State human services department plans public meeting in Blanca


BLANCA — The executive management team of the Colorado Department of Human Services will visit Costilla County from 3:30-5 p.m. on July 26 as part of its 2017 Summer Planning Tour, an annual event that gives CDHS leadership the opportunity to hear from partners and stakeholders about local challenges and innovative solutions.

The session will be held in the main dining area at Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center, 17591 E. Highway 160 in Blanca. Executive Director Reggie Bicha will present the priorities for the department in the upcoming year, review gains made in 2016-2017 and discuss challenges and opportunities moving forward.

Members of the public, media and other stakeholders, including mental health professionals, educators, law enforcement officers, nonprofit/foundation representatives and social workers, are invited to attend. Representatives from the department’s seven offices will be on hand to answer questions and facilitate discussions about pertinent issues that affect residents statewide.

CDHS provides services to Colorado’s families, children and adults, including cash, food and energy benefits; employment programs; child support; early care and learning; behavioral health; child welfare; the Division of Youth Services; services for people with disabilities; veterans community living centers and other services for older Coloradans.

“We’re eager to hear what’s working in individual communities and how CDHS can help with challenges,” Bicha said. “We always come back from tour with great ideas about how to better meet the needs of Coloradans.”

Costilla County has been statistically strong in several areas within the last year. It has processed more than 95 percent of Adult Financial, Colorado Works and food assistance applications in a timely manner, ensuring eligible Coloradans have access to resources that increase their economic security. Costilla County is also surpassing the state goal for two child welfare measures, helping increase safety for children in Colorado.

The main goals of the tour are to identify overarching challenges and opportunities in all areas and to brainstorm ways that the state and local communities can collaborate to improve services to Coloradans.

The Summer Planning Tour helps the department develop meaningful goals, as required by the “State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act.”