About Las Animas County Department of Human Services
Las Animas County Dept. of Human Services (LACDHS) provides Las Animas County residents with quality lifestyles through its various programming. LACDHS provides various cash assistance programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programming (SNAP/Food), Medicaid, Adult Financials (AND and OAP), and Low-Income Energy Assistance Programming (LEAP), as well as burial services. Additionally, LACDHS provides the community with in-home/facility and short/long-term care options through our Single Entry Point (SEP) services (both Huerfano and las Animas Counties), which helps folks maintain as independent a life as possible. Staff work closely with medical providers and third-party care agencies to give clients a choice when it comes to care options.
LACDHS also provides intervention and prevention services in both the adult and child welfare areas. Both Adult Protective Services (APS) and Child Protective Services (CPS) work closely with community partners (medical/judicial/intervention services) to develop and implement comprehensive and holistic plans to assist in the mitigation of at-risk adults and children. These services include Kinship/Foster Care, along with our Colorado Works (TANF), Child Care (TANF), and Child Support Services (CSS). Each of these programs add to the safety and economic security of the clients they serve.
Meet Michael Aragon, Director of Las Animas County Dept. of Human Services
I am a Colorado native, born in Pueblo, Colorado; however, my family roots are in Las Animas County and I have lived in the county for more than thirteen (13) years. I received my Associate of Arts degree from Pueblo Community College, a Bachelor of Arts major in English from Colorado State University – Pueblo, and a Master of Science major in Leadership and Organizational Studies from Colorado State University in 2009. I also have completed all requirements of a Doctor of Philosophy (All but Dissertation, ABD) from Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
I started my career in the early 2000s as direct care staff, serving at-risk youth in the Residential Treatment Centers (RTCs); where I worked under the supervision of several amazing therapists and supervisors. During my tenure, I assisted and conducted counseling services (under direct supervision), focusing on behavioral modification. Our primary goal was reducing recidivism for adolescents with conduct problems and adult offenders by developing comprehensive safety and therapeutic plans to help guide these kiddos back to a more productive state of mind. I was then asked to take on a different role, instructing academics in the RTC school setting. I obtained my licensure in Special Education and taught in this setting for several years. I then moved out of the RTC settings and into the traditional school setting, where I taught general education English Literature and Grammar/Composition. In 2008, I decided to make a shift in my career-path and enter into the business realm. In 2009, along with my husband, we opened Metro Studio Salon. My husband, Manuel “Manny” Trujillo has served the Las Animas County and Trinidad areas for more than 20 years, as a cosmetologist, and now for more than a decade as a premiere beauty salon owner and cosmetologist. I also gained employment with the Trinidad – Las Animas County Economic Development firm that same year. Well there, I became well versed in the needs of Las Animas County and its economic standing, and in 2009 I headed the organization as the Program Facilitator, where we worked with many local, state and federal partners to serve as the primary business recruitment, retention and expansion specialist in the south-central region of Colorado. I also worked with the Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and other external agencies to help create more than 200+ new jobs throughout Las Animas County.
After several years of working in the business realm, I learned how much I truly love serving the community, and in 2011, I returned to my alma mater, CSU-Pueblo and then GOAL Academy High School, where I lead several teams in various programs revolving around accessibility to secondary and post-secondary education within the southeastern portion of Colorado. I most recently returned to my educational roots, working for Colorado State University – Pueblo, as the Sites Manager and head of their northern satellite campus in Colorado Springs. Now, I have moved out of the world of academics once more and returned home, as the Director of the Las Animas County Dept. of Human Services. My career path has offered me a plethora of unique opportunities over the last fifteen (15) years, and I continue to grow daily. I am a creative and innovative leader, who incorporates continued education and public/human services to facilitate a comprehensive plan of action to provide access to community members of Las Animas County. My team, along with the Las Animas County Board of County Commissioners, and myself has set a path towards functionality and effective programming that serves as an economic driver to the county.
Next Spotlight will feature more LACDHS employees!
For more information, please visit LACDHS' website.