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Pitkin County Child Welfare Review Board Rarely Used

Dec 7, 2019

Credit Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

Last week, Pitkin County Board of Commissioners approved three members to join the Citizens Review Board for Child Welfare Services.

The state requires every county to have a citizen review board in order to investigate any serious complaints about staff and processes. However, the review board for Child Welfare Services has not been utilized for at least eight years. 

That’s according to Matt McGaugh, Pitkin County’s Adult and Family Services Manager. He says the department sees about three to four complaints each year but is able to resolve those before they go to the citizens review board. 

“We really try to hear the clients and customers that we work with,” McGaugh said. “We work hard to be engaging and transparent and are pretty good at listening to the complaints that people do have.”

Though the Citizens Review Board has not been called on, McGaugh says, they are an important asset. 

“For our community to feel like there’s transparency and safety and support, this panel is an important piece of that,” he said. 

The three new members approved last week by Pitkin County Board of Commissioners include Jackie Skramstad, Mind Springs Health’s Clinical Operations Manager, Shirley Ritter, Director of Aspen’s Kids First, and Txell Pedragosa, the program director of RESPONSE. 

To be qualified for the board, all appointees must have professional knowledge of the industry, not work in the department and at least one must have a child under the age of 18. 

Ritter has sat on the board before. McGaugh says all three members are qualified and will take their roles seriously if they are ever utilized.