult protection referrals each month.  Victims of adult abuse or neglect are at-risk adults age 18 or over who are unable to protect themselves due to age or disability.  These individuals are sometimes not aware of the resources in our community and often have no one else to protect them.

 Approximately 46% of the victims are over 70 years old and are physically impaired or have some form of dementia.  The younger at-risk adult victims are persons with physical or mental disabilities.  Abuse, exploitation, and neglect are caused by a member of the victim’s own family in a large percentage of cases. These residents are often vulnerable to assault, burglary, fraud and other crimes because they cannot provide for their own care and protection.

A schedule of recognition proclamations & events for June is as follows:
Mesa County Public Meeting June 20th at 9am, Old Courthouse 3rd floor Chambers
City of Fruita –June 21st, 7pm, Fruita City Hall
Annual Adult Protection Awareness Reception-Thursday June 15, DHS Room 1060 1:30-2:30pm

The Mesa County Department of Human Services is committed to advocating for people’s rights.  Senior citizens and persons with disabilities are vital members of our families, our society, and our community.  Historically, 1 in 5 cases of adult abuse is actually reported.  Adult abuse encompasses many different types of harms and can occur in the community, home or institutional settings. It is hoped that Mandatory Reporting will increase the number of referrals and provide greater safety for the older adults in our community.

For more information on suspected adult abuse and neglect please visit or call the Adult Protection Hotline at 248-2888, option 2.  Callers can remain anonymous if they so chose.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The 2nd Annual- Western Slope Celebration of Excellence

A celebration hard work and resilience
The Mesa County Child Welfare Department is hosting the 2nd Annual Western Slope Celebration of Excellence.

This is a celebration of youth in foster care, DYC, Probation and School District 51 as they graduate. Some youth have been homeless or have been involved in the legal system. During the month of May, we recognize and celebrate the successes of these young people as they are graduating high school or receiving their GED.

The celebration is scheduled for Tuesday May 23, 2017 at the Mesa County Workforce Center from 4:00-6:00pm. 

"These young people have made tremendous strides to get this point in their lives.  It is time to recognize their hard work and resilience.  We are proud to honor them as they move into adulthood," said Kari Daggett, Child Welfare Permanency Manager, at the Mesa County Department of Human Services.

The keynote speaker will be R-5 Educator, Al Kreinberg. Kreinberg has over 25 years of experience working and inspiring youth.

Colorado Welfare Fraud Council Awards

Mesa County Deputy District Attorney, Holley Prosecutor of the Year
Mesa County, CO—The Mesa County Department of Human Services and Mesa County District Attorney’s Office are pleased to announce that a Deputy DA from the 21st Judicial District has been awarded Prosecutor of the Year by the Colorado Welfare Fraud Council (CWFC).  Deputy District Attorney; George Holley is this year’s recipient of the prestigious award.
Mr. Holley has been with the District Attorney’s office for over 2 years and was nominated by Mesa County Department of Human Service’s
Investigator Matt Furphy.
With little-advanced notice, Mr. Holley took over and successfully prosecuted Mesa County’s first known welfare fraud jury trial resulting in 7 felony charges.
Furphy attributes Mr. Holley’s diligent work, enthusiasm, and teamwork with the Department of Human Services as the reason for the convictions
Furphy described Holley in the following way:

“After speaking with me for the first time since the case was assigned to him from a previous DDA, DDA Holley essentially started the whole case from scratch with preparations, personally going out in the community to have affidavits notarized, contacting different sources (including a witness from the Secretary of State), putting numerous hours in to understand our rules/regulations and also creating the presentations for his prosecution.  From what I observed, he barely had time to eat lunch because he was working so hard to try and make this case successful.

During the course of the jury trial, DDA Holley displayed his knowledge of the law, had to set the judge straight on rulings multiple times and had to counteract multiple defense objections. DDA Holley also involved me with ensuring he was on the correct path with Food Assistance, TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medical Assistance and LEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program) rules.

 “DDA Holley does outstanding work for us here in the District Attorney’s Office, he is truly deserving of this statewide recognition.” said Mesa County District Attorney, Dan Rubinstein.

 Prosecutor of the Year award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution and/or shown excellence in the prosecution of welfare fraud.
The Colorado Welfare Fraud Council (CWFC) is a non-profit statewide organization comprised of city, county, state, and federal employees who work in some capacity
with the various public assistance programs available to people in Colorado.  The members are dedicated to the detection and prevention of fraud in all public assistance

Thursday, April 27, 2017


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 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

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:

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.

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...