A Montezuma County panel designed to provide a forum for social services employees investigating child abuse to air their grievances has been without a member for months, and a current member’s term expires this year.
The Citizens Review Panel, which is supposed to have three members, has been without a third since October. Liz Tozer’s term expires this October.
The board was created in response to a 2019 state-led investigation into the Montezuma County Department of Social Services, which claimed the department violated state law nine times and state regulations 58 times after reviewing 15 child protection cases from June 2014 to December 2018.
The three most serious issues with Social Services’ practices outlined in the Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman’s report were delayed response to reports of abuse and neglect; noncompliant information sharing with law enforcement; and inadequate supervision of child welfare cases.
The county is looking to fill the two positions on the panel as soon as possible. Membership on the panel is unpaid and meets as cases come up for review.
It’s required that members represent the community, have demonstrable knowledge and experience with children and not be employees or agents of any county department. At least one member of the panel needs to be the parent of a minor child at the time of his or her appointment.
Applications can be submitted no later than Feb. 12 at the Montezuma County Offices located at 109 W. Main St. in Cortez.