MESA COUNTY, Colo. There's a statewide effort to prevent child abuse in Colorado.
Thirteen counties are getting grant money from the state to help families in need. Mesa County is on that list and is partnering with Hilltop to provide resources to families that aren't already in the child welfare system.
Tracey Garchar, Executive Director for Mesa County Department of Human Services, said, "Communities and families do a lot better job of raising children then the Department of Human Services does."
The program led by Governor John Hickenlooper is called Colorado Community Response. It's part of the Governor's "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy 2.0" child welfare plan.
Coordinator for Family Connections at Hilltop, Margery Grandboche said, "The partnership that we have with Mesa County will allow families that are in need, families that are temporarily struggling to access service without having to open a case with the Department of Human Services."
Mesa County plans to start the Colorado Community Response program in January. "So there will be warm hand off that takes place, introducing families to services that are available, helping with application processes, just ensuring that families are getting the services that they need," said Grandboche.
"That's really the beauty of the program because it allows us to refer families back out into the community to receive services," said Garchar.
In total, counties will receive $728,000. Mesa County will receive $75,000 of it, enough to help an additional 25 families in our area. Garchar said, "Involvement in child welfare is not the appropriate involvement. They just need some support to help them deal with regular struggles that they're dealing with in their life and the community, now with this grant, is able to help them deal with a number of issues."
"It's fabulous to be able work in a community that we collaborate with other agencies to serve the greater good for everybody," said Grandboche.
The grant expires in June 2014. Two other counties on the Western Slope are getting money as well. Eagle County in partnership with Eagle Count School District, and Montrose County in partnership with Hilltop Community Resources.