Colorado

Apr 2, 2010 8:35 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Lawmakers consider watchdog for child welfare

A proposal to hire an outside contractor to serve as a watchdog for Colorado's child welfare system is picking up wide support at the Capitol.

Democratic Sen. Linda Newell's bill easily passed its first vote in the Senate on Thursday.

Thirty-five children involved in the system have died of abuse and neglect in the last three years. A task force convened by the governor recommended creating independent oversight of the joint state-county system.

Exactly how to do that has fallen to the Legislature. Newell finally settled on a compromise - a contractor hired from outside the government who would report to the state human services director. Newell says she'd prefer more independence herself but vows to supervise the watchdog to make sure the arrangement works.

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