In 2004, Senator Peggy Reeves met with local Larimer County officials reference child welfare issues and asked that there be an all inclusive age consideration for children from 0 through 18 years of age that receive collaborative care from agencies that interact with juveniles and their families. So Larimer County remains unique in its age range of inclusivity for juvenile clientele. Senator Reeves then co-sponsored HB 04-1451 in order to allow for the creation of M.O.U.s and the use of dollars created by grants, donations and other revenue sources for the use of a performance based collaborative management by local entities dealing with juveniles.
And so the work of the Larimer County Interagency Oversight Group began with what is to date approximately 23 members from across a plethora of entities who interface with juveniles from the courts, social services, probation, the school districts, Foothills Gateway and CSU to name only a few of the creative, resourceful, and strategic partners.
This group oversees approximately 25 Service Types like Trauma Informed Services, Family Empowerment, Mediation, Life Skills and Sex Abuse Treatment etc. Each service has performance outcomes which are collated and evaluated. The group is forming a subcommittee to review its goals, the program outcomes for success & challenges, the current legislative impacts on juvenile services and whether they can leverage their work with grants.
The group was able to create two community Life Centers; The Matthews House and the House of Neighborly Services with past grants. One of the programs; Supported Families and Stronger Communities received a grant in 2019 and partnered with CSU in order to determine the implementation, evaluation and outcomes. Due to COVID delays, they began working with 305 families in April 2021. They hired four non traditional Navigators who are culturally competent and speak Spanish, Arabic and work with the disabled as well. The supervisor Deb DeLuca-Forzley says she has learned so much from these Navigators and how they impact communities who have been marginalized among other things. They are proving to be so much more effective due to the cultural competence factors.
The group also has "Spotlight" quarterly presentations from local service entities in order to learn, enhance networks and create potential partnerships. The group meets on a monthly basis and the meetings are open to the public. The stewardship exemplified by this group is daunting and will not lack for continued challenges due to our current cultural trends with juveniles locally and across the nation.
Complete Notes Document by Veronica Olivas