When something smells fishy...

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

You know something is fishy when you attend a publicly posted APS Task Group meeting at Colorado Human Services and are told "these meetings are not really open to the public".(Mindy Kemp, 12/5/2017)  She stated this to me, after I asked for the all documents for the meeting in progress, to be added to the google drive for access. I also asked hard copies of proposed rule packets, since they were not there for me to print out before the meeting.  

9 am 12/5/17 APS Task Force at Colorado Department of Human Services at 1575 Grant Street for Adult Protective Task Group Agenda.  

Main link here https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration/adult-protective-services-task-group
Link to meetings, agendas and proposed rule documents here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1lmUbDRaxKQckZqZV9nZ3JvYTA

They were delaying start as they did not have a phone to set up, for call in. They had voting Task Group members call into a cell phone, which was passed around. But no public access until after 10am. It was clear they are not accustomed to public guest attending or participating in meetings.

They went around the room quickly with introductions. Mindy Kemp, Division Director Office of Community Access and Independence at CDHS, carried around a work cell phone we spoke into. At my introduction I introduced myself, Cardboard James and said I was concerned about the police state APS was creating. They cut me off, but I did ask that all members make table tents with their names, title and county. Mindy Kemp said they could have a sign in sheet for me to see. I said that would not help me in knowing who they were when talking.  Mindy said would consider printing up table tents for future meetings. I said they could just make with paper and pen right now. Several started to make, and it caught on. Eventually everyone had a table tent. This is very helpful to know who people are. It is clear from all this that public guests and impacted stakeholders have not been common at their task group meetings.

Mindy also offered a public comment period at start of meeting, which was not on the original agenda. I passed out my hard copy of newsletter and spoke about the police state and how they were all contributing to a state of fear. I gave examples and said they needed to stop and include affected people like me, and cardboard James. I said it was insulting to make rules without including affected citizens.

The rules packets being discussed in the meetings were not posted in the CHDS Drive for the meeting today, I asked they be uploaded immediately.  I also asked Mindy for hard copies since I could not print at home to prepare for the meeting. Mindy Kemp then said to me, “this is not a public meeting, we are not required to do the open meetings rules. But will get you copies”. I was quite shocked at her statement, as this is a work group and posted online, and they even extended me an opportunity to make a public comment! Again, they do not know what to do with stakeholders since we have been excluded from the APS Empire Building process.

During the break Mindy came over to me to give me her card. She reminded me that she wanted to setup two meetings, one with Executive Leadership (after my Public Comment at the State board last week on 12/1) and second meeting with a larger stakeholder group. I declined her suggestion, as  I don’t do private meetings, only will do stakeholder meeting. I suggested she email me some dates and times and I can see if it works for interested folks. (Individual stories are important- If you or people you know, have been touched by this KGB Police state APS action, and want to participate in Stakeholder group around rules and APS, please let me know.  This is a large affected group and growing.)

Basically, legislation grants rule-making authority to departments to implement Statute changes through rule changes. Our General Assembly has created a “perfect storm” with multiple layers of legislation. SB15-109 which added IDD to the at-risk adult definition.

We need the State to fix this mess, to halt the witch hunt of families. (See more from previous newsletter, all under NEWS tab at www.changecoidd.com)

HB15-1370 expanded the exceptions to the APS confidentiality requirements.
HB17-1284 background checks to create a registry (CAPS) based on employment background checks. These checks are to take place by January 1, 2019. Changes relate to statutory changes to definitions, confidentiality, training requirements and investigations.
HC17-1253 creates new mandatory reporting requirements for financial broker-dealers and financial planners. Changes relate to investigation and service provisions of APS Rules.
SB17-254 Long Bill included funding for a new quality assurance unit with the Administrative Review Division at CDHS. There is one job that was posted and closed in November. Several more FTEs are allocated.
12 CCR 1518-1 are the program rules for APS. As authorized by Title 26, Article 3.1 C.R.S. The APS program provides protective services for at-risk adults who are experiencing mistreatment or are self-neglecting.
NEWS FROM COMMUNITY

  • I have heard now that one APS unit has informed a family that siblings of a person with IDD cannot apply to be a guardian. Unbelievable! 
  • This in addition to APS being called when someone asks for a 24/7 DD waiver emergency consideration or when a responsible family member files for legal guardianship…. This is outrageous!
  • And also that Developmental Pathways has been training its Case Managers that “Families are the primary perpetrators of Abuse and Neglect of IDD”. This is so insulting on every level.
  • If you have heard things that “smell fishy”, let me know. Together we can end this, but need our government to halt the KGB Police state. Who in power is listening? Who will really support Coloradans with IDD and their families/caregivers?