- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Counties aren’t properly conducting background checks before placing children in the care of relatives, according to a first-of-its-kind review by the Colorado Department of Human Services.

Social workers are required to do four background checks on people in the homes of relatives who have been asked to take care of children removed by authorities from their parents’ care. Workers from the department’s child welfare division reviewed the records of 46 of the state’s 64 counties that had kinship placement records and found that only 65 percent of the required checks were done, KMGH-TV (https://bit.ly/1yZQrQ2 ) reported Wednesday.

Some smaller rural counties, including Delta, Rio Grande and Archuleta, were found to have performed a quarter or less of the checks. Weld, Broomfield, Boulder and Crowley were among the best counties for doing checks, with Broomfield and Crowley both completing all the required checks.

The audit was done in response to the television station’s report about how Denver placed four children with a registered sex offender and then a convicted child abuser.

Denver was found to have completed 53 percent of the required reviews- an FBI criminal history check, a state child welfare database check, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation criminal history check and a fingerprint check.



Julie Krow, director of the state’s Office of Children Youth and Families, said auditors often had to stop their work to contact counties with missing checks to make sure children were safe.

“This is the first time that we’ve ever done a review of this nature,” she said. “This was a huge learning opportunity for the state and the counties.”

The state is planning visits to counties to help ensure they are complying with the law, but other needed changes will cost more money, Krow said. She said the state’s 1980s-era computer reporting system needs to be replaced so it can provide real-time information, and many counties don’t have enough caseworkers or supervisors.

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Information from: KMGH-TV, https://www.thedenverchannel.com

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Information from: KMGH-TV, https://www.thedenverchannel.com

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