Kit Carson County child welfare trying to recover after turmoil, mishandled cases

Jennifer Brown
The Denver Post

DENVER — When state investigators reviewed Kit Carson County’s child welfare division, they counted 73 cases of suspected child abuse and neglect with no documented follow-up to show whether those kids were safe.

They discovered 28 children whose cases were assigned to child protection workers who didn’t even work for the county anymore. And in one case that resulted in the former director’s conviction for “failure to report child abuse,” a 14-year-old girl gave birth to a 21-year-old man’s baby and the child welfare division did not open an investigation.

After years of disarray, staff turnover and lax paperwork, the small, rural county near the Kansas border is trying to recover. Kit Carson County’s two-person child welfare division has been operating for several months under a “performance improvement plan” imposed by the state and recently released to The Denver Post ( ) under public-records laws. It has hired a new human services director who is following up to make sure children are safe, difficult because many case notes were in file drawers, some missing or destroyed, instead of the state child welfare computer system.

Records were so incomplete that one abuse and neglect case opened in 1993 was never resolved, leaving state officials to question whether the child — an adult by now — had died, been adopted or stayed with family.

Read the rest of the story at The Denver Post.

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