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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rights of the child include:
All parents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Parents suspected of abuse or neglect also have the right:
Answers to this question and others are provided in this Child Protection Services Guide Child Protection Services -- A Guide for Parents
Please follow the process detailed in the Children, Youth and Family Complaint process
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.