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Child Welfare Family Advisory Council

 

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Three photos of families with children

What better way to improve Colorado's child welfare system than to ask those Coloradans who have actually been involved in the system? At the Colorado Department of Human Services, we recognize the value of family participation and engaging the voices of those with lived systems experience — engaging and listening to the voices of families is one of our guiding principles. The Family Advisory Council is made up of people who have been involved with, or are currently engaging in, Colorado child welfare system. Council members come together monthly to learn, give input and ultimately affect positive systems change.

The role of the Family Advisory Council is to include family voice and lived experience in providing feedback on Division of Child Welfare planning, policies and procedures in order to improve the design and delivery of high-quality child welfare services to the youth and families in Colorado. The council's vision is to strengthen the partnership between families and the Division of Child Welfare in order to foster healthy families so vulnerable children can thrive.

Meetings and agendas

The Family Advisory Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Here are the upcoming meeting dates and times:

  • Dec. 12, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Jan. 9, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Feb. 13, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

View agendas for current and past meetings.

Join the council

If you are interested in joining the Family Advisory Council, please fill out our application form.

News

Contact info

Contact Family Advisory Council coordinator Victoria Martinez at victoria.martinez@state.co.us or 720.799.3660.

Tools for creating your own member council
Screenshot of Family Voice Compass website

If your organization is interested in creating a member council like the Family Advisory Council, check out the Family Voice Compass website. The Family Voice Compass — which was created by CDHS's Family Voice Council — provides useful information, tools and resources to help create your own family voice structure for your organization, program or department.


The Family Advisory Council held a town hall meeting to help other organizations learn more about best practices around starting a family voice council or involving family voice in their organization. Watch the recording.

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Current members

Jessi Braverman photo
Jessi Braverman, Boulder County (she/her)

Foster and adoptive parent, community partner

I feel privileged to be a part of the Family Advisory Council because we are one of the only councils that strives to represent the voices of all lived experiences within the child welfare system within one group. I am passionate about reducing systemic trauma for youth in care, access to appropriate quality mental health services for all involved in the child welfare system, cultivating a trauma-informed lens, and centering the voices and experiences of foster care alumni and youth in care.


Jody Britton photo
Jody Britton, Broomfield County (she/her) 

Non-relative kinship provider, community partner

I have been a kinship provider for the past six years. During this time, I have learned so much about the child welfare system and have grown passionate about supporting families. I now work for an agency serving foster and kinship families and am passionate about the work I do. I now want to be involved in creating meaningful system change.


Nathaniel Bustamante photo
Nathaniel Bustamante, Clear Creek County (he/him)

Experience in foster care, parent with former child welfare involvement

I have been involved in the child welfare system my whole life both as a parent and a youth. I now strive to advocate for youth and families involved in the child welfare system.


Alexis Butler photo
Alexis Butler, Mesa County (she/her)

Experience in foster care, relative kinship

I want to make a difference by giving a voice to those who do not have one. My personal experiences happened for a reason to help make needed changes.


Michele Deal, Larimer County (she/her)

Experience in foster care, parent with former child welfare involvement

I want to raise awareness and change what's wrong with the child welfare system.


Shayna Koran photo
Shayna Koran, Garfield County (she/her)

Parent with former child welfare involvement

I want to help make a difference for families who are involved in the child welfare system.


Claire Morrow, Jefferson County (she/her)

Community partner

I've spent the majority of my professional career working with children and families who have been impacted by child welfare.The knowledge, wisdom and expertise youth and families hold is often an untapped resource, and I feel passionately that their voices need to be at the forefront of decision making.


Kimberly Raff photo
Kimberly Raff, Mesa County (she/her)

Experience in foster care, kinship provider, community partner

After aging out of the foster care system, I have worked hard to be a voice for those who continue to age out. I want to bring awareness to this often forgotten population and remind them that they are loved. Being on the council will allow me to bring my lived experience in foster care, as a kinship parent, and as a previous case worker for child welfare to the table and enact change.


Jessi Ramirez photo
Jessi Ramirez, Larimer County (she/her)

Parent with former child welfare involvement, non-relative kinship provider

I experienced child welfare as a parent and was successful in getting my children home. I am now a kinship provider. I have experienced the good and the bad and these experiences have given me ideas that can help everyone. I want to be part of the team that helps strengthen the relationships between the helpers and the helped.


Kimberly Sosa, Pueblo County (she/her)

Certified kinship provider

I served as a kinship provider from 2011 to 2013 in Oklahoma until I adopted my granddaughter. In 2019 I provided kinship care to my grandsons in Colorado and the boys were successfully reunified with their mom in 2021.

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Past members

Maria Elena Thomas photo
Maria Elena Thomas, Larimer County (she/her)

Certified foster/kinship caregiver

I have lived experience as a certified foster kinship provider for my grandchildren. The process was confusing and information was given only when needed. I would like to contribute my perspective to make it easier for other families to navigate the system.