CDHS leaders hold fourth annual Tribal Consultation

DENVER (Oct. 18, 2017)—Members of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) leadership team met with representatives from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs and county and community partners in Towaoc for their fourth annual CDHS-Tribal Consultation earlier this month.

The consultation, which took place in Towaoc on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation in Towaoc, offered a forum to advance the government-to-government relationship between CDHS and the tribes. It also helped to continue crucial conversations on funding to support child welfare, behavioral health services, early childhood initiatives, food security, and adult and aging services.

“Our strong partnership with the tribes in Colorado is essential to maintaining respect and continued collaboration between our governments,” said CDHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha. “These important conversations reflect the significant achievements of our ongoing work on improving child welfare, increasing economic security, and developing the lasting relationships that help foster a friendship between our people that will endure for generations.”

In 2011, CDHS joined the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, the Colorado Ute tribes, and Denver Indian Health and Family Services to establish annual state-tribal consultations and develop guidelines for ongoing intergovernmental relations and communications.Through the consultations, tribal representatives have shared needs around child welfare and early childhood services in particular, prompting CDHS to make funding available to tribes more flexible. Colorado has also offered trainings to tribal staff to help improve child welfare and adult protection, prevent domestic violence and respond to mental health crises. Tribal consultations are essential to ensuring that vital health and wellness services provided to every Colorado are available to tribal communities on reservations.  

“The October 2017 CDHS and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Tribal collaboration meeting has greatly helped our respective governmental departments as well as our clients who have benefitted from an ever-growing identification of funding and resources,” said Kermit Palmer, Executive Director of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. “While even the best partnerships face challenges from time to time, our differences are relatively few in the context of the number areas the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has identified as needs. This was our fourth annual meeting, and we took time to review our successes and to formulate how to better move forward. The annual meeting and ongoing communication throughout the year has fostered the mutual understanding and personal relationships that will help the State of Colorado and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to continue to thrive, improve our partnership and collaboration, and strengthen our relationship.”

“The tribe values the important relationship with the Colorado Department of Human Services. Both governments recognize the priority to develop and strengthen resources designed to protect Native American children, for example the Division of Social Services Foster Care program, as well as preserving the right to exercise the Indian Child Welfare Act,” said Chairman Clement Frost of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe sincerely appreciates the hard-working and rewarding collaboration with CDHS.”

Partners present at the CDHS-Tribal Consultation included: Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, La Plata County Department of Human Services, Montezuma County Social Services, and Denver Indian Family Resource Center.

For more information on CDHS-Tribal relations, click here.

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