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For questions not addressed in this FAQ, contact CDHS Client Services at 303.866.4511 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or look for a specific contact on the Contact Us page.
Q: My Health First Colorado (Medicaid) account closed without notifying me. What can I do?
A: Contact the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing at 303.866.2993.
Q: My health facility is not providing quality care. How can I handle this?
A: Contact the Department of Public Health and Environment at 303.692.2904.
Q: How can I register a complaint about my loved one's State-licensed therapist?
A: Contact the Department of Regulatory Agencies Licensed Professionals at 303.894.7855.
Q: I'm homeless -- where can I find housing assistance?
A: Contact the Division of Housing at 303.864.7810.
For answers to frequently asked questions about adoption in Colorado, please click here.
Q: What does the phrase “CAC rules” mean?
A: Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules.
Q: What is DORA?
A: The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Q: What is OBH?
A: The Office of Behavioral Health within the Colorado Department of Human Services. Read about the roles of DBH and DORA in the CAC Handbook for Addiction Counselors.
Q: What does it take to become a Certified or Licensed Addiction Counselor?
A: Completion of OBH approved:
Q: What are the two pathways to certification and licensure for addiction counselors?
A: Pathway I is for those individuals who hold a high school diploma or equivalent and those who hold a bachelor’s degree in the behavioral health sciences.
Pathway 2 is for those individuals who hold a clinical masters or doctoral degree.
Q: What are the four levels of credentialing for addiction professionals?
A: CAC I - Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I
CAC II - Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II
CAC III - Certified Addiction Counselor, Level III
LAC - Licensed Addiction Counselor (Masters Level)
Q: Where do I find the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules?
A: Find the rules on the DORA website: www.dora.state.co.us/mental-health/cac/licensing.htm
Q: Do the training classes already taken expire if I do not submit an application within a certain amount of time?
A: Yes, all training classes for any level of certification will expire five years from the date of the class if no application is submitted to DORA.
Q: What are the CAC Requirements?
A: The requirements for certification for a CAC I, II or III and licensure as a LAC are found in both the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules and the CAC Handbook for Addiction Counselors. Both documents are needed for a complete overview of the requirements
Q: What qualifies as work experience hours for certification?
A: Work experience is defined as paid or unpaid, clinically supervised, addiction specific counseling and related activities. This experience does not have to be obtained while working in a OBH licensed program, but the nature of the work experience must fit the description of addiction counselor competencies. The work experience must also receive the required number of direct clinical supervision hours per month. In cases where your position was not specifically in an addiction treatment setting, yet a significant percentage of your work dealt with substance use disorders, that percentage of hours may count towards the work requirement, providing it meets the above criteria.
Q: What if I am not working full time--how many supervision hours do I need per month?
A: Supervision hours may be prorated according to the number of hours worked, but may not be less than one hour per month.
Q: How do I document my work experience hours and the hours of supervision that have been provided to me by a qualified supervisor?
A: All work experience hours shall be documented on the DORA Work Verification Form (WVF) found in the original CAC application.
Q: Can work hours from another state count towards your CAC hours?
A: Yes, if those hours are documented on the DORA Work Verification Form and the hours were supervised by someone with a credential that is the equivalent to a CAC III or LAC. It will be necessary to submit the supervisor’s resume showing the appropriate addiction counseling experience and training and document the number of hours worked and the number of hours of supervision received.
Q: Can I count as work experience hours those hours I spend receiving treatment services?
A: No, the CAC rules prohibit accumulating any work experience hours while receiving primary substance use disorder treatment services as a client.
Q: What are the DORA database listing requirements for those seeking certification as an addiction counselor?
A: Please refer to the CAC Handbook for Addiction Counselors for further information.
Q: Where can I find the application for certification or licensure?
A: The application and related documents can be downloaded from the DORA website at http://www.dora.state.co.us/mental-health/index.htm.
Q: Where can I find OBH approved traning classes for certification?
A: Download the list of training facilities.
Q: Where can I find an approved CAC supervisor?
A: By contacting any OBH licensed treatment program or those training centers that offer CAC classes. OBH and DORA do not keep an approved supervisor list.
Q: I just paid for my certification and now I have to pay a renewal fee. Why?
A: All new applicants who are issued a certification/license within 120 days of the upcoming renewal expiration date will be issued a certification/license with the subsequent expiration date. For example, certifications/licenses issued between May 1, 2011 and August 31, 2011 will reflect a certification/license expiration date of August 31, 2013. Certifications/licenses issued prior to May 1, 2011 will reflect an expiration date of August 31, 2011 and must renew in the upcoming renewal period.
All Addiction Counselor certifications and licenses expire on August 31 of odd-numbered years and must be renewed to continue practicing.
Q: Do I need to complete the jurisprudence exam with every application?
A: The general rule is that each time an application is submitted to DORA, the most current jurisprudence exam must also be submitted. However, if the examination has been taken, AND the applicant is already certified, no jurisprudence exam is required with the upgrade application PROVIDED that the current version of the exam is the same version taken and passed previously. Please see the bottom of the exam itself to find the version numbers and check with the most current version posted on the DORA website.
Q: How many times can I take the mail-in jurisprudence examination?
A: The mail-in jurisprudence examination may be taken as often as you need until it is successfully passed. The examination is designed to test your knowledge about routine and complex practice scenarios. It is open-book to encourage the development of personal resources to address practice questions. The purpose of the exam is to acquaint the applicant with the law that regulates the practice of psychotherapy in Colorado and encourage ethical practice.
Q: What resources do I need to complete the jurisprudence examination?
A: The CAC I required class in ethics includes jurisprudence and is a good overview of information needed for successfully taking the exam. Additional information is available at www.dora.state.co.us/mental-health/jurisresources.htm.
Q: What is NAADAC and SACC?
A: NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, is the largest membership organization serving addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals, who specialize in addiction prevention, treatment, recovery support and education. For more information visit www.naadac.org.
SACC is The Society of Addiction Counselors of Colorado, an affiliate of NAADAC. SACC is an association of concerned professionals seeking to improve the quality of substance abuse and other addiction treatment services through education, training, and advocacy in Colorado. When you join NAADAC in Colorado you automatically become a member of SACC. For more information visit https://www.naadac.org/colorado.
Q: What are the NAADAC national exams?
A: These examinations include the NCAC I, NCAC II and MAC exams. In accordance with the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules (Revised 09-01-10), one of these national exams is required for certification for both a CAC II and CAC III. See the CAC Handbook for Addiction Counselors for further information available from OBH.
Q: How do applicants apply to take one of the NAADAC exams?
A: Applications and fees must be made through the Society of Addiction Counselors of Colorado (SACC).
Q: Is national certification automatically gained when taking and passing one of the NAADAC exams?
A: No, you may take the exam only for a state requirement as is the case in Colorado, or follow a separate process if seeking a national credential from NAADAC. The fees are different for these two actions as are the requirements. Visit the NAADAC website at www.naadac.org for further information or call NAADAC at 800.548.0497.
Q: I let my CAC lapse, now what do I need to do to reinstate it?
A: Please see the DORA website for the reinstatement application.
Q: Do I need special training to facilitate DUI groups?
A: There is no formal certification program to facilitate DUI Level I Education and DUI Level II Education and Therapy groups, however a CAC II or above is required to facilitate these groups. Group facilitators must take the specialized training for the chosen manualized curriculum being offered.
Q: How do counselors become approved domestic violence providers?
A: Call the Domestic Violence Board at 303.239.4528.
Q: Does the Office of Behavioral Health approve training centers that offer classes for certification?
For answers to frequently asked questions about child abuse and neglect, please click here.
For answers to frequently asked questions about reporting child abuse and neglect, please click here.
Q: What is the Child Mental Health Treatment Act?
A: The Child Mental Health Treatment Act is a law that allows families to access community and residential treatment services for their child without having to go through the dependency and neglect process, when there is no abuse or neglect of the child.
Q: How is the child's eligibility determined?
A: For children who are not categorically eligible for Medicaid: the child must have a mental illness and, be at-risk of out-of-home placement, and found in need of community, residential, or transitional services determined by a community mental health center.
For children with Medicaid: the child must have a mental illness, and require residential level of care determined by the behavioral health organization.
Q: Where do you go to apply?
A: Only a parent, legal guardian, or child over the age of 15 may apply for services under the Act. If the child has Medicaid, contact the Behavioral Health Organization (BHO) listed on their Medicaid card. If the child does not have Medicaid, contact the local Community Mental Health Center (CMHC). The mental health agency will provide an assessment to determine your child's eligibility.
Q: What is the parent/guardian role once the child is admitted to a residential facility?
A: Family involvement is essential to successful treatment outcomes. This includes participation in developing the treatment plan, review of the child's progress, family therapy, and discharge planning.
Q: What if the child is denied services by the mental health agency?
A: If services are denied, the mental health agency will provide written recommendations of appropriate services for the child and family. The family will need to make decisions and explore resources to pay for these services.
The mental health agency will also inform the parent/guardian about the appeal process. If the local appeal supports the denial, the parent/guardian may appeal to the Office of Behavioral Health if the child does not have Medicaid. If the child is Medicaid-eligible, the parent/guardian or the BHO may appeal to the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (Colorado Medicaid).
Q: What happens if the local mental health agency and county department of human/social services are uncertain about which agency is responsible for providing services under the Act?
A: The agencies should first use their local interagency dispute resolution process. If the matter is not resolved at that level, it should be referred to the Office of Behavioral Health, which will convene a committee to review and recommend a resolution.
Q: What happens next when a non-Medicaid eligible child is determined eligible by the CMHC for community based treatment?
A: If appoved for community based treatment 1) the CMHC determines the financial obligation of the family (see below and “Financial Aspects”). 2) A Plan of Care is created with the CMHC. 3) With the aid of the CMHC the child begins services with an agency within the community.
Q: What happens next when a non-Medicaid eligible child is determined eligible by the CMHC for residential treatment?
A: If approved for residential treatment: 1) the CMHC determines the financial obligation of the family (see below). 2) A Plan of Care is created with the CMHC. 3) The parent/guardian applies for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the child at the local office of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The CMHC can help you get in touch with that office, and provide a contact person there.
The CMHC can provide help in locating a residential facility in Colorado appropriate to the child's needs. It is important that the parent/guardian be involved in this since family participation is essential to effective treatment.
Q: What is the parent's financial obligation for services under this Act?
A: The CMHC may assess a fee for the eligibility evaluation, based on a sliding scale. If private insurance is not available to pay this fee, the parents may be responsible for the cost. This fee is assessed regardless of the outcome of the evaluation; parents may be required to pay this fee even if the child is not found eligible for residential treatment services.
Parents will also be assessed a monthly fee for the child's stay in the residential facility. This fee is based on the Colorado Child Support Guidelines. The residential facility determines the amount based on income information provided by the parents. Parents pay this amount directly to the facility for each month their child is in the residential facility.
If the Child does not qualify for SSI, the parents will be responsible for the full cost of care after the first 30 days of placement. Parents may appeal the SSI decision through the local Social Security Administration (SSA) office.
Q: What is involved in applying for SSI for the child?
A: To qualify for SSI the child must meet the disability and income requirements established by the SSA. The child must have a disability that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a year. Additionally, the disability must result in an impairment that interferes with daily living, e.g. inability to function in a regular classroom at school.
The parent/guardian income is not counted in determining financial eligibility if admission to a residential facility will occur within 30 days and will last longer than one month. It is essential to provide the SSA office with all relevant reports, assessments, evaluations, and other documentation concerning the child's mental health needs. A SSI checklist developed by the SSA can help in the application process. Additional information about SSI can be found on the Social Security Administration's website.
Q: How will the residential facility be paid for a child's care?
A: For the first 30 days, when SSI eligibility usually has not been determined, residential treatment costs are covered by private insurance (if available), parental fee, and State funds (CMHTA). Beyond the first 30 days, for children found eligible for SSI, the payment is covered by private insurance (if available), the child's monthly SSI benefit (minus $30 which is used for the personal needs of the child), parental fee, and State funds (CMHTA), if necessary. Medicaid reimburses the residential facility for treatment costs.
Get answers to frequenly asked questions about:
Q: What is an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card (EBT) card?
A: An EBT card delivers money from benefit programs and cash assistance electronically to you. In Colorado, benefits are issued on an EBT card called the Colorado Quest Card. It looks like a credit or bank card and can be used at any authorized store across the country. A personal identification number (PIN) is assigned to access the account. Keep this number safe. If your card is lost or stolen, it can't be used by anyone who does not know the PIN number.
Q: When will my benefits be available on my EBT card?
A: If you are approved, your benefits should be available on your EBT card within 30 days from the date of your application. If you are eligible for expedited benefits, your benefits should be available on your on your card within 7 days from the date you filed the application.
Each month your benefits will be deposited into your EBT account on the same day, even if it falls on a weekend or holiday.
Q: How do I use the EBT card?
The above steps may be different for each type of POS terminal, but the cashier can help you if needed.
Q: Can I use my EBT card in another state?
A: You can use your EBT card in any authorized retail location in the U.S. that displays the Quest logo. Only Wyoming uses a different EBT card, called Smartcards. If you need to use your EBT card in Wyoming, do so at the larger chain stores that have their own equipment to process both types of EBT cards.
Q: How can I check the balance of my EBT card?
A: The easiest way to know your account balance is to keep your receipts. If you don't have your receipts, you may check your balance online at ucard.chase.com/chp.
You can also call Customer Service at 1.888.328.2656 or 1.800.659.2656 (TTY) . You are allowed 10 balance inquiry calls per calendar month.
Q: Do I have to use all of my food assistance benefits the month I get them, or will they be carried over into the next month?
A: Any benefits left at the end of the month in your Food Assistance EBT account will be carried over into the next month. Any benefits not used will be removed from the card after 365 days. You can get these benefits back by contacting your local Food Assistance office.
Q: What should I do if my EBT card is lost or stolen?
A: If your EBT card is lost or stolen, call Customer Service toll free at 1.888.328.2656 or 1.800.659.2656 (TTY).
Q: How do I protect my information online?
A: Never share any personal information, especially Social Security Numbers, account numbers, login and PIN information via e-mail. You will never be asked for personal information via email.
Beware of phishing e-mails - These e-mails tell you that you must use the provided link to verify or change your account in some way. We will never send an e-mail asking you for this type of information.
Beware of suspicious text messages requesting your account information via your mobile device (e.g., cell phone, PDA, etc.). We will never send a text message to your mobile device asking you for this type of information.
Keep your passwords and PINs secret and do not leave them in an unsecured area.
If you suspect suspicious activity related to your EBT account, immediately call Customer Service toll free at 1.888.328.2656 or 1.800.659.2656 (TTY).
For answers to frequently asked questoins about foster care, please click here.
Q: Do I need a women’s gender-specific treatment license in order to treat women?
A: No, you can treat women without the women’s gender-specific license. If you want to advertise your services as being licensed gender-specific services, you need that license.
Q: Why do women need special services when they’re half of the population?
A: Traditional substance use disorder treatment has generally not been evaluated with any attention paid to the gender differences that could influence engagement in treatment, retention in treatment and treatment outcomes. Women have typically not participated in treatment in numbers proportionate to their population. Women’s gender-specific treatment attempts to tailor treatment in such a way that women are more likely to come to treatment, participate and benefit from treatment and to have positive treatment outcomes.
Q: When does it make sense for a woman to have a male counselor, or to participate in co-ed groups?
A: It depends upon her stage of recovery. Practice-based evidence has shown that newly sober women will generally do better in all-women groups and treatment environments, where women with more time in recovery can benefit from work with a male counselor who has good boundaries.
Q: What treatment services are available if youth are detained to a Division of Youth Services (DYS) facility?
A: Cognitive behavioral programming may be available at your son/daughter's facility. This programming is designed to teach positive traits, anger management, improved decision making, empathy and other social related skills.
Q: How long are youth in detention? Who determines the length of stay?
A: The length of stay in a detention facility is determined by the court system. Youth are generally detained for one of two reasons: secure placement pending a court hearing, or to serve a court ordered detention sentence of up to 45 days.
Q: Do youth receive an education while in detention?
A: Youth in detention are provided education by the local school district. While your son/daughter is in the program, they will receive educational credit. Should they qualify to participate, they may also be eligible to take part in the school's General Equivalency Diploma (GED) program.
Q: Can youth be transported to a routine medical appointment while in detention?
A: At the time a court orders a youth to be held at a detention center, the legal custody remains with the parent or guardian. Without legal custody transferring to the state, the facility cannot legally transport youth to a routine medical appointment.
Q: Can youth receive psychiatric services while in detention?
A: At the time a court orders a youth to be held at a detention center, the child’s legal custody remains with the parent or guardian. Without legal custody transferring to the state, the facility cannot legally provide medical or psychiatric services.
Q: What treatment services are available to youth if they are committed to a DYS facility?
A: Services that may be available at a facility include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, psychiatric services, offense-specific treatment, substance abuse treatment, parent support groups and evaluations. The assigned Client Manager or facility-based treatment team will be able to give you information about your son/daughter's individual treatment plan and services.
Q: How long are committed youth in a facility? Who determines the length of stay and where my son/daughter will go after placement?
A: The length of stay in a facility is determined by a combination of factors: the length of commitment to DYS that is imposed by the court, the nature of the offense, the progress that your child makes in the facility, and the release plan for your child. While your son/daughter is in placement, you will be part of the team that works together to decide on length of stay and release plans. The Parole Board or Community Review Board ultimately determines if your child can be released to return home or go to a community placement.
Q: Do youth receive an education and can they earn a diploma?
A: Youth committed by the court and placed in a residential placement participate in school programming. An Education Assessment Report containing assessment results is written for all youth. If the youth receives special education and have a current Individual Education Plan (IEP), that IEP is transferred to DYS according to the special education process and Colorado Department of Education guidelines. Educational services may include special education, GED preparation for qualifying students, vocational skills training or pursuit of a high school diploma. Qualifying youth may also be offered post-secondary education (college). If your son/daughter is planning to return to public school, the facility school will work with the home school district to help with a smooth transition and to determine appropriate placement.
Q: How can I be involved in decisions about my son/daughter?
A: Approved family members are encouraged to take part in all aspects of a youths involvement with DYS, from the initial assessment process through return to the community. You may be involved in family therapy, treatment team meetings, educational planning meetings, special events involving your son/daughter, and other activities that allow you to take part in decisions. This process includes Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) reviews. The MDT will include your son/daughter, family members, treatment providers and others that you may deem supportive and helpful to the long-term success of your son/daughter. From assessment to parole, your son/daughter will have regular MDT meetings to share information, provide expertise, and develop realistic plans for every stage of treatment. Learn more about how you can be involved on the Families of Youth Services Clients page.
Q: How does DYS determine what services youth receive?
A: DYS provides a comprehensive assessment for all youth within the first 30 days of their commitment. This assessment includes: criminogenic risk and needs assessment utilizing the Colorado Juvenile Risk Assessment, a mental health assessment, education and vocational assessment, medical assessment, drug and alcohol screening and assessment, neuropsychological screening, file and documentation review and risk classification. In some cases, the assessment process may also include a psychological evaluation and/or a neuropsychological evaluation.
Following the completion of the assessment, a multi-disciplinary team meets to discuss youth and family needs, placement type, and future transition plans.
Q: Are all committed youth required to serve a period of time on parole?
A: Colorado Statute requires that every committed youth exiting DYS must serve six months mandatory parole. Cases that meet certain criteria may be extended by 15 months. Independent of DYS, the Colorado Juvenile Parole Board hears the cases of each youth preparing for parole, sets terms and conditions and has the authority to modify, suspend or revoke parole.
Q: What opportunities do youth have to practice their religion?
A: All youth have the opportunity to practice their faith and participate in religious services. This includes access to clergy and spiritual advisors. Some facilities have partnerships with community agencies to provide such activities as religious services, bible study groups, mentoring, chaplain services, or spiritually based group activities.
Q: What contact am I allowed to have with my son/daughter? What are the rules about phone calls and visits?
A: DYS encourages youth to maintain contact with family members and other positive individuals. Youth are able to make outgoing phone calls to parents/guardians, professionals and others who are approved for contact. The procedures for the frequency or times of the phone calls will vary at different facilities. Facilities also provide a schedule of visiting hours for approved visitors. Please visit the CDHS Facility Locations page for additional visitation information.
Q: Are youth allowed to have personal belongings or gifts?
A: Youth are provided with the clothing and personal hygiene items that he or she needs while in placement. Please check with your son/daughter's facility for rules and procedures regarding special occasion gifts and other permitted personal items.
Q: Are youth allowed to receive mail?
A: Youth are able to send and receive mail. Incoming and outgoing mail may be opened in the presence of the youth and inspected for contraband. Some facilities allow additional publications to be sent to your son/daughter (such as magazines). The facility can provide you with a list of approved publications. Mail that is deemed to pose a safety and security threat will be read in the presence of the youth and may subsequently be withheld. If a safety threat exists, the item may be processed with law enforcement or if appropriate, placed in the youth’s property storage for later claiming.
Q: What types of living conditions are provided for my son/daughter?
A: All youth are provided with their daily living needs, including sleeping accommodations (bedrooms, linens, etc.), clothing, personal hygiene items, meals and snacks, physical exercise, leisure time and structured activities.
Q: How do I get notified of changes, important events or emergencies happening with my son/daughter?
A: The staff at the facility will follow procedures to notify you of significant events or emergencies. Parents are encouraged to maintain regular communication with their son/daughter's designated staff.
Q: How can I file a complaint against a facility or individual?
A: Your son/daughter is informed of the steps of the facility grievance process and is able to file a grievance at any time without interference. As the parent of a youth residing in a DYS facility, you are encouraged to contact the facility Administrator(s) or one of the two Directors of Facility Operations.
Q: What is the age range of youth serviced in DYS?
A: Youth can range in age from 10-20 years old. Youth can receive services through DYS until their 21st birthday.
Q: How does the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) impact DYS facilities?
A: PREA addresses the detection, response, prevention and elimination of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment in all DYS state and contract facilities. Additionally, PREA directs the collection and dissemination of information on the incidence of juvenile-on-juvenile sexual abuse as well as staff sexual misconduct with youth in DYS custody.
Q: To whom does PREA apply?
A: PREA applies to all federal, State, local public and private institutions that house juveniles and adult offenders, male and female.
Q: What is the evidence of DYS's commitment to maintain a safe, humane, and appropriately secure environment for juveniles in DYS custody?
A: DYS has policies and standards for any employee, volunteer or contractor that prohibits inappropriate relationships with juveniles in their care. All staff, volunteers and contractors are provided training on professional ethics and in maintaining professional boundaries when interacting with youth, as well as training to detect and report staff sexual misconduct, juvenile sexual abuse, sexual harassment and juvenile sexual misconduct.
Q: How are PREA allegations investigated?
A: Employees, volunteers, contractors and interns with DYS are mandatory reporters, and therefore obligated by law to abide by the mandatory reporting laws and DYS policy. Whenever an alleged incident of sexual misconduct has occurred within a DYS facility, the incident will be reported to CDHS and the appropriate local law enforcement agency. Additionally, an internal investigation will be conducted to determine the appropriate administrative or personnel actions to be taken. The internal investigation will not interfere with or duplicate an investigation being conducted by the county department of human services or a local law enforcement agency.