In April 2018, the CPO received a call from a Montezuma County citizen who was concerned that a Montezuma County Department of Social Services (MCDSS) caseworker failed to assess 28 child abuse and neglect cases. That call sparked a nine-month investigation by the CPO into the MCDSS’ child welfare case practices. That investigation revealed that the MCDSS case practices impacted the safety of a least a dozen children. In total, the investigation revealed that the MCDSS violated state law and regulations 67 times in the handling of 21 referrals and assessments.
MCDSS practices impacted more than just their casework. Such practices eroded some community member’s trust in MCDSS. The CPO’s investigation also detailed systemic issues identified by citizens and child protection stakeholders in Montezuma County.