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New Colorado DHS plan aims to help struggling parents keep their children

CDHS has seen a decrease in the number of kids taken from their homes on a daily basis over the last year.
Posted at 6:17 PM, Oct 14, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — On Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) announced the approval of a new plan aiming to help struggling parents keep their children, by providing more access to resources.

"This prevention plan actually outlines our plan for how we will continue to build on those services that we have that are prevention focused in Colorado and then how we will scale them across the state," the Office of Children, Youth and Families Director Minna Castillo Cohen, told News5.

Some of the resources being expanded include therapy and substance abuse plans for parents.

CDHS says, despite the assumptions, removing a child from their home or biological family is typically a last resort.

"That's why some people hesitate to call the child abuse hotline, because they're concerned that that may instantly lead to a child's removal from their home. In actuality, 70% of the time, we can keep kids safely in their home with their parents," said Cohen.

Foster care agencies reap the benefits on the back end of this new plan, hoping to see fewer children who have to be placed with foster families.

"We're very like minded with DHS in this way where, the more resources, the better. It can only help families," said Jessica Engel, the Chief Operations Officer for Hope & Home.

Hope & Home recruits, trains, and licenses families to become foster parents.

"These resources are going to be tremendous support and I know they've been utilizing a lot of these resources for many years, so putting even more funding towards those resources will be great for those families," said Engel.

The plan is a required portion of the Family First Prevention Services Act that passed in 2018. The expansion of services will be funded partially by the general fund, and partially by the federal government.
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