Pitkin County will take over child welfare in the midvalley | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County will take over child welfare in the midvalley

ASPEN – Pitkin and Eagle counties are prepared to take another step to divvy up social-services responsibilities in the mid-Roaring Fork Valley.

The counties are working on an agreement for Pitkin County to take over child welfare programs and adult protective services in the El Jebel and Basalt areas.

“Eagle County Adult and Family Services have identified many challenges in providing child welfare and adult protection staffing and services to their most vulnerable residents in the Roaring Fork Valley,” said a memo to the Pitkin County commissioners from Kim DuBois, Pitkin County’s adult and family services manager.

Most of the problem stems from geography. The county seat is Eagle, 50 miles from El Jebel. Eagle County attempts to run a satellite office in the Roaring Fork Valley, but the effectiveness is in question.

“Local partners and citizens frequently voice concerns about Eagle’s inconsistent accessibility and availability of staff,” DuBois wrote in her memo.

In the agreement, Pitkin County agrees to add a state-qualified caseworker to oversee additional cases in the midvalley. It will handle all aspects of child welfare and adult protection – conducting investigations, determining responses and handling court cases.

Recommended Stories For You

Eagle County will provide an estimated $132,972 for services from June 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. That will include hiring the caseworker and covering supervisory and administrative costs associated with the position.

The agreement is expected in the next 45 days. The Pitkin County commissioners stressed Tuesday that they want the program monitored to make sure Eagle County’s contribution covers the services Pitkin County provides. And they want the agreement to provide a way out in case Pitkin County ends up losing money on the agreement.

But they also expressed support for the regional approach.

“It’s not an annexation but an annexation of services,” Commissioner Rachel Richards said.

There have been earlier efforts to coordinate social services. Eagle County provides public assistance programs for Pitkin County in the midvalley. Eagle County has contracted with Community Health Services to provide prenatal care to its Roaring Fork Valley residents.

scondon@aspentimes.com