Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson

FAQ - The Hub / Children, Youth, and Family Services

Child Protection

  1. What is child abuse and neglect?

    As used in Title 19 Children's Code of the Colorado Revised Statutes, "Abuse" or "child abuse or neglect", as used in part 3 of article 3 of this title, means an act or omission in one of the following categories that threatens the health or welfare of a child:

    1. Any case in which a child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or death and either: Such condition or death is not justifiably explained; the history given concerning such condition is at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death; or the circumstances indicate that such condition may not be the product of an accidental occurrence;
    2. Any case in which a child is subjected to unlawful sexual behavior as defined in section 16-22-102 (9), C.R.S.;
    3. Any case in which a child is a child in need of services because the child's parents, legal guardian, or custodian fails to take the same actions to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision that a prudent parent would take. The requirements of this subparagraph (III) shall be subject to the provision of section 19-3-103.
    4. Any case in which a child is subjected to emotional abuse. As used in this subparagraph (IV), "emotional abuse" means an identifiable and substantial impairment of the child's intellectual or psychological functioning or development or a substantial risk of impairment of the child's intellectual or psychological functioning or development.
    5. Any act or omission described in section 19-3-102 (1) (a), (1) (b), or (1) (c);
    6. Any case in which, in the presence of a child, or on the premises where a child is found, or where a child resides, a controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102 (5), C.R.S., is manufactured or attempted to be manufactured.
  2. I suspect that someone is abusing a child or I know a child who I suspect is abused. Who do I call to make a report and what can I expect if I report?

    Call the Hub at (970) 498-6990.
    An Intake Specialist will take your call, record pertinent case information and forward the information to a Case Assignor for review. After business hours, the information will be forwarded to the on duty Child Protection Supervisor and Caseworker.

    You are not required to give your name. However, you will be asked to provide your name so that, if necessary, the child protective services worker can request additional information. You are protected from liability, provided that the report is made in good faith, and your report is confidential. It may only be released to law enforcement or to a court involving a judicial proceeding.

    The Larimer County Department of Human Services (LCDHS) is required by law to investigate all reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. LCDHS and law enforcement work together on investigations.

    When making your call to Child Protection, be prepared to provide the following information:

    • Your name (optional, but preferred)
    • How we can get in touch with you (optional, but preferred)
    • Name, age and location of child(ren) involved
    • Location whee incident occurred
    • Name of parent or guardian (if known)
    • Name of alleged perpetrator (if known)
    • Brief explanation of concerns - nature of abuse
    • Inquiry as to whether or not there are current injuries or visible marks, or if the child is in imminent danger.
  3. Can Human Services take a child away from parents?

    No employee of the Department of Human Services has the authority to remove a child from his or her home, school, day care center, etc. Only law enforcement or the courts have the authority to remove a child. Employees of the Children, Youth & Family Division can and sometimes do contact the police for purposes of placing a child into protective custody, however, it is important to note that it is the police officer who makes the custody decision and removes a child.

  4. What is Juvenile Court?

    Juvenile Court oversees child protection and delinquency cases and assures the rights of the child are protected. In areas of conflicting opinion, it is the juvenile court which determines the course of action necessary in order to protect the child, rehabilitate the family or juvenile offender.

  5. Is there a listing of child abuse perpetrators?

    The Colorado Department of Human Services maintains a computer data base (TRAILS), which lists all founded child abuse cases. This information includes identifying information of the victim and the offender. The information remains confidential and may be released only to Child Protection staff, law enforcement officers, child care licensing authorities, and child care facilities for pre-employment background checks.

  6. How can the State computer system (TRAILS) of Child Abuse list a perpetrator when they have not been convicted of child abuse?

    Many child abuse cases do not result in a criminal filing, a court trial, or a criminal penalty. It indicates that the child was a victim of maltreatment regardless of whether or not there was a criminal case and the perpetrator who was responsible for the maltreatment. See the question on "penalty for child abuse."

  7. What is the penalty for child abuse?

    Child abuse, while it may be a criminal offense, is regarded as a civil matter by the Larimer County Department of Human Services. Law enforcement, through the office of the District Attorney, may pursue a criminal action against the perpetrator of child abuse. The Department of Human Services is concerned with the protection of the child and treatment necessary for the victim and the victim's family. Punitive actions are the responsibility of criminal courts.

  8. Are relatives considered as a placement option for children taken into emergency custody?

    The Larimer County Department of Human Services carefully evaluates all relative placement resources prior to a child being placed with that relative. Criminal background and home studies are completed. The protection needs of children must come first. Foster homes are utilized when relatives have not been identified or are not available to provide care.

  9. Do you consider relatives in other states?

    The Larimer County Department of Human Services utilizes the services available through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. This program performs the same level of evaluation of potential relative placement resources in other states.

  10. When parents are separated or divorced, do child abuse allegations cause custody of a child to be changed from one parent to another?

    The Larimer County Department of Human Services will investigate allegations of child maltreatment and take any action necessary to protect the child. This may include emergency placement, protective orders or deferring to the court overseeing the divorce case. The department will not participate in an ongoing custody dispute between two parents when there are no child protection allegations.

  11. What is a Guardian ad Litem?

    Abbreviated: GAL, is an attorney who has been appointed by the Court to represent the interests of a child or children in a family. This attorney is present at each court hearing and makes recommendations to that Court regarding the case plan and progress in each case. The attorney is paid by the Court and is independent and autonomous from the parent(s) and the Department of Human Services.

  12. Are there fees for child protection services?

    The initial investigation of child maltreatment is done without regard to income. However, if the child is placed out of the parents' home or utilizes some treatment or therapeutic services, the income of the parent is considered and in some cases, parents are assessed a fee for ongoing services.

  13. What Happens if I am Reported for Abuse?

    A child protective services worker will visit with you to determine if the report of child abuse or neglect is founded and, if appropriate, services may be offered to the entire family. You and the worker can talk about what seems to cause problems in your home. Together you may be able to decide what changes need to be made and set up a plan for making these changes. You should discuss any problems you and your family have. Your worker knows of a number of programs and services that may be helpful.

    If no abuse or neglect is present the case is closed and you may be referred to other community services if your family needs them.

    If abuse or neglect is founded and there is a high risk of harm to the child(ren)'s safety -- law enforcement may temporarily remove the child(ren) from the home for his or her protection. A Dependency and Neglect petition may be filed if continued out of home placement is warranted. Refer to Child Protection Services -- A Guide for Parents. Child protective services workers assist families to improve their situations so that the child(ren) may be returned to a safe home.

  14. What are the Rights of the Child?

    The rights of the child include:

    • The right to be in the care of his parents, or guardian (unless the court orders a different plan).
    • The right to food, shelter and clothing to meet his basic needs.
    • The right to have his parent protect him from harm, danger, injury, and neglect.
    • The right to feel safe and secure.
    • The right to health care.
    • The right to have someone make sure his best interest is looked after in court. Your child will have his own lawyer in court. This person is known as a Guardian ad Litem or G.A.L. The guardian ad litem is a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the child's best interests. The G.A.L. will talk to the child, the parents, Human Services and to others who might have some insight into the situation. He/She will give his/her opinion to the court.
  15. What Are My Rights as a Parent?

    All parents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Parents suspected of abuse or neglect also have the right:

    1. You have a right to receive the NOTICE OF RIGHTS AND REMEDIES and a juvenile court order.
    2. You have a right to an attorney. If the court decides you cannot afford to pay an attorney one will be provided for you at no cost. You are entitled to petition the court to appoint an attorney of your choosing that may or may not be granted by the Court.
    3. You have the right to participate with the County Department of Human Services (referred to hereinafter as DHS) caseworker in developing a case plan. All parties will be requested to sign the case plan.
    4. You have the right to a Detention Hearing within 48 to 72 hours to determine if your child(ren) should return home. This hearing MUST be held either within 48 or 72 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. If the court decides that your child(ren) should not return home, your children might be placed with their grandparents or other appropriate relatives, or remain in foster care with the County DHS You have the right to testify and present witnesses in the court as to why the child(ren) should be allowed to return home, or whether they should be placed with their grandparents or other relatives. You have the right to compel witnesses by subpoena, to attend all court proceedings, and to ask questions of any witnesses. If the petition is granted, the child(ren) is adjudicated dependent and neglected; legal custody of your child(ren) may be given to the County DHS Families may make later formal requests, at any time, for a hearing to regain legal custody of their child(ren).
    5. You have the right to a Juvenile Judge instead of a magistrate at all proceedings of the count except the initial Detention hearing.
    6. You have the right to have the Dependency and Neglect Petition filed with the court no later than 10 working days after child(ren) are removed (Rules of Juvenile Procedure, Rule 4.A.)
    7. You have the right to a jury trial.
    8. You have the right to have the People prove that the allegations of the petition are true by preponderance of evidence. In the case of an Indian child, the standard is clear and convincing evidence. If the petition is not granted, the court can order the state to pay all your costs.
    9. You have a right to appeal any final decision of the court, unless you agree to a finding that your children are "Dependent and Neglected" (this would include an admission of "no fault of your own"). In that case, you lose your rights to a jury trial, to subpoena witnesses, and to appealing the court's finding of "Dependent and Neglected".
  16. Someone has made a report of child abuse or neglect against my family. What do I need to know?

    Answers to this question and others are provided in this Child Protection Services Guide Child Protection Services -- A Guide for Parents

  17. I have concerns about child welfare services or want to file a complaint about services.

    Please follow the process detailed in the Children, Youth and Family Complaint process

Parents of Adolescents

  1. How do I access services for my child/adolescent

    This is the very reason the Larimer County Hub exists. Services can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (970) 498-6990. Our staff is always available to offer support and options for how to proceed when you family is struggling. These workers are trained to interview over the phone and develop a plan with you regarding the steps you might take.

    For a teen not being charges with a crime and who is dealing with no other issues (i.e., drug/alcohol use, mental health issues, etc.) the staff can gather appropriate information to make a referral to the appropriate team at The Hub for you son or daughter. They will review the information you provide and contact you within 3 working days and potentially schedule an appointment for mediation, if that is what is needed.

    We also understand that you might not know if your child is drinking or using drugs. It might not be possible to determine if there are mental health considerations. That's okay, our workers are trained to identify the differences between these issues and behavioral issues and they can make the appropriate recommendations for your family.

    During the initial phone call, you should be prepared to discuss how their recent behavior is affecting relationships in the family. How is he/she doing in school? What are his friends like? Has she been running away from home recently? These are just a few of the questions the workers may ask to get a clearer perspective of what is happening at home. This will help us provide the most appropriate assistance to you and your family.

  2. My teen is in trouble with the law...what should I do and expect?

    What you should do and can expect would depend on the severity of the crime committed. Depending on the crime committed a juvenile may have to pay a fine without appearing in court or he/she may have to appear in one of three different courts (Municipal Court, County Court or District Court). Municipal and County Courts handle the less serious charges like traffic violations within city and county limits and underage drinking. District Court generally handles the more serious crimes like Assault or Burglary. However, juveniles with repeated less serious crimes could be referred to District Court which has greater authority over juveniles.

    • If your teen has a court date, it is important that you find out what that date is and where the court hearing will be held.
    • Find out what the charges are and decide if you would like legal representation at that hearing. You can contact the District Attorney's Office for information regarding charges.
    • If the juvenile has been arrested, the arresting officer may want to detain the juvenile. The juvenile will be transported to the HUB for a detention screening. The detention screening determines if a juvenile is appropriate for secure detention or if some other detention status (like home detention) would keep the community safe while ensuring the juvenile appears for their detention hearing.
    • Once the juvenile is detained a detention hearing is held within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays). This hearing is to decide if the juvenile needs to be held in secure detention, on home detention or if they can be released to their parent's custody.
    • At the detention hearing the court will set another hearing to bring the juvenile back into court to address the new charges.
    • If you decide to engage in mediation sessions it is important that you understand that mediators specialize in conflict resolution. Mediation does not provide therapy and if there were significant mental health issues, these would be best addressed by a therapist through your insurance, or through the Larimer Center for Mental Health if you do not have insurance that covers mental health concerns.
    • Once you have arrived at the Hub the Intake Specialist will gather some basic information and a mediation worker will be contacted. If this occurs during working hours (Monday through Thursday 8 AM-9 PM or Friday 8 AM-5 PM ) you can expect to meet with a worker within minutes. If your emergency is after hours Intake Specialists at the Hub will access mediation services if your child is at iminenimmanentinent placement. They can schedule an appointment for mediation on the next business day.

      Conference rooms are part of the Hub design and you and your family will be offered mediation in the privacy of one of these conference rooms. You can expect mediation to focus on the realities of your situation and the caseworker will attempt to assist your family in reaching a workable compromise.

    • If it is determined that your problems can not be resolved through mediation the worker will give you the appropriate referrals will be made. Mediation services are voluntary and you are not obligated to more mediation sessions. It would be our hope that after working with us you would learn and use some of our problem solving techniques and would be better able to resolve conflicts on your own.
  3. My child refuses to go to school...what should I do?

    There may be reasons your child does not want to go to school. Talk with your child, your child's teacher, school counselor, faculty and administration to learn what may be contributing to your child's reluctance to go to school. Think about things going on at home that your child may be worried or concerned about.

    Ask the following questions to help get to the root of the problem:
    • Is your child participating in class?
    • What happens at lunch, recess, and free time?
    • Does your child seem fearful of something?
    • Does he/she make and/or have friends?
    • Has there been a change in your child's teacher?
    • Has his/her academic performance changed?
    • Has his/her friends changed?
    • Is your child falling behind in school?
    • How does your child handle peer pressure?
    • Did he/she like going to school before or has it always been difficult to get them to school?
    • Are there any medical/dental concerns that could be affecting your child?
    • Does your child need glasses?

    Talk with your child and don't be afraid to ask questions and be supportive of your child:

    • What does he/she like about school?
    • If things could be different, what would school be like for him/her?

    There are also questions to ask yourself:

    • Have circumstances changed within your family/home?
    • Have you recently moved?
    • Has there been a recent loss in the family?
    • Does your child get good nights' rest?
    • Does he/she eat well at breakfast?

    There are other steps you can take in understanding what is happening at school. Volunteer in your child's classroom/school whenever you are able to. Have lunch with your child at school. Drop by the school occasionally and “check in” to see how things are going.

    If necessary develop a contract with your child to help them get to school and follow through with you're agreed upon ways of handling the conflict. Check in with his/her teachers to be sure that they are attending classes.

    If you need further assistance, contact your school attendance person and ask for the District truancy specialists. If you call into The Hub you may ask to speak with our truancy prevention/intervention worker. This worker will be able to provide you with further information and resources about how to handle the problem. The Larimer County Department of Human Services currently partners with two schools regarding truancy concerns. The LCDHS truancy worker is on site in two schools, one in Loveland and one in Fort Collins. If your child happens to attend one of those schools, we could become more actively involved in helping resolve the problem. If your child does not attend one of these schools, we can help by providing other resources and information to you.

  4. What can I do if I suspect my child is using drugs and/or alcohol?

    Talk to him or her. Without accusing, ask them to explain the changes you are seeing in their behavior...

    "Can we talk about why your grades dropped so much this semester? Is there anything I can do to help?"

    "I've noticed you stopped hanging out with some of your old friends. Did something happen?"

    When you are talking, try to stay focused on the changes in their behavior. Drug abuse, and especially drug addiction, can become a lifestyle. It will be increasingly difficult for a person to maintain other areas of his/her life while abusing alcohol or other drugs. Most likely--family relationships, friendships, school performance, extra curricular involvement, hobbies and employment will all be affected to some degree by substance abuse.

    Expect resistance if your suspicions are correct. One of the main coping mechanisms for a person using drugs is denial. Common sense tells us it would be very hard to continue using drugs if one was honestly admitting how drugs or alcohol were negatively affecting one's life.

    Ultimately, if you are unable to get any sensible explanation from your child about the significant changes in their behavior-it might be time to enlist the help of a professional. Call us at (970) 498-6990 and will we help you get the assistance you need for your child.

    The following agencies handle alcohol and drug evaluation and treatment in our community:

    • Island Grove Treatment Centers:
      • Fort Collins (970) 493-1157
      • Loveland (970) 669-1700
      • Greeley (970) 356-6664
    • Larimer County Institute for Alcohol Awareness:
      Fort Collins (970) 221-4057
      Loveland (970) 663-2900
  5. I want to get out of the violent relationship I am in. I can't support my children and myself. Where do I go and who can help?

    Getting out of a violent relationship can feel over whelming and difficult. There are people, places and resources that can help. You have begun the process by acknowledging the need to make a change for yourself and children.

    You can call Crossroads Safehouse in Fort Collins and Alternatives to Violence in Loveland for further support and information regarding domestic violence. They can also provide temporary shelter if necessary until you are able to find a place for yourself and children which is safe. If you need to receive financial assistance, you may contact the Larimer County Department of Human Services Benefits Information Center to find out if you are eligible for financial assistance and how much.

Teen FAQ

Let's face it. Sometimes we all need a little help and advice. Being a teen means that you have to make a lot of choices--choices about right and wrong, choices about your friends and family, and choices about school and how to live your life. We hope that the topics that we put on this teen page give you more information to be able to make those choices. If you are in a crisis with your family, we can also help you at The Hub! We meet with youth and families together to help them resolve conflicts. The Hub is also the place you go sometimes if you get in trouble with the law. Please call us at (970) 498-6990.

  1. I have a friend who is threatening to hurt himself/herself. What should I do?

    Tell a trusted adult immediately. Do not attempt to assess the level of how serious this threat is on your own. There are very specific questions which need to be asked and this needs to be done by somehone who has been trained to interview a teen who might be considering suicide.

    School counselors, Religious Advisors, or your parents would all be appropriate choices for who to speak to about this.

    Again, do not attempt to speak directly to your friend about your concerns without support.

    If you feel you don't have anyone in your life that you could safely speak to about he situation, there is an assistance line that serves Larimer County for both crisis and not-crisis situations. Larimer Center for Mental Health, 24-Hr. line (970) 494-4300.

  2. I have a friend who is threatening to hurt someone else. What should I do?

    Much like when a friend is threatening to hurt his or herself, you should not attempt to figure out how serious the threat is. You should tell a trusted adult immediately. If you are at school, it would be helpful to speak to your counselor. There are some new programs being started by Larimer County school districts right now that can really help. There are peer counselors and new threat assessment and violence prevention teams. Your school counselor and/or School Resource Officer would be able to get help for your friend through these new programs.

Background Image: Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson. All rights reserved.