Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November is National Adoption Month

Mesa County is observing National Adoption Month by celebrating 3 new adoptions on National Adoption Day November 16 in Judge Robinson's Courtroom 126 North Spruce 3rd Floor.

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 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 Kim Espindola, 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.

Lisa and Paul McGinnett will be adopting one child and are willing to speak to the media about their experience. They should be available at 12:30 pm  At noon we will have a staging room available to the media to get photos and interviews. The staging room will be near Judge Robinson’s courtroom on the 3rd floor. Adoptions are closed proceedings; we ask you are sensitive about photographing families without gaining their permission first, even in public areas.

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

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Judge ordered MEDIA ALERT
MISSING CHILD ALERT:   Jadah Rocha DOB-12/3/2004. Missing since July 19, 2018. Her family and grandmother are very worried about her. Report her whereabouts to Law Enforcement by dialing 911.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Norman Retires from Area Agency on Aging

40 years of service to the elderly 
 Yesterday Governor John Hickenlooper pronounced Monday, Sept 24th as Dave Norman Day at the State Capitol in Denver. Hickenlooper also presented Norman with a flag that flew over the State Capitol as recognition of 40 years of service to the State of Colorado. Community members will host a retirement party for Dave tomorrow.
Commissioner Scott McInnis recognizes Dave Norman for his 44 years of service and dedication to the people of Mesa County.

Monday, Sept. 24 was proclaimed Dave Norman Day at the Capitol by Governor John Hickenlooper. He was also presented with the Colorado flag which flew over the Capitol on Dave Norman Day.

Dave Norman’s Retirement Party
Sept 26, 2018
Mesa County Department of Human Services Building
510 29.5 Rd, Grand Junction
Meeting Room 1060

“Dave was the very first Director for the Area Office on Aging back in the earlier 1970’s. He is a storehouse of knowledge on everything related to services being provided to the elder population in the region. We have big shoes to fill as he retires and we will miss him.”  states Executive Director of the Mesa County Department of Human Services, Tracey Garchar.

The Governor’s proclamation and flag will be on display during tomorrow’s retirement party. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Reporting Elder Abuse In Mesa County Starts with a Phone Call

Help us pull back the curtain on elder abuse and neglect

Mesa County, CO--- Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) receives an average of over 70 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.

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.  Colorado is a Mandatory Reporting state.   Historically, 1 in 5 cases of adult abuse are actually reported.  Adult abuse encompasses many different types of harms and can occur in a community, home or institutional settings. Mandatory Reporting over the past 4 years has increased the number of referrals and has provided 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.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Department of Human Services Public Assistance Systems Planned Outage

Public Assistance systems CBMS & PEAK / PEAKPro will be offline starting on Thursday, September 6, at 6:00 p.m. and will not be back up until Monday, September 10, at 7:00 a.m.

The CBMS & PEAK/ PEAKPro systems will be down for planned statewide system maintenance.
  Monday, September 10, the systems will be back online.

Mesa County Department of Human Services clients are being advised that there will be limited services for Food, Medical, and Cash Assistance on Friday, September 7.

Help that CAN be provided to clients during the outage:
  Acceptance of paper applications, change reports, and redeterminations
  Acceptance of verification documents and date-stamp them
  Completion of an eligibility interview
  Answering general questions about the application process, available benefits, and programs
  Referral of customers to additional services provided by local non-profits and safety net service organizations
  Issuance of replacement EBT cards (if identification is available)

Help that CANNOT be provided to clients during the outage:
  Access to specific case information
  Processing of applications, change reports, and redeterminations
  Making eligibility determinations of any kind
  Processing of verification documents
  Printing or accessing any correspondence
  Troubleshooting case issues
  Accessing PEAK / PEAKPro
  Putting new benefits on EBT cards
  Updating or creating individual plans for Workforce programs
  May not be able to issue supportive services for the Colorado Works / TANF program

During the outage, clients will be able to use any benefit that was issued to their EBT Card prior to the outage.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Join Mesa County in Honoring Our Vietnam Veterans, Aug. 20

Join Mesa County in Honoring Our Vietnam Veterans, Aug. 20

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The Board of Mesa County Commissioners, in conjunction with the Mesa County Veterans Services, are honoring Mesa County Vietnam Veterans and their families at a  recognition ceremony Monday, Aug. 20 from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 U.S. Highway 50.

“I am so honored that our Board is sponsoring this great event for our Veterans,” Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, said.

The event gives Mesa County residents a chance to show their appreciation and support to those who have served our great nation during the Vietnam era.

Refreshments and snacks will be available, provided by the kitchens of Hilltop Senior Living Communities. Informational booths will also be available for the Veteran Affairs Hospital and various community veteran resources.

The event is open to the public and is free to attend.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

2018 Senior Law Day Conference

You are never too young, or too old to start planning for retirement and beyond.
This year’s Senior Law Day is hoping to bring in boomers, seniors and caregivers who might be caring for aging parents or to even begin planning for their own future. 

  • §  Over 20 Attorneys available for one-one-one consults
  • §  Choose from 30 pertinent presentations by area experts geared towards boomers, seniors, and caregivers (see attached list of workshop presenters)
  • §  Meet over 30 exhibitors and sponsors §  Enjoy lunch

The Senior Law Day Conference
Aug  17, 2018
7:30am Doors Open
8:30am Sessions start
Two Rivers Convention Center
159 Main St, Grand Junction

Registration is $5.00-
Which includes lunch, presentations, vendor show & materials
(Pre-registration is required by dialing 211)

This daylong event will include presentations, vendor booths, lunch and door prizes.  Presentations will be offered on a wide variety of issues ranging from reverse mortgages, wills & trusts to long-term care planning, and much more.


Welfare Fraud Case Submitted to the DA for prosecution

The Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) Fraud and Recovery Unit recently sent a case of suspected Medical Assistance fraud to the Mesa County District Attorney’s office totaling over $154,000.00 which is the highest amount of a fraudulent government benefits case Mesa County has had to dateMesa County Welfare Fraud Investigators uncovered enough evidence to allege the following:

Medical Assistance: $154,380.69
Investigation Costs: $ 1,253.76

The total recovery for the combination of the investigations is $155,634.45

Court case number 2018CR1522

Committing Public Assistance and/or Medical Assistance fraud is taken very seriously by the State and Federal government.  Medical Assistance benefits are available to those who are truly eligible and need the assistance.  When it is suspected that someone has fraudulently received Public Assistance or Medical Assistance benefits, the Department of Human Services Investigations team will initiate an investigation and if appropriate, submit the investigation to the District Attorney’s office for criminal prosecution.

Our Fraud and Recovery team takes investigating all governmental benefits fraud very seriously,” said Tracey Garchar, Executive Director for the Mesa County Department of Human Services. “Ensuring benefits are available and remain with individuals and 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.

Colorado Forum on the Senior Property Tax Exemption

Friday, May 4, 2018

Missing Teen Alert

The Mesa County Department of Human Services is issuing a missing teen ALERT! 

Elijah Murry was last seen around on April 19th at 1842 N 7th St.  
He is about 5'9" and weighs about 140lbs.  
Elijah is 16 years old. 
He has blonde hair and hazel eyes. 
Any information regarding his whereabouts can be reported to Grand Junction Police Department Nonemergent number 970 242 6707.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Missing Youth FOUND

Kamry has been found and returned to safety this morning May 2, 2018. 

The Mesa County Department of Human Services is issuing a missing youth alert. 
Kamry Herrera 
Kamry was last seen at/around 27 1/2 Rd and Patterson, on 4/19/18
She is about 5'3/5'4, Brown hair brown eyes and is 15 years old.
Any information on her whereabouts can be reported to Mesa County Law Enforcement. 

Commissioners to Proclaim May

The Mesa County Commissioners will proclaim May as National Foster/Kinship Parent Appreciation Month on Monday, May 7th at 9:00am. 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 Waalkes) 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.  Currently, there are over 180 Foster and Kinship families, in Mesa County, who open their homes and hearts to children. Foster/Kinship families play a vital role in helping children 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” states Foster Care Supervisor Sarah St. Martin. 

·        An addition Foster Month Appreciation event being held will be the Celebration of Excellence Graduation recognition for children and their families graduating during May. The Celebration of Excellence will happen on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at the Mesa County Workforce Center from 5:00-7:00pm. 

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.                              

Monday, April 23, 2018

Advance Care Planning Task Force to Host Special Events as part of National Healthcare Decisions Day

 The Mesa County Advance Care Planning Task Force will host a half day seminar focused on creating a plan for your future healthcare decisions in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day on Thursday, April 26 from 8:00 a.m. – Noon at St. Mary’s Hospital. “Who’s Got Your Back? Learn Who Will Make Healthcare Decisions for You When You No Longer Can,” includes a panel discussion and practical advice about advance directives.
This session will include information on communicating end-of-life wishes to loved ones, an interactive presentation by Dr. Laura Campbell concerning how to speak to your doctor about medical directives, a panel discussion on Colorado burial options and information regarding advance care planning tools. Advance directives can also be completed at the seminar.
Various organizations are partnering with the Mesa County Advance Care Planning Task Force to host Before I Die walls around the Grand Valley throughout the month of April. The Before I Die wall project is a global participatory public art event that allows individuals to express their hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future.
“Individuals can take simple steps to prepare for their future healthcare needs,” said Mary Watson, HopeWest Community Project Coordinator and co-chair of the Advance Care Planning Task Force. “Our seminar on April 26 will provide the public with easy tools in a fun and interactive environment,” added Watson.
Those interested in attending can learn more through Western Colorado 2-1-1 by simply dialing 211 from a landline or 970-244-8400 from a cell phone. Limited seating is available and registration is required for the seminar on April 26. There is a nominal registration fee of $5, which includes refreshments and advance directive tools.
“Preparing now, before a person becomes ill, is the best way to communicate to family and friends what your healthcare wishes are,” said Erica Eng, Community Hospital Director of Patient Experience and Advance Care Planning Task Force member.
To schedule an interview the day of the event, please contact Erica Eng at (970) 216-4913.


April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a national grassroots initiative to encourage individuals to express their healthcare wishes through conversations and the completion of advance directives. More information can be found at

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Unmasking Fraud and Having a Ball with Program Integrity

The Colorado Welfare Fraud Council is once again joining forces with the Social Services Technical and Business Staffs to provide a wide variety of professional development training to Investigators and Workers within Public Assistance programs from across the State of Colorado and Nationally.  The conferenced is being hosted in Grand Junction.
We are very pleased to have this National event in Grand Junction,” states Sonia Salas, CWFC President.  “Grand Junction will welcome between 250-275 people attending plus an additional 40 presenters. The conference will deliver some economic impact while providing western slope fraud investigators high caliber training closer to home,” added Salas.
The 2 ½ day conference will be held at Doubletree by Hilton in Grand Junction, April 25, through April 27, 2018. Commissioner, John Justman and District Attorney, Dan Rubinstein will be presenting the welcome speeches for the event.
Conference attendees will see presentations from State Program Areas, Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigators, and Master Trainers.  

The goal of the Unmasking Fraud conference is to provide better insights and skills for employees of Human Services who deal with eligibility of public assistance, and protecting the integrity of those program areas.

Community Collaboration Continues to be a Cornerstone in the Fight Against Child Abuse

Mesa County Department of Human Services Child Abuse Hotline and local pediatricians have developed a collaboration to benefiting local children who may have been a victim abuse or neglect.

Preventing child about and neglect in Mesa County continues to be at the forefront of Child Abuse Hotline Supervisor, Jacque Berry. Berry is extremely passionate about educating the public and community partners on how to spot child abuse and neglect. Recently Berry began a collaboration with 3 local doctors (2 pediatricians and an orthopedic doctor), and Dr. Andrew Sirotnic from the Child Protection Team at Denver Children's Hospital. This team has come up with standard protocols and processes when dealing with non-accidental trauma in Mesa County.  This type of collaboration is very unique and has not been seen in other counties in Colorado.  This group of professionals present issues related to non-accidental trauma to local hospitals, doctor's offices, and law enforcement throughout Mesa County.

According to Child Welfare Manager Joe Kellerby, “This collaborative will continue the work to ensure there is a standard approach that is uniform in Mesa County on how to handle non-accidental trauma in children. Supervisor Berry has been instrumental in the important work this collaborative is doing within the community.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Who's got your back?  

National Healthcare Decision Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower community member and healthcare providers to learn about the importance of advance care planning. Join Americans across the country in making future healthcare decisions known to family, friends and healthcare providers because your decisions matter                                                   

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Everyone can help prevent child abuse in Mesa County

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 to those resources. 

Preventing child abuse and neglect is a community effort.  Every citizen in Mesa County can play a part in prevention efforts whether it be getting to know the children in your neighborhood, encouraging a struggling parent you see in the store, volunteering your time as a mentor, or becoming a foster parent.  Child Abuse Prevention Month is an opportunity for us to recognize that we all play a role in child safety. ” states Kari Daggett, Child Welfare Division Director.

Some events planned to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention month are:
County Proclamations Monday, April 2nd 9:00am Old Mesa County Courthouse.
Planting of Pinwheel Gardens in Mesa County in front of DHS & WFC Monday, April 2nd at 10:30am


Monday, March 19, 2018

Mesa County Implementing Traverse® for Child Welfare

Software will help case managers spend more face-to-face time with families

Mesa County Department of Human Services

About Northwoods

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March is National Social Worker Month

Mesa County celebrates and honors Social Workers in our community.

Mesa County, Co. - 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. 

Human Services Sends Welfare Fraud Cases to DA for Prosecution

Mesa County, Co. — The Mesa County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) Fraud and Recovery Unit recently sent a case of suspected fraud to the Mesa County District Attorney’s office totaling over $34,000.00.  The subject Leilani Mae Bouchard was arraigned in court this morning on Mesa County case 2018CR252. The suspected fraud occurred from December 2011 to October 2016.  Mesa County Welfare Fraud Investigators uncovered enough evidence to allege the following:

Food Assistance: $27,313.00
Medicaid: $ 3,566.63
LEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program): $997.84
Investigation Costs: $ 2,380.00

The total recovery for the combination of the investigations is $34,257.47

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 a 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.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

LEAP Program Continues in 2018

The Mesa County Low-income Energy Assistance Program is no longer be handled through the Mesa County Department of Human Services, but assistance is still available to Mesa County residents. The LEAP program will now be administered by Discover Goodwill of Southern & Western Colorado.  LEAP applicants need to be aware of new procedures in submitting LEAP applications for the 2017-2018 season

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

LEAP is a mail-in program ONLY!
-      Return your completed 2017 version application in the addressed and stamped envelope provided; (paper applications can be picked up at the Mesa County DHS office)
-      Fax your application to 719-633-9098
-      Mail to:  LEAP
o       P.O. Box 39200
o       Colorado Springs, CO 80949
-      Email to:

A few suggested tips are; 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 opened on November 1st, 2018

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   

Mesa County Department of Human Services Offices will be Closed on Monday, May 27, 2019 in Observance of Memorial Day

In observance of Memorial Day, all Mesa County Department of Human Services offices will be closed. Closed offices: Department of...