Management Team & Organization

Senior management team

michelle-barnes.jpgMichelle Barnes is the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, whose mission is to collaboratively design and deliver high-quality human and health services that improve the safety, independence, and well-being of the people of Colorado. Coming most recently from the nonprofit sector, Barnes has held leadership positions in a variety of organizations in different sectors. In 2008, she founded Interim Leadership Solutions to lead organizations in transition by serving as the interim CEO, including Food Bank of the Rockies, Senior Housing Options and Tourette Association. Other roles were in youth development, domestic violence, environmental sustainability, getting youth active in the outdoors, and early childhood education. She currently volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate. Barnes also spent a dozen years in high-tech marketing/communications and holds an M.B.A. from UCLA and an B.A. from William and Mary.

jerene-petersen.jpgJerene Petersen is the Deputy Executive Director for Community Partnerships. Petersen is responsible for operational oversight of the external entities and agencies with whom the Department contracts and partners. She provides supervision for the Office of Children, Youth and Families; Office of Economic Security; Office of Early Childhood; Aging and Adult Services Division; Office of Behavioral Health Community Programs; County Services; and Client Services/Controlled Correspondence. Petersen recently served as the Vice Chair of the State Board of Human Services. She came to CDHS from Mile High United Way, where she was the Chief Program Officer. Previously, she served at Denver Human Services, where she led implementation of the city’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, and restructured the way in which city government collaborated with nonprofits to promote a broader collective impact in the community. She also served as executive director of Urban Peak, a nationally recognized nonprofit serving homeless and runaway youth.

robert-werthwein.jpgDr. Robert Werthwein is the Acting Deputy Executive Director of Operations and the Director of the Office of Behavioral Health.  As acting deputy executive director of operations, he oversees the Office of Administrative Solutions, the Office of Performance and Strategic Outcomes, three Regional Centers, four Colorado Veterans Community Living Centers, the Division of Youth Corrections, and two Mental Health Institutes. As director of the Office of Behavior Health, he directs the operations and administrative oversight of the public behavioral health system including programs consisting of mental health and substance use community programs, as well as operation of the Colorado Mental Health Institutes at Fort Logan and Pueblo. The OBH Director also leads in providing policy, performance management, fiscal and administrative tools, and oversight to a large group of mental health facilities, treatment centers and clinics statewide. Dr. Werthwein earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Howard University. His training focused on the treatment of under-served populations and research of improved care delivery systems.

katie-mcloughlin.jpgKatie McLoughlin is the Chief Legal Director. She is responsible for overseeing the legal functionings of the Department and partnering with the Attorney General’s office on legal strategy. In this role, McLoughlin oversees disputes between employees and the State Personnel Board, the Department’s HIPAA compliance program, and the Office of Appeals. She also advises on legislation. McLoughlin was previously Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Deputy Legal Counsel from 2015-18. Before joining the Governor’s office, she was a litigation associate with Cooley, LLP in Boston and a Judicial Clerk for the Honorable William G. Young of the United States District Court in Massachusetts.


jeremy-hill.jpgJeremy Hill is the Director of the Office of Administrative Solutions (OAS). OAS is responsible for the management of the administrative functions of CDHS through five divisions including: Human Resources, Business Technology, Facilities Management, and Emergency Management. Jeremy has been with CDHS for five years and started as the Director of the Contracts and Procurement Unit. Prior to coming to the Department, Hill represented CDHS as an Assistant Attorney General.



robert-jakubowski.jpgRobert Jakubowski, Ph.D., is the Acting Director of the Office of Performance and Strategic Outcomes. He is responsible for the Department's approach to performance management (C-Stat), its $2.2 billion budget, and quality assurance, audit, and two-generation efforts. Ultimately, OPSO is charged with ensuring CDHS is equipped with the needed information, data, tools and strategies to deliver the best programs and facilities to the most vulnerable Coloradoans every single day. Prior to joining CDHS, Jakubowski spent several years in leadership roles at Denver Public Schools, where he helped architect new systems related to performance monitoring, strategic planning and program evaluation. For close to 20 years, Jakubowski has assisted more than 30 nonprofits and public-sector organizations improve their systems, strategies and performance routines to move their missions forward.

maryanne-snyder.jpgMary Anne Snyder is the Director of the Office of Early Childhood. Since 2012, she’s overseen in her role the administration of child-care licensing and subsidy programs, quality initiatives, early intervention, child maltreatment prevention, home visitation, mental health programs, and Head Start. The Office provides effective and efficient service delivery for families of young children, striving to improve kindergarten readiness, increase early literacy, prevent child abuse and neglect, and treat early‐identified developmental. Previously, Snyder was the executive director of the Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund, served as the founding President of the Celebrate Children Foundation, and was a member of the Wisconsin Governor’s Advisory Council on Early Care and Education.


mark-wester.jpgMark J. Wester, MS, is the Director of the Office of Community Access and Independence. Wester has directed the operations of programs and facilities that assist veterans, the elderly and individuals with disabilities since November 2015. OCAI is comprised of four divisions: Aging and Adult Services, Veterans Community Living Centers, Regional Centers, and Disability Determination Services. The OCAI Director takes the lead in providing policy, performance management, fiscal and administrative tools, and instruction to 64 county social services departments, five state veterans’ homes and three Regional Centers. Wester’s background prior to joining CDHS includes 15 years of progressive management experience in behavioral health, organizational development and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services, including multi-site and multi-state leadership.


minna-castillocohen.jpgMinna Castillo Cohen is the Director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families, holding the position since November 2017.  Ms. Cohen is responsible for directing the operations of programs and facilities that improve the safety, independence and well-being of Colorado’s children, youth and families. She will oversee OCYF’s three divisions -- Child Welfare, Youth Services and the Domestic Violence Program -- as well as the Colorado Juvenile Parole Board. She has served for 20 years in the nonprofit sector, with all of her work focused on serving children, youth and families. Castillo Cohen’s experience includes serving immigrant and refugee youth through prevention projects focused on substance use prevention, bicultural competence, identity development and mentoring; providing fiscal management and oversight of the quality improvement initiatives for early education classrooms across Denver; and building and maintaining relationships with community partners across sectors to understand and address current community needs, trends, and gaps in resources.   

Ki'i PowellKi'i Powell,  Ph.D., is the Director of the Office of Economic Security. Powell directs the operations of programs that provide income, nutritional and support services to those in need, including child support services; Colorado Works (Colorado’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program); food and nutrition services (including Colorado’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program); and refugee services. Powell has worked with CDHS since 2010. Her previous roles were research and evaluation manager and Performance Management Director in the Division of Child Welfare, where she built and managed the CDHS performance management approach known as C-Stat. Prior to joining CDHS, Powell held research and evaluation roles with the Colorado Division of Mental Health Data and Evaluation and the Hawaii Department of Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division. 

sarah-devore.jpgSarah L. DeVore, MPA, MSTC, is the Director of the Division of Budget and Policy. She has served in her current role since May 2014. DeVore directs the development of the Department's operating and capital budgets. The Division serves as the primary point of contact for OSPB and the JBC. DeVore's background prior to serving in her current role included positions as the Department’s Legislative Liaison, Government Affairs Manager at Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Budget Analyst for Gov. Bill Ritter, and a Policy Analyst at the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.





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