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For questions not addressed in this FAQ, contact CDHS Client Services at 303.866.3275 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 training 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 signs and reporting of child abuse and neglect, please click here.
Q: What is the Children and Youth Mental Health Treatment Act?
A: The Children and Youth Mental Health Treatment Act is a law that allows families to access community and residential treatment services for their child or youth without having to go through the dependency and neglect process, when there is no abuse or neglect of the child or youth.
Q: How is the child or youth's eligibility determined?
A: The child or youth must have a mental illness, isn’t eligible for Medicaid, be at-risk of out-of-home placement, accesses the program prior to their 18th birthday, doesn’t have a pending or current dependency and neglect action with child welfare, and found in need of community, residential, or transitional services determined by a mental health agency.
Q: Where do you go to apply?
A: Only a parent or legal guardian may apply for services under the Act on behalf of their child or youth. Contact your local mental health agency. The mental health agency will provide an assessment to determine your child or youth’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 or youth’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 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.
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?
A: One or both of the agencies may request the Office of Behavioral Health to convene a review panel to complete the dispute resolution process. The review panel’s decision shall constitute final agency action.
Q: What happens next when a child or youth is determined eligible by the Mental Health Agency for community based treatment?
A: If approved for community based treatment 1) The Mental Health Agency determines the financial obligation of the family (see below). 2) A Plan of Care is created with the Mental Health Agency. 3) With the aid of the Mental Health Agency the child or youth begins services with treatment provider(s) within the community.
Q: What happens next when a child or youth is determined eligible by the Mental Health Agency for residential treatment?
A: If approved for residential treatment: 1) The Mental Health Agency determines the financial obligation of the family (see below). 2) A Plan of Care is created with the Mental Health Agency. 3) The parent/guardian applies for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the child or youth at the local office of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The Mental Health Agency can provide help in locating a residential facility in Colorado appropriate to the child or youth’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: Parents will be responsible for a monthly fee for the child or youth’s treatment costs. The Mental Health Agency will determine the 7 percent of the total cost of treatment services. Parents pay this amount directly to the treatment providers each month. At minimum, the parental shall be no less than $50 per calendar month.
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 or youth’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 or youth’s care?
A: For children or youth found eligible for SSI, this monthly SSI benefit (minus $30 which is used for the personal needs of the child/youth), parental fee, and State funds (CYMHTA), if necessary. Medicaid reimburses the residential facility for treatment costs.
If denied SSI, State funds (CYMHTA) will cover the residential costs and the behavioral health treatment costs that would otherwise have been funded under SSI and Medicaid.
Research has shown that toxic stress, including abuse and/or neglect that occurs when a child is young, can have negative impacts on brain/cognitive development, attachment, and academic achievement. While a young child's development may be more susceptible to toxic stress, early intervention during this critical period can be most effective in mitigating the detrimental effects of that stress. It is known that the provision of early services and intervention to support the healthy development of young children can have positive effects that last throughout childhood and into adulthood (Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2010).
Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding developmental screening and children involved in child welfare.
To learn more about developmental screening and children involved in child welfare click HERE
A: A child’s primary care provider (PCP) has an important role in the lives of the children and families. Most PCPs conduct routine developmental screening at well child visits.
A: At the family level, both agencies should ask parent(s) to sign a release of information (ROI) to ensure open lines of communication. With a signed ROI, some examples of best practice collaboration include:
A: At the family level, child welfare and screening entities should ask parent(s) to sign a release of information (ROI) so that there can be open lines of communication. With a signed ROI, some examples of collaboration include:
At the community level, community screening entities and child welfare staff are encouraged to meet regularly, share personnel contact lists so that relevant staff can communicate, and participate in relevant community work groups collaboratively.
A: The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is responsible for the oversight of the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and the Office of Children, Youth, & Families (OCYF) which allows for a strong collaboration at the state level. OEC is responsible for the implementation of Part C of IDEA in Colorado, including contractual agreements with and monitoring of Community Centered Boards (CCBs). As a state-supervised, county administered child welfare system, OCYF provides guidance, training, technical assistance, and coaching to county departments of human/social services as needed to fulfill statutory and regulatory requirements.
OEC and OCYF have strengthened the CAPTA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that allows for data sharing, clarifies roles and responsibilities for collaboration, and provides for consistency in expectations for local communities.
Examples of collaboration include:
OEC and OCYF also work closely with other state agencies regarding early intervention services, including the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). These collaborations include identifying state-level barriers, conducting joint training, and the development of the CAPTA FAQ document.
In addition, Assuring Better Child Health & Development (ABCD) provides content expertise and facilitation to support community partners interested in creating and implementing systems that improve service coordination and promote optimal child development.
Finally, members of OEC, OCYF, and CDE work with local communities as needed to address concerns and develop strong relationships. This includes training related to state requirements, acknowledging the gaps in the state-level system, and helping communities explore options for meeting children's needs.
A: The child welfare caseworker is required by State Statute (26-5-108) and Volume 7.104.132(E) to refer children under the age of five for a developmental screening when that child is the victim of a founded incident of child abuse and/or neglect. Child welfare caseworkers must document the referral in the “developmental screen” window in Trails. The worker must also print and e-mail or fax the referral letter generated in Trails to the identified screening entity. In addition to the referral letter, there is an option in Trails to print a letter of information to the parents.
The child welfare caseworker does not need parent consent to make the referral with basic family contact information. However, in order to share any detailed information about the family, the child welfare caseworker must obtain a release of information. Best practice is to discuss the referral process with the family and to obtain a release of information prior to making the referral or as soon as possible after making the referral.
There is a distinct difference of where the referral for developmental screening should be sent depending on the age of the child. Below is a flowchart showing where to make referrals when child abuse and/or neglect is founded on a child under age five. Some county departments of human/social services have developed a protocol for referring children for developmental screening. Child welfare caseworkers can work with their team/supervisors to learn about other county-specific requirements.
A: The child welfare caseworker has no statutory requirement to make a referral for developmental screening. However, if s/he has concerns about the child’s development the child welfare caseworker should talk to the family about the concerns and discuss next steps. This includes families participating in a Family Assessment Response (FAR) where there are no findings. Options for next steps include:
Below is a flowchart showing where to make referrals when child abuse and/or neglect is NOT founded on a child under age five for developmental screening AND the caseworker has concerns about the child’s development. Some county departments of human/social services have developed a protocol for referring children for developmental screening. Child welfare caseworkers can work with their team/supervisors to learn about other county-specific requirements.
A: For children birth through age two, Colorado’s early intervention (EI) system is responsible for receiving and responding to referrals for a developmental screen or evaluation from child welfare.
As part of the EI system, local Community Centered Boards (CCBs) receive referrals for developmental screening and work in conjunction with the local Administrative Unit (AU) Child Find team to complete screening and/or evaluation activities.
For children ages three through four, there are several entities who may conduct developmental screening. For example:
County departments of human/social services, in collaboration with community agencies, are charged with identifying entities within their communities that are able to complete developmental screening for children age three through four. In some communities there may be many resources available to conduct developmental screening while in other communities there may be limited resources.
Child welfare directors and/or administrators can work with their local community agencies and stakeholders to identify appropriate agencies to receive developmental screening referrals. They may also work with community agencies and stakeholders to identify resource gaps or limitations and discuss how to fill these gaps.
In collaboration with stakeholders and agencies, the county department of human/social services can develop procedures with community agencies to determine what activities and communication occur after a referral is made.
A: Depending in which community the child lives, there are other opportunities for a child to receive a developmental screen.
A: It is recommended that county child welfare administrators and supervisors work with local community agencies to develop a protocol for making referrals for developmental screening. Screening agencies may have varying protocols and policies in different communities. It can be helpful for screening agencies and child welfare administrators, supervisors, and staff to provide cross-training so that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
For more information, see the following questions:
A: State and federal special education laws require AU Child Find teams to perform evaluations of children age 3 and older suspected to be a child with a disability. The AU Child Find mandate is specific to special education and does not align directly with the child welfare mandate to refer children who have been victims of abuse or neglect for developmental screening. There is no specific agency or program universally tasked with conducting developmental screening of children age three or older from the child welfare system.
Children who are victims of substantiated cases of abuse or neglect may be referred to the AU Child Find for a special education screening and/or evaluation when a worker, parent or guardian, or someone else who knows the child has concerns about the child’s development and learning. Referral of children who have been victims of child abuse and/or neglect to Child Find when they are suspected to need special education services fulfills the state level requirement for child welfare to refer for developmental screening. Referrals of children age 3 and older should be made to the AU Child Find contact in the school district in which the child resides.
Child welfare administrators are encouraged to work with local Directors of Special Education and Child Find Coordinators to discuss whether or not the AU Child Find is appropriate to refer to when a child does not exhibit a developmental delay or there are no concerns about the child’s ability to learn.
AU Child Find teams determine their local approaches and activities to identify children for special education from the general population and whether they will offer ongoing universal developmental screening as a part of their outreach efforts.
In some communities the AU Child Find provides universal developmental screening activities. In those cases, general referrals for developmental screening may be made to the AU Child Find, even when there is not an established concern about the child’s development.
AU Child Find teams who do universal preschool screening activities typically work in partnership with their Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) colleagues in the school district so that children who are not eligible for special education, but who have established educational risks (e.g. a history of substantiated child abuse and/or neglect) can be considered for state-funded preschool services.
A: The Special Education Administrative Unit (AU) has no legal responsibility related to developmental screening. In fact, no specific agency or program is universally tasked with conducting developmental screening of children over the age of three from the child welfare system.
Other public school programs, initiatives, and activities may be resources to consider when children have been victims of child abuse and/or neglect. For example, the Colorado Preschool Program, locally funded preschool options, or other school district programs, may be resources for children who are not suspected to have a need for special education. Whether and how those programs perform developmental screening depends on their unique program guidelines and processes.
A: There is no requirement to refer siblings for developmental screening. Only the children who are specifically identified as victims of abuse and/or neglect are required to be referred. For example, if a four year old is identified as a victim, but the two year old sibling is not identified as a victim, then the child welfare caseworker is only required to refer the four year old and not the two-year-old sibling for a developmental screening. However, the two year old may fall under the category of “General Child Welfare” referral as outlined in the question: What types of referrals come from child welfare for developmental screening?
A: When making a referral, the child welfare caseworker must complete the “developmental screening” window in Trails and email or fax the referral form generated in Trails.
At the time of referral, only the information that the child welfare caseworker fills out in the “Dev Screen” window in Trails can be shared with the agency receiving the referral. There is space on the “Dev Screen” for “Additional Comments” where child welfare caseworkers can include information related to the child’s development. All other information must be kept confidential until a release of information is signed.
Some examples of information that is important to share in “Additional Comments”:
A: The child welfare caseworker’s responsibility depends on whether or not the family continues to be involved with child welfare.
If the family is no longer involved with child welfare, then the child welfare caseworker does not have any further responsibility and does not have the right to share any further information about the family with the agency receiving the referral.
If the family is still involved with child welfare, then the child welfare caseworker is encouraged to take the following steps to ensure collaboration and coordinated services for the family:
A: When a local Community Centered Board or other partner within the early intervention system conducts a developmental screen of a child who has been referred (a post-referral screening), the following requirements regarding parental consent must be met:
Other entities within communities conduct developmental screens and have their own policies regarding consent.
A: Written parental consent must be obtained prior to any evaluation and/or assessment being conducted for a child age birth through two. See: Who is authorized to sign consents for developmental screenings and evaluations?
A: Whether parental consent is required prior to screening depends on the screening entity and the specific policies and procedures that govern those programs. Developmental screening is voluntary and parental involvement is critical and encouraged.
When a child is referred to AU Child Find for developmental screening, Child Find personnel must follow local policies and procedures as well as state rules for the Exceptional Children’s Education Act and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act Regulations. Whether parental consent is required for screening is dependent upon whether a special education referral has been initiated (1 CCR 301-8, 4.02 (3)):
A: If a child is referred to the AU Child Find for an educational concern and a decision has been made to evaluate to determine eligibility for Special Education, written consent is required. See: Who is authorized to sign consents for developmental screenings and evaluations?
A: Many entities within communities conduct developmental screens and have their own policies regarding consent. The following information applies to screenings and/or evaluations conducted by Community Centered Boards (CCBs) and AU Child Find under IDEA. Local CCBs and AU Child Find often have additional protocols or processes regarding consents for screenings and/or evaluations. For the full IDEA regulations, follow these links: IDEA (IDEA Part C: 34 C.F.R. 303.27 ; IDEA Part B: 34 C.F.R. 300.30.
A: Yes. The same person identified in the question: Who is authorized to sign consents for developmental screenings and evaluations? can revoke, at any time, participation in screenings, evaluations and services. Consent is voluntary and may be revoked for any evaluation or reevaluation that has not yet been conducted. (34 CRF 303.7 and 300.9(a)(b)(c)(1)and (2))
A: When the parent is incarcerated (e.g. prison or jail) and parental rights have NOT been terminated, the parent must be presented with the opportunity to provide or decline consent for screening and/or evaluation. Every attempt must be made and documented to obtain consent. If the CCB or AU Child Find is uncertain as to how to contact or is having difficulty contacting the parent(s), then the child welfare caseworker can be contacted to assist with gaining access to the parent(s).
When a parent is incarcerated in a local jail, any professional can typically arrange to meet with the parent in the facility to present the written consent form and explain the screening or evaluation process. Information is available online from the local jurisdiction as to the current location and status of anyone being held in the facility.
Parents in the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) can be contacted by mail with a letter of explanation requesting they sign and return the consent form, or contact information with the agency representative if they have questions. In Colorado, the Inmate Locator is available online to find the current prison facility where the parent is being housed: https://www.colorado.gov/cdoc/.
A: Early identification of developmental delays results in children getting the supports and services they need to do well in social and educational settings. Developmental screening is a routine and ongoing health and wellness activity for all families with young children. The following schedule of screenings is recommended for all children during well child visits:
A: Starting at birth and continuing throughout childhood, children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act and move. Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye –bye” are called developmental milestones. Developmental milestones provide a general idea of the changes to expect as a child gets older and more information can be found online at “From Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive! A Child Welfare Caseworker’s Guide for Developmental and Behavioral Screening”.
A. Screening and/or evaluation activities under IDEA are voluntary. When consent is required under IDEA (CCB or Child Find) (See consent-related questions to determine when consent for screening and/or evaluation is required), the parent may decline consent or choose not to engage in screening and/or evaluation. When this occurs, the CCB or AU Child Find documents that consent was not provided and the referral is closed.
Some of the reasons parent(s) who are involved with child welfare choose not to engage in voluntary screening and/or evaluation services include:
Child welfare, early intervention, and education staff can help decrease the barriers through family engagement based on respect for both the child and parent, and strong communication that is necessary for effective collaboration between systems. Below are some talking points that may be helpful when speaking with families:
If a parent initially declines to consent to developmental screening or evaluation but the family remains involved with child welfare and there are concerns about the child’s development, then the child welfare ongoing worker may take additional steps (such as seeking a court order, assigning an educational surrogate, etc.).
A: Research demonstrates a clear relationship between child maltreatment and poor developmental outcomes for children. In one study, 47% of children with substantiated cases of child abuse and/or neglect had developmental problems in one or more domains (Ward, 2009). Areas of development often impacted by child maltreatment include social and emotional, cognitive, physical, and overall health. Even so, national studies have also shown that children that are maltreated continue to be underrepresented in Part C services. Reasons for this include difficulties in data tracking between child welfare and early intervention, families choosing not to accept or engage in voluntary services, and lack of training of child welfare and early intervention providers.
While all areas of development may be impacted by child abuse and neglect, it is well documented that social-emotional development is the domain most affected. As many as 70% of children who have been victims of child abuse and/or neglect will display long-term emotional and behavioral problems (USDHHS-ASPE, 2008). Social and emotional and behavioral issues of children impacted by abuse or neglect may include attachment issues, difficulty developing social relationships with peers, posttraumatic stress disorder, and antisocial behaviors. Increased levels of cortisol caused by traumatic experiences and stress may actually alter brain development, ultimately impacting both cognition and behavior. Those performing developmental screening may naturally find it easier to observe and document delays in cognitive, language, and physical development than with social-emotional development. Unless screening procedures and tools are specifically focused on identifying issues related to social-emotional functioning, concerns may not be identified.
In order to accurately identify social-emotional and behavioral issues associated with abuse or neglect, it is recommended that developmental screening procedures for this population include involvement with professionals with specific knowledge and skills in identifying social-emotional concerns. It is also recommended that developmental screening include the use of standardized tools designed specifically to identify social-emotional concerns. One commonly utilized screening tool which focuses exclusively on identifying concerns about social and emotional development is the Ages and Stages Questionnaires - Social-Emotional.
A: When a child is determined eligible for either early intervention or special education services, it is important to remember that all services are voluntary and that there are clear Procedural Safeguards for both early intervention/Part C (birth through two) and special education/Part B (3-21).
In the early intervention system, parent(s) must give consent to have their child screened and/or evaluated and the parent(s) have the right to decline screening and/or evaluation, and services.
For special education, parent(s) must give consent for both special education evaluation and provision of services. Parent(s) have the right to decline special education evaluation and services.
A: Parents are encouraged to discuss any disagreements with the results with those who conducted the developmental screening. It is important to discuss and resolve differences between various sources of information when they exist. If a parent feels the screening results do not accurately represent the child’s development it is important to consider gathering additional sources of information and to determine appropriate next steps collaboratively.
Consent: (see consent questions)
Screening and/or Evaluation activities: Parents’ knowledge about their child’s abilities, behavior, preferences, and experiences is an integral part of developmental screening and/or evaluation activities for very young children. A primary focus of professionals in conducting screening and/or evaluation is to team with parents to bring parent knowledge of the child forward at every stage in the screening and evaluation process. Information from professional observation and interaction with the child directly should always be interpreted along with relevant contextual information provided by the parent. Parents are integral members of the team along with the professionals who conduct screening and/or evaluation activities. In order to support parents in their role on the team, professionals are encouraged to provide information about the process and allow parents to make decisions about their desired levels of participation. Typical ways parents participate in screening and/or evaluation activities include: family interviews, completion of developmental checklists, engaging in a daily routine or play with their child while others observe, sharing relevant medical or health history, and interpreting child behavior and language.
Division of Early Childhood Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education: http://www.dec-sped.org/recommendedpractices
A: After consent and the release of information has been obtained from the appropriate individual, the role of the foster or kinship provider can be determined through conversation between the child welfare caseworker and the screening entity. For example, it may be appropriate to involve both the biological parent and foster or kinship provider in the screening and/or evaluation of the child. In addition, if a foster or kinship provider has not presented the child for scheduled screening and/or evaluation activities, the child welfare caseworker should be contacted to determine next steps.
When a parent has declined to consent for either screening and/or evaluation, and a foster/kinship provider has a concern about the child’s development, the child welfare caseworker should be notified. The child welfare caseworker can then talk to his/her supervisor to determine next steps, such as talking with the parent(s) about their decision not to consent, notifying the court, and/or exploring the need for the court to appoint an educational surrogate.
In certain circumstances, the foster or kinship provider may be able to sign consents for screening and/or evaluation. For more information, see question: Who is authorized to sign consents for developmental screening and evaluations?
A: After the referral for a developmental screening is made to a Community Centered Board (CCB) for a child birth through age two, the CCB is required to send a referral status update form to the referral source to let them know the referral was received and to provide service coordinator contact information. With parental consent for release of information, additional information can be sent such as results of the screening and/or evaluation.
When a referral for a developmental screening is made to any other agency (doctor, AU Child Find, etc.), then it depends on that agency’s policies and processes whether the child welfare caseworker can expect to receive a status of the referral. To help in the process, the child welfare caseworker should have the family complete release of information forms and follow-up with both the family and the agency to discuss completion of the screening and next steps.
A: Once a referral is received by the Community Centered Board (CCB) or AU Child Find, the agency must notify the other of the referral within three business days, the CCB must assign a service coordinator to the family within three business days, and contact the family as soon as possible, but no longer than seven calendar days, to introduce them to the EI program and schedule a screening or evaluation to occur within 45 days of referral.
The service coordinator will send a referral status update form to the referral source to let them know the referral was received and provide service coordinator contact information. With parental consent, additional information can be sent to the referral source such as results of the screening and/or evaluation.
A: There is no specific agency or program universally tasked with conducting developmental screening of children from the child welfare system, so programs to which referrals are made will follow their own guidelines and requirements.
Referrals of children age three through four for developmental screening will be handled dependent on program guidelines, resources, and requirements of the various programs to which the child is referred.
Child welfare administrators are encouraged to develop relationships with local program personnel to which child welfare caseworkers will refer so that they will be familiar with the specific programs in their community, including the timelines, resources, and program requirements that may have a bearing on the provision of developmental screening.
A: When a referral is appropriately made to AU Child Find for a child aged 3 or older (See question: When is it appropriate to refer to the AU Child Find?), the AU Child Find team will handle the referral as defined in the AU’s specific procedures. Some AUs may conduct screening prior to determining if the referral warrants an evaluation for special education, other AUs may begin the process with an evaluation. Child welfare caseworkers may receive child-specific information with written release of information from the parent.
A: A multi-disciplinary evaluation and assessment is conducted by two or more qualified personnel from different disciplines and looks at all areas of development including:
Based on the information gathered through a multidisciplinary evaluation, a child is determined eligible for early intervention services if s/he is exhibiting a delay of 25% or greater in at least one area of development. Multi-disciplinary evaluations for children, birth through age two, are generally conducted by AU Child Find Teams.
A: Children three years or older referred for special education services receive an evaluation to determine if they are a child with an educational disability as defined by the state, and the nature and extent of the special education and related services the child needs. If a Part B evaluation is necessary, it is the responsibility of the local AU Child Find to receive and respond to evaluation requests.
A: As defined by federal law, there are fifteen early intervention services that the EI Colorado Program can fund for a child who has been determined eligible through the evaluation process.
A: Child find refers to the activities performed through local education agencies to locate, identify, and evaluate children who may be in need of special education services. Child find is not a program; it is a process carried out by local AU Child Find teams to identify children eligible for special education services.
Children aged 3 and older determined eligible for special education services typically receive a general education preschool experience along with specially designed instruction from a special educator or speech language therapist to support the child to receive reasonable benefit from general education. Some children found eligible for special education services may also need related support services, such as transportation, developmental, corrective, or other support services, to assist a child with a disability to benefit from general education.
Preschool aged children who are not suspected to need special education services, who have a past or present experience of child abuse and/or neglect, and/or who are in foster care may be considered by local school districts for state-funded preschool from the Colorado Preschool Program.
For answers to frequently asked questions about mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect, please click HERE
For answers to frequently asked questions about SB15-87 Safe Placement of Children and Youth in Foster Care, please click HERE
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 www.ebtedge.com.
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).
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.
The CDHS Division of Child Welfare continuously updates this document to answer frequently asked questions from providers about rate implementation.
Q: What treatment services are available if youth are detained to a Division of Youth Services (DYS) youth center?
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 youth center 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 youth center 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 youth center cannot legally provide medical or psychiatric services.
Q: What treatment services are available to youth if they are committed to a DYS youth center?
A: Services that may be available at a youth center 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 youth center? Who determines the length of stay and where my son/daughter will go after placement?
A: The length of stay in a youth center 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 youth center, 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 youth center 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 youth centers 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 youth centers. Youth centers also provide a schedule of visiting hours for approved visitors. Please visit the CDHS Youth Centers 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 youth center 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 youth centers allow additional publications to be sent to your son/daughter (such as magazines). The youth center 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 youth center 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 youth center grievance process and is able to file a grievance at any time without interference. As the parent of a youth residing in a DYS youth center, you are encouraged to contact the youth center Administrator(s) or one of the two Directors of Facility Operations. Additionally, you can contact the Child Protection Ombudsman of Colorado (CPO). The CPO is an independent, neutral state agency charged with reviewing complaints concerning publicly-funded services provided for the safety, permanency and well-being of children in Colorado. To submit a confidential complaint, you can call (720) 625-8640 or visit the CPO's website at www.coloradocpo.org.
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 youth centers?
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 youth center, 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.