County Offices, Courts and the Landfill will be closed Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. Critical services at Larimer County will not be disrupted by this closure.
Board of Social Services
Commissionersí Conference Room
Second Floor Ė County Administration Building
10:00 am - Noon
In Attendance: Commissioner Donnelly, Commissioner Johnson, Commissioner Gaiter, Neil Gluckman,† Ginny Riley, Laura Walker, Marsha Ellis, Laura Sartor, Jim Drendel, and Eileen Brittingham
Commissioner Johnson called the meeting to order.
Everyone in attendance introduced themselves to the listening audience.†
Ginny announced that she will be attending the Colorado Counties Incorporated (CCI) conference next week.† Ginny requested that the Commissioners find her if they have any questions or need any further explanation on any Human Services related items.†
Ginny gave kudos to the Benefits Planning Staff and Accounting staff for their work on the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) audit.† The state audited 4 million in TANF expenditures used throughout Larimer County for various non-profit human services related programs.† The state is reclaiming only $4.00 for coffee and creamer which was ruled an ineligible expense.† Several other counties in Colorado were required to pay back a total of 2.5 million dollars.† Ginny expressed her gratitude to the staff for all of their hard work ensuring that funds were spent appropriately.
Ginny asked the Commissioners if they had any other agenda items. Commissioner Johnson requested an update on the Human Service fund balance.† Commissioner Johnson stated that several other elected officials were requesting information on why Human Services carries such a large fund balance.† Ginny replied that one having a fund balance helps the department manage the risk of state funding to the mandated programs the department administers.† State statue requires Human Services to maintain a fund balance of at least 1 month operating expenditures. Ginny preference is to maintain funding to protection against any major shortfalls including the inability to pay bills because state and federal funding are held up.† In addition, the department annual budget includes using about 1 million dollars from the fund balance.† This has not happened in prior years but is a possibility.† Ginnyís commitment to Larimer County is, †if there are years when we must use a substantial about of fund balance she will immediately reduce expenditures.† This was the case in 2002.
Commissioners Gaiter asked what the department annual budget. Ginny responded about 32 million dollars.† Commissioner Johnson asked if the Human Services fund balance is the same and the TANF reserves.† Ginny replied that they are two different fund balances.† The Human Services fund balance is county money.† TANF reserve is the amount of TANF the department can use.† This is not cash on site this is federal money that we can draw on when we go over the TANF expenditures for TANF eligible expenses only.† The department will use some of it reserve for: TANF, Child Protection and Child Care Assistance Program.†
Commissioner Johnson asked if there is any restriction on the money in the departments fund balance. Ginny replied that the only restriction is that it must be used for Human Services related programs.† Commissioner Gaiter asked how much money was currently in the fund balance.† Ginny replied approximately 5 million.†
Commissioner Gaiter asked Ginny to explain why the department had to reduce its TANF fund.† Ginny responded that the State passed legislation which capped the amount of money counties could keep in TANF reserves.† Larimer County had the potential to lose about 4 million dollars. Ginny and the Board of County Commissioners agreed to contract with local Human Service non-profits for one time expenditures to keep that money within Larimer County instead of reverting back to the State.
Commissioner Johnson asked if there are areas where you would use TANF reserve prior to using Human Service fund balance. Ginny responded that the department is required to establish an order of funds to be used at close out.† The order the department uses is:† federal money, state money and lastly any county money.†
Commissioner Johnson commented that there are expenditures that we cannot use TANF funding for and must use human services funds, so both are a necessity.† Ginny agreed. She also stated that TANF can only be used for families with children, Human Services funds can be used to fill the gap for other low income participants such as the elderly, single people or people over TANF income level.†
Laura Walker, Deputy Director, presented an overview of the Departmentís complaint process and reviewed the numbers and types of complaints received in the Directorís Office from January 1, 2010, through April 30, 2010.
During the 1st Quarter of, 15 formal complaints were received, the majority of which had to do with the Departmentís two largest divisions: Benefits Planning (Food, Medical and Financial Assistance) and Children, Youth and Family.
Commissioner Johnson asked how the department determines that a complaint is resolved.† Laura explained that all complaints are responded to in writing and that we explain the steps in the process if a client feels their issue was not resolved.† If a client does not contact us regarding the issue we consider that an acknowledgment that the compliant has been resolved to their satisfaction.† There is not always a positive acknowledgement from the client.†
Commissioners Gaiter asked how the citizen review panel works.† Laura gave a detailed explanation of the process and how a complaint can request a review by the panel.†
Commissioner Johnson asked how the state ombudsman program is going to work with our complaint process. Laura explained that it is most likely to be a state contractor working directly with Karen Bye, Director of the State Department of Human Services.† Ginny anticipates that the state will send the complaint to counties for response and review all responses and make recommendations.
Update to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
During the last Board of Social Services worksession the department announced that CCAP would institute a waiting list and reduce provider rates.† Day care center rates were reduced by 5% and licensed homes by 7%.†
We currently have 134 families or about 209 children on the waiting list.† We are not able to lift the waiting list at this time.† We estimate that CCAP will be about 2 million dollars over our expenditures.† †
Ginny stated that Larimer County child care assistance program is currently at 6.6 million in expenditures. The department needs to bring that down to 5.3 million in order to prevent using Human Services fund balance.†
The Larimer County Child Care Assistance Program staff have been piloting a new computer system called CHATS.† The new system will roll out on June 15th.† Laura Sartor explained the benefits of the new system for the staff, clients and providers.† The new system is an automated point of sale system and will cut down on the amount of paperwork that needs to be process by †daycare centers.
Differential Response Grant in Child Protection
Jim Drendel, Division Manger for Children Youth and Family gave an update to the Differential Response grant and a presentation on a recent visit to settlement houses in the Ohio area.† ††
Larimer County is one of five counties in Colorado working on a Differential Response grant.† Jim has presented information on differential response at several prior Board of Social Services worksessions.† The idea of differential response is surrounding families with community support.† This allows the department to work with the family for a short period of time and have better outcomes.†
Jim explained that a settlement house is a place where families can go for any type of assistance.† Jim and several representatives from throughout Larimer County visited several different types of settlement houses in Ohio area to determine if this type of project could be brought to Larimer County and would offer the support needed to families in the area.
The differential response grant requires input from group of community members called the Family Consumer Council.† This group provides input into child protection, child welfare and child protection programming. †The Family Consumer council consist of approximately 40 who will be conducing a needs assessment on the feasibility of a settlement house in Larimer County.† The Settlement house is not government run facility it is run by the community agencies.
Commissioner Donnelly asked how a settlement house would be funded.† Jim responded that the Ohio settlement houses are mostly funded out of United Way and other community organizations.† There is some staffing from workforce center, child protection and food, medical and financial assistance program staff.
Settlement houses are a great way to help low to moderate families with child protection issues.† Commissioner Johnson stated that he felt that many people are willing to open up to community organization, religious groups, etc., but donít want contact with government organizations.† This is where settlement house could be beneficial to families.†
American Humane Association Disparities Study
Jim presented information on the American Humane Associations first state-wide meeting two weeks ago.† Jim was very excited to see the type of information that could be pulled from that State computer system.† Although, the information presented at the meeting was not accurate.† The disparities study examines the disproportional number of children in racial and ethnical groups involved in child protection system.† Larimer County has overrepresentation of children of color in child protection and juvenile delinquency programs.
The American Humane Association is an international organization based out of Denver and focuses on child and animal protection issues.† The child protection staff offer lobbying, training and consultation services.†
A discussion about the role of the American Humane Association and their role in child protection and †animal protection ensued.
Jim stated that there is a concern that we are serving a high number of juvenile delinquent clients without the appropriate funding.† Jim and Commissioner Johnson recently meet with Judge Shipanski to discuss these issues. Jim presented statistics and funding issue with the juvenile delinquency program here in Colorado.† Larimer County Human Services will be using several new tools to screen juvenile delinquents to determine whether or not we can serve the juvenile.†
Ginny asked the Commissioners if they need any further clarification on these issues.† Commissioner Gaiter responded that he would need more information on specifics if action were to be taken.
Ginny asked the Commissioners if they had any other agenda items.† There were no further items.
The meeting was adjourned