BILL SUMMARY for SB09-164
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Moved to refer Senate Bill 09-164 to the Committee||PASS|
02:25 PM -- Senate Bill 09-164
Representative Miklosi presented Senate Bill 09-164, which establishes the Child Welfare Training Academy in the Department of Human Services. The academy will provide training and certification to new county child welfare caseworkers and supervisors. He stated that the department is required to promulgate rules and that all new staff are required to attend and complete the academy. Members commented on the recommendations by the Child Welfare Action Committee. Committee members asked questions of the sponsor. A handout in support of the bill was provided to the committee (Attachment A).
02:36 PM -- Cheryl Ternes, Director of Arapahoe County Social Services, spoke in favor of the bill. Ms. Ternes stated that as a condition of employment, an employee must successfully complete the courses at the training academy. Representative Gagliardi asked how the department has addressed cross-communication between counties. She responded that the counties have increased their communication and that part of the training at the academy will include training on entering information into the statewide database so that counties have better data. Committee members asked several questions of the witness. Ms. Ternes stated that there is no guarantee that child fatalities can be prevented. She stated that the department does not take child deaths lightly. She stated that one area to improve upon is training along with promoting education and using resources wisely. In response to Representative Kagan's questions regarding the amount of money that the training academy has been appropriated, Ms. Ternes stated that establishing a training academy for $800,000 is the best investment at this time.
02:52 PM -- Pat Ratliff, Colorado Counties Inc. (CCI), stated that CCI strongly supports this piece of legislation. She stated that having a highly trained social services staff is well worth $800,000. She stated that for $800,000, each county would not be able to hire one additional person, so a training academy is a great investment. She stated that every state has some level of training. Ms. Ratliff responded to committee questions.
03:05 PM -- Theresa Spahn, Office of the Child's Representative, testified in support of the bill. She stated that there are several areas where the department can improve. She stated that there is not consistent training throughout all of the counties. Ms. Spahn described how individuals who deal with the intake of children can differ throughout the state. She stated that when the training academy is implemented, this problem can be addressed and remedied. She concurred with Ms. Ratliff's testimony that the $800,000 appropriation is best used for training versus increasing staff.
03:12 PM -- Monica Mendoza, Colorado Association of Family and Children Agencies, spoke in favor of the bill. She stated that as a member of the Child Welfare Action Committee, she strongly supports the bill and feels that the use of the $800,000 is the best bang for the state's buck. She stated that the training involved to be a social services employee requires a specific skill set.
03:16 PM -- Bill Hanna, Director of Government Affairs, Colorado Department of Human Services, and Karen Beye, Executive Director, Department of Human Services, spoke in favor of the bill. Mr. Hanna spoke to the Child Welfare Action Committee's recommendations. He stated that this is the only recommendation that carriers a fiscal note. He stated that the department, the Child Welfare Action Committee, and the Governor support this legislation. He stated that some of the issues that have broken down within the system concern communication. He spoke to several other recommendations of the Child Welfare Action Committee that will improve the child welfare system such as reviewing the TRAILS system, increasing staffing, and evaluating the overall administration of the social service system.
03:24 PM -- Karen Beye, Executive Director, Department of Human Services, spoke to the training that occurs across counties. She stated that the academy will ensure that consistent training occurs. She stated that some employees working in the system had been waiting over six months to complete the appropriate training. She stated that the department strongly supports investing in training. Ms. Beye responded to committee questions.
Representative Miklosi provided concluding remarks to the bill.
|TIME: || 03:35:42 PM|
|MOTION:||Moved to refer Senate Bill 09-164 to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a 10-1 roll call vote.|
Final YES: 10 NO: 1 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
Representative Riesberg stated the committee should watch the calendar closely as things may come up on short notice. The committee adjourned.