Who is protecting our kids?


Kaitlyn Bush, Rookie Reporter

What is Child Protective Services and what do they do? There was a 13% decline in calls to Child Protective Services during the pandemic. You normally see this type of drop during the summer because there aren’t people able to report abuse if they can’t see it, but there was also an increase of 16 % in calls from family members. How does the system work to protect kids?

Once something has been to the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) a case worker picks up the report and does an investigation to see if the child is in a home where they are being mistreated or at risk of being mistreated, or if the child is under imminent threat. Taking a child away from their parents is a last resort. DCFS is required to investigate all the cases they get.  

What are reasons that a child is taken away from a parent? After a report is made, a case worker will go out to the home of the child and decide if the home is fit for the child. If it’s not, then the DCFS will move the child to a stable home, either with a family member or with a foster family. 

Required reporters are people who are required to report to DCFS if they see a child with marks of abuse or neglect. Required reporters are legal guardians, teachers, daycare providers, employees or volunteers of a residential family. The things that they are required to report to authorities are physical bruising, scratches and cuts that seem to be frequent, if a child appears to have problems sitting or using the restroom, and personal conversations with a child. If a child says anything about being abused at home, the required reporters have to send in a report to CPS. 

 According to The Gazette one of the problems Colorado is facing with Child Protective Services is staffing. The average worker gets 67 cases. The states make a number of how many case workers and supervisors should be in a county’s Department of Family and Child

Services unit. These numbers aren’t uniform; Denver should have about 50 more case workers to meet the suggestion. Another problem is the mental health of foster children. Some of the children are taken away from their parents at really young ages and  can develop an anxiety disorder or PTSD from the event; foster children also can potentially have major drug or alcohol abuse. 

When a child turns 18 they are allowed to leave the foster care system when they want, but the child can stay in the foster home until they are 21.  In Colorado when a child turns 18 the guardian has no legal obligation to let the child stay in the home. 

There are programs in Colorado to help foster children who age out of the system. The Colorado Chafee Program is a program that provides ex foster children with housing, jobs, and financial management. Another program that works with foster care and youth transitioning out of foster care is National Youth Transition Database . They work with kids in and out of foster care. The Database keeps information about the children like age, race, blood type, and name. The National Transition Database starts to keep up with the kids in the foster care system when they turn 17, they take surveys and then when they turn 19, and at 21 they take  follow-up surveys. All of the services help the children in the long run. 

If you or someone you know is in a toxic situation here are some places you can go to for help. Children’s Colorado Hospital. You can also call 844-CO-Kids. The number is open all day.