Board of Social Services
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Second Floor – County Administration Building
10:00 am - Noon
In Attendance: Commissioner Donnelly, Commissioner Gaiter, Commissioner Johnson, Neil Gluckman, Bob Keister, Ginny Riley, Laura Walker, Jim Drendel, Ed Rutherford, Eileen Brittingham
Introductions & Announcements
Commissioner Gaiter called the meeting to order.
Everyone in attendance introduced themselves and stated their position for the listening audience.
Director, Ginny Riley asked the Commissioners if they had any other agenda items. The Commissioners did not have any additional items.
Ginny distributed a handout that provided data on the 2010 cost for an open child protection case. Ginny reminded the Commissioners that they can contact Jim Drendel or her if they have any questions.
Human Services funding
Accounting and Business Operations Division Manager, Ed Rutherford gave an overview of the department’s funding and allocations blocks. The main source of funding for county Human Services is the State of Colorado. The State receives money from the Federal government and distributes it to counties. The funds filter to county Human Services offices in the form of allocations. The five major allocations are:
Ed gave an overview of how Support Services (which includes common support functions such as accounting and administration) are funded. The amount of money the department receives for Support Services is determined by Random Moment Sampling (RMS) and 100% time reporting.
The “County Budget” for the Department of Human Services (DHS) is defined as the total dollars that are expended in operations and direct client services by the DHS programs – it does not include benefit payments made to clients. Of this $37 million, $7 million is the County’s portion of that funding. The remaining $30 million comes from Federal, State, and various grant sources.
The Commissioners, Ginny, and Ed discussed the various ways that DHS receives its funding, distributes its money, and receives reimbursement from the State and Federal government.
Ginny explained to the Commissioners that the cost to counties to administer the programs in Human Services is a relatively small investment given the amount of benefit provided to clients in the community.
Commissioner Donnelly asked for an update of the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Ginny responded that Larimer County receives an annual allocation of $4.1 million from the state. In the past, Larimer County has spent approximately $6 million a year for the CCAP. The department was able provide this level of service because the department retained a balance in its TANF reserves. Under TANF policy the department is able to transfer a limited amount of its TANF reserves to the CCAP and Child Protection programs. The department’s TANF reserves have been greatly reduced because of the high number of clients on TANF. Currently there is about one year of transfers available. The department is committed to reducing the cost to administer the Child Care program in an effort to avoid using county only money. In order to reduce the program costs, DHS has implemented a waiting list, reduced reimbursement rates to providers, and increased parental fees.
Commissioners Donnelly asked if the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is in jeopardy. This program is 100% federally funded. That state is reporting that the federal government will cut this program by 50%. There are two proposals, one to cut the benefit amount or the second to reduce the eligibility level to the clients.
Commissioner Johnson asked if the department can transfer money among any/all programs. Ginny responded that the department can only transfer a limited amount of TANF money to the Child Care Assistance program and/or Child Protection. The department cannot transfer anything from Regular Administration or Child Protection. Ginny went on to explain that the State will allocate additional funds to counties who have overspend in Child Care Assistance, Child Protection and Regular Administration from counties who have not spent their total allocation in these programs.
The Commissioners, Ginny, and Ed discussed the meaning of the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Larimer County is required to pay to the State Department of Human Services and what that means for counties.
Commissioner Gaiter asked if the county can ask the state for a lower allocation. Ginny states that she is unsure but she could ask the state staff.
Commissioner Johnson asked how the department handled the 2% cut in county funds for 2011. Ginny stated that the department cut expenditures by reducing staff in child protection, child support, benefits programs, and Health and Human Services staff.
Commissioner Johnson asked if the department receives another 2% cut what would the department options be. Ginny stated that, at this time, she is not sure what she would do.
Ginny explained to the Commissioner’s the different types of funding, when the department receives allocations from different sources, and how the department plans its budget. She asked the Commissioners how the they would like the department to present the 2012 budget proposal for services. Commissioner Johnson asked, “What are the four service area we are now evaluating?” Ginny responded: Child and Adult Protection, Self Sufficiency, Senior and Disabled Assistance, and Community Outreach.
Ginny explained that the department has a request from Frank Lancaster, Bob Keister, and Commissioner Gaiter to increase the number of service proposals that the Commissioners evaluate.
A discussion on the pros and cons of increasing, decreasing, and remaining the same on the number of service proposals ensued. The Commissioner’s agreed that 6 – 8 services proposals would be appropriate. They agreed to this knowing that this would result in the department being unable to provide the exact amount of expenditures until the state and federal fiscal close out occurred.
Commissioner Donnelly asked, “Why were additional funds that were allocated to the Senior Tax Work off program not spent?” Ginny responded that all applicants who were eligible were given the opportunity to participate. The department did receive some additional funds from the federal government and applied these funds prior to using county funds. The county funds were not within the department of Human Services budget. All of these contributed to under spending the county’s money.
Ginny outline the additional performance measures the department will include in the 2012 budget. This included new measures for Adult Protection, Self Sufficiency, and the Health and Human Services grants.
Executive Assistant, Eileen Brittingham distributed the 1st Quarter Complaint report and a copy of the new survey that will go out to all clients who file a complaint. These are complaints that have been made to the Director’s office. This does not include concerns clients bring to the attention of supervisory staff directly.
Eileen reviewed the numbers and types of complaints received in the Director’s Office from January 1, 2011, through March 30, 2011. During the 1st Quarter of 2011, 24 formal complaints were received, the majority of which had to do with the Department’s two largest divisions: Benefits Planning (Food, Medical and Financial Assistance) and Children, Youth and Family.
Eileen reviewed the handout which included the complaints by area of concern, complaints as a percentage of caseload, each division’s monthly caseload averages, any request for the Citizen Review Panel, and the complaint survey questions.
The complaint process is not the only option department clients have if they do not agree with the department’s decision. Many programs have a hearing process that allows the clients to talk to a hearing officer who interprets the laws and makes a decision if the department applied all rules correctly.
Ginny asked the Commissioners if they had any questions on this data. The Commissioners did not have any questions.
The meeting was adjourned.