The CPO’s Top 5 Highlights from 2022

This past year was an eventful one for the Office of the Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman (CPO) as our agency continues to grow and better serve every child, family and community in our state. Before we transition to the many new and exciting things coming in 2023, we’re ringing in the New Year by taking a look back at some of our top highlights from 2022:

#5 Collaborating on Policies for Children & Families
Our efforts at the State Capitol this year led to the overwhelming passage of HB 22-1375 and HB 22-1240, creating two task forces to address youth running away from out-of-home placements and Colorado’s mandatory child abuse reporting law, respectively. Serving as an independent, objective resource for the legislature, we also contributed testimony on several other bills impacting our state’s child protection system.

#4 Expanded National Presence
Our innovative approach and achievements continue to garner attention across the country as we are widely recognized as a national leader in child protection ombudsman work. Hosting presentations at national conferences, participating in global expert panels and consulting with other states looking to model our efforts, our agency is not only creating a more effective child protection system for Colorado but assisting others across the nation in doing the same for their state.

#3 New Team Members
It was a year of transition and growth as five new faces joined our team. In August, we brought in Michael Teague to serve in the new Communications Coordinator position. Our client services team added three new analysts in September with Brittany Cornelius, Abigail Koch and Tiffany Lewis coming onboard. Our latest addition came in November with the hiring of Jennifer Superka as our new Director of Legislative Affairs and Policy. 

#2 Growing Number of People Served
The number of youth, parents, caretakers, child protection professionals and other community members contacting our agency continued to increase in 2022 as we opened 965 cases during the calendar year. From behavioral health issues, to domestic violence issues, to questions about specific child welfare practices, we continued to serve as a valuable resource for people in Colorado navigating a complex system.

#1 Launch of Task Forces
Taking a major step toward making Colorado national leader in child protection reform, our agency successfully launched two historic task forces that are addressing two of the most pressing and difficult challenges facing the system. The Timothy Montoya Task Force began analyzing and addressing youth running away from foster care and residential treatment facilities in September, while December marked the first meeting of the Mandatory Reporting Task Force that is working to create a more effective child abuse reporting system for our state.