DENVER (Nov. 23, 2020) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has entered into a formal agreement with the Consulate of El Salvador in Aurora, the Consulate General of Guatemala in Denver, the Consulate General of Honduras in Dallas and the Consulate General of Mexico in Denver to share information and collaborate when a child or youth who is a national of one of those four countries is involved in an open child welfare case in Colorado. The agreement was made official in a virtual Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing broadcast on Facebook.
CDHS and the Consulates agree to work together, recognizing the imperative need each consulate has to access information regarding cases involving minors who are nationals of their countries.
“As a state, we’re committed to ensuring every young person has safety and stability,” said Michelle Barnes, CDHS executive director, during the online MOU signing. “When there is a child or youth from another nation, we have a duty to work together to identify family members and keep kids with the people who know them best.”
The MOU formalizes existing processes and practices to ensure each consulate is notified in a timely manner and that each agency works together to keep children and youth safe and with family. This practice aligns with Colorado’s child welfare practice of keeping all kids with their families whenever possible.
“We have been working in partnership with these Consulates for some time but the MOU is an important step forward, confirming our shared commitment to all kids,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, director of CDHS’s Office of Children, Youth and Families, which oversees child welfare in Colorado. “One of our core values as a department is to take a people-first approach to our work. When a child or youth is from another country, we must work with their home country to ensure we put each child’s needs first.”
Mary Gerlach, Communications Manager