Everyone in the community plays a role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Colorado has one toll-free phone number to report child abuse and neglect 24/7, 365 days a year. Please call the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437) to report concerns about a child’s safety and well-being. All calls are confidential and will be routed to the county where a child resides. If it is an emergency or you are witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation, call 911 immediately.
SEDGWICK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
The Sedgwick County Department of Human Services is a State Supervised, County Administered agency that serves a wide variety of people from different walks of life. Assistance is available to individuals or families, in a wide array of services when certain income and resource criteria are met. The Federal Government provides the main source of funding for the various programs administered by the Sedgwick County Department of Human Services, with additional finding from State and County resources. Under most programs, the federal and state funding levels are at 80% of the total cost of running the program. All states must follow prescribed rules and regulations promulgated by the Federal Government in the administration of the programs. In addition, all counties in Colorado must adhere to strict regulations set forth by the Colorado Department of Human Services. This results in uniformity in the delivery of services throughout the United States and within each county of Colorado. All programs available through the Sedgwick County Department of Human Services are mandated under federal and state law. Under federal statute, States must made funds available for certain programs.
One of the most widely known of all programs is TANF or Temporary Aid to Needy Families, formerly known as AFDC. With the passage of Welfare Reform, or the Personal Work and Responsibilities Opportunity Reform Act in 1996, all states were required to implement a plan that would reduce reliance on government through stable employment and other methods of self-sufficiency. Colorado’s State Plan is called Colorado Works. Income criteria must be met in order to be eligible for Colorado Works. Individuals and families eligible for financial benefits under the Colorado Works program must be working or in a work-related activity during the first 24 months of receiving benefits or their entire case closes. Every adult over the age of 18 and receiving benefits as a caretaker has a lifetime maximum of 60 cumulative months of eligibility. Every parent or caretaker relative who receives assistance under Colorado Works is required to engage in an Individual Responsibility Contract, or IRC. There are no exemptions. All expenses accrued under the Colorado Works program are reimbursed at 80%.
When a family is approved for Colorado Works, the family is referred for Child Support Services, or CSS. The CSS unit locates the non-custodial parent, establishes orders for paternity and/or child support, and enforces payment of the order. If the family has received financial assistance in any county in the State of Colorado, the order (when established) will include a judgment for part or all of the statewide public assistance expended. When the non-custodial parent pays the judgment, the State of Colorado retains the money. This reduces the amount of money spent by the State and by taxpayers for the TANF assistance. When a non-custodial parent pays their child support obligation, families can obtain and/or maintain self-sufficiency. In 2013, the State of Colorado collected $335,510,693.82 in child support. The Sedgwick County CSS unit collected $223,434.59 in 2013 and met all performance goals established by the State Department. This program can provide services to anyone, regardless of income, who pays a one-time $20.00 fee.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The average monthly amount of food assistance benefits in Sedgwick County is $30,160.00, all of which is funded entirely by the USDA. SNAP is also tied to work activities. Individuals and families receiving SNAP, who are between the ages of 18 and 60 must be work registered and/or in a work activity to receive their benefits. They must participate in the Employment First program until they are employed a minimum of 30 hours a week or they are earning at least $217.50 a week gross wage, unless they are disabled or have children under the age of 6.
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is designed to help families with their heating bills during the winter months. Program eligibility and benefits are based upon income criteria and the actual amount of heating costs a household incurred during the months of November through April of the prior year. LEAP is funded 100% by the Federal Government. In most cases, the payments are made directly to vendors.
The most widely used assistance programs are the Old Age Pension (OAP), Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and Nursing Home Assistance. OAP is available to residents who are 60 years of age or older and meet the income and resource criteria set forth by the State Board of Human Services. This program is funded 100%. The average monthly payroll in Sedgwick County for OAP is approximately $3,100.00. The Department also assists eligible citizens with Nursing Home Care and with HCBS. HCBS is the program designed to provide assistance to individuals that may otherwise have to enter a Nursing Home Facility. The residents of nursing homes, and HCBS clients, must also meet the income and resource criteria as set for the State Board of Human Services. Medicaid assists in the cost of Nursing Home Care and HCBS services. Medicaid expenditures in Sedgwick County average approximately $155,000 per month, with about 55% being spent for Nursing Home care. The majority of the Medicaid dollars are spent in Sedgwick County and are funded by the Federal and State Government at 100%.
The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) is available to families with income at 185% FPL or below who are working or attending school, but cannot afford the full cost of child care. The families must pay a portion of the child care costs as a parental fee to their child care provider, depending on their income and size of household. This program is funded at a rate of 80%.
As in most government programs, rules and regulations change frequently. Please feel free to ask our office about eligibility for any program at any time to receive the most current information.
The Sedgwick County Department of Human Services is a resource for a variety of family and children’s programs focused on protection children and adults from abuse and neglect; strengthening and preserving families; assisting youth who are in conflict with their families; and arranging temporary and/or permanent homes for children who are unable to live with their families. For children removed from their home, the majority returned to live with their families at case closure.
In addition, the Department operates a food bank that is available to individuals or families needing temporary assistance with non-perishable foods or hygiene products. Local churches, schools, 4-H clubs, individuals and other organizations have generously donated to the food bank. Contributions will gladly be accepted.
The Department administers an annual Christmas project for needy children and families in Sedgwick County.
The Department currently employs eight staff members: Lisa Ault is the Director; Janet Kingsbury and Cory Haynes are responsible for assistance payments and work activities; Kylie Hayward is responsible for the Child Care program and is the Secretary/Receptionist; Tasha Thode and Kathy Reano are responsible for Child and Adult Protection; Shaunna Mashek administers the Child Support Services programs; and Cindy Wecker handles the accounting for the entire department.
Links that you may find helpful
Colorado Peak – Apply and Check Benefits Here