OBH Director Werthwein named Friend of Children Award recipient

Robert Werthwein, Director of Office of Behavioral Health - CDHS

Denver (Oct. 17, 2017)—Robert Werthwein, director of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Office of Behavioral Health on Saturday received the prestigious Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Friend of Children Award for his years of service in CDHS’s Office of Children, Youth,  and Families (OCYF) and dedication to improving child welfare in Colorado.

The Friend of Children Award is given each year to those who personify the values of humanitarian outreach and volunteerism with children, families and the community. Since 1993, Advocates for Children CASA has given the Friend of Children Award to judges, law enforcement personnel, doctors, legislators and citizens who are recognized dynamic leaders and whose innovation and impact serve as inspiration for the next generations.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition from CASA,” said Werthwein. “At CDHS, we’re charged with ensuring every child in our care knows that they can rely on us, that we’re going to work to equip them with the tools they need to succeed and when the burden is too much, we’ll be there to help lighten the
load. Our kids are our future, and we’re going to keep showing up for them every day to help put more Colorado youth on a path to success.”

After earning his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Howard University, Dr. Werthwein focused his work on strengthening child welfare programs and improving the treatment of at-risk and underserved populations. Under his leadership of OCYF from March 2015 to September 2017, the office focused on
addressing complex issues impacting all children and youth in the care of the state, including juvenile justice, child welfare and human trafficking Most recently, Dr. Werthwein worked tirelessly to advocate for 10-12 year olds in the juvenile justice system, keeping those youths with low-level offenses from
mandatory detention facilities.

Dr. Werthwein also led initiatives to bring reform to Colorado’s child welfare system, and implement new strategies to intervene and help at-risk families learn the tools they need to achieve a brighter future for their children. He began his current role as the director of the Office of Behavioral Health in  September 2017.

CASA works with courts to support and advocate for abused or neglected children both in courtrooms and communities. For more on CASA and the Friend of Children Award, click here.

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