Coloradans, this is our government, of the people,
by the people and for the people.
At-risk adults are full citizens in our communities, and have liberty to live well, free from worry and fear of APS allegations of arbitrary "substantiations" which do not have due process.
It is good that the rule making body, State Board of Human Services, validated the lack of input from the impacted stakeholders, after public meeting comment, in December 2017. Robust and thoughtful Board discussions in February, resulted in additional delays for the rule making process for a presentation to State Board on April 6th, as well as additional community meetings.
The Board admonished the department to authentically engage in a stakeholder process. It is clear the Board has many reservations and urge the Department to proceed carefully.
Momentum is building, more Coloradans are
standing up, calling in, sharing, participating to raise hard and important questions. Now is the time to come out of the shadows of fear and shame to unite for civil rights, due process and reasonable parameters to balance liberty and dignity with reasonable government interference.
Implementation of the Colorado Adult Protective Agency (CAPS) Registry is under serious legislative scrutiny (from HB17-1284) at the Legislature. Line item funding for the APS CAPS registry was pulled out, and "PAUSED" at JBC Budget Figure setting.
Catch Up Summary:
1. Community members attended three CDHS meetings on March 8th:
Aging and Adult SubPAC,
Full Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and
Evening Stakeholder Meeting: APS 101.
• Aging Adult SubPAC, they added public comment, not on agenda. We updated the group to the concern since State Adult Protective Services (APS) Staffers Peg Rogers and Mindy Kemp failed to do so. It was clear that the SubPAC members were not aware of the Board, Legislature or community concerns.
2. Thanks to State Senator Smallwood for attending the evening Stakeholder meeting March 8th. He has heard from many stakeholders that there is concerning lawlessness in APS operations.
3. Stakeholders attending these public meetings continue to met with rude treatement from CDHS employees, refusing to provide information/documents from public meetings and barking that we could make CORA requests to get copies of minutes. Overall there is an obvious and visible distain for stakeholders attending public meetings.
4. CDHS has a palatable culture of animosity toward public engagement. This begins the moment one has to produce a State ID to enter their building, to then be told we can't have documents they are viewing during meetings.
5. Many have a new twist on the department name: Colorado Department of "inHumane" Services.
6. We must continue to attend and participate in public comment, no matter how uncomfortable they attempt to make it. We have to protect the civil rights of everyone, and this is OUR government and community!
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL about these rules?
• Rules have the force of law once passed. The statute, passed in legislative branch, tells you what you can do and the rules tell you how to do it.
• The bills give authority to the appropriate Department to implement and integrated the statute into Rule.
• The Rule making body considers and votes on the administrative rules from the Department. The state has a rule making free 20 minute tutorial is online here.
• State Board members are appointed by the Governor and may receive some reasonable expenses reimbursed.
What are biggest trends and concerns with APS and the CAPS registry?
1. No persons, even the at-risk adult, can see information about the investigation without a court order.
2. Lack of Due Process- see packet 2. There is no notification to any persons of their rights at the start of an investigation. Often the investigation stays open indefinitely. This creates fear and secrecy.
3. The threshold for civil term "substantiation" is a "preponderance of evidence". Preponderance is very subjective, that something had a 50% likelihood of happening.
4. In rule packets, they use the criminal term "substantiated perpetrator". Perpetrator is a word used in criminal contexts. The Cambridge dictionary definition is: Perpetrator- someone who has committed a crime or a violent or harmful act.
5. Time and cost of CAPS background check ($35 for now, and up to 10 day process) is a barrier to timely job offer and hiring.
6. The trend is that APS "jumps to judgement" and applies for emergency guardianship before an investigation is complete. Usually the same APS person is both guardian and investigator, a conflict of interest. The courts generally accept APS testimony, sometimes not allowing family or interested parties to even address the court.
Mark your Calendar: The Department of "inHumane" Services hosts two more evening stakeholder meetings in March. Come in person, call in (anonymously if you prefer), or use the webinar format.
• The State Board has "strongly cautioned" CDHS to actively engage and listen to stakeholders.
• In December 2017, the State Board of DHS were informed of major concerns and DELAYED the rule process to INCLUDE STAKEHOLDERS.
• They can pull out sections of rules from vote, and send back for more work.
• The State Board CDHS information is stored here. At next meeting April 6, they requested APS to make a presentation at 8:30 before their 10am meeting. Packet 2 is up.
• March 13 and 28, from 5:30-7:30 are Stakeholder meetings to review Rule Making Packets 2 and 3.
• The Rules are promulgated from Departments to come into alignment with Statute/Legislation. It can feel very technical, helps to read it and review in advance of the meeting.
• Read the packet from APS Stakeholder meeting #1 from March 8 here. Realize it was written by State APS and local unit operations differ.
#2 APS Stakeholder Meeting-Rule Packet 17-06-26-02 Review- Due Process Rights and Appeals-
Tuesday, March 13, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
1575 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203, USA (conference room 4A/4B)
Description APS 17-06-26-02 Packet Updated 2.21.18
To receive the document listed above, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call In Information: 1-302-202-1110 access code 171769
"Please click on "more details" to be directed to the calendar notice to obtain the document pertaining to this meeting"
Please note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge
#3 APS Stakeholder Engagement Meeting - - CAPS Registry Check- Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 Review
Wed, March 28, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
1575 Sherman St. Denver, CO 80203 conference room 4A/4B
Description *The Department is in the process of developing a final draft of this rule packet. Once a final draft is completed, it will be posted here for review.
Call In Information: 1-302-202-1110 access code 171769
For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge
Meeting Purpose: Gather feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 prior to the State Board second reading planned for May
Meeting Format: We will review the portions of the rule packet that feature new language and deletions to existing APS rules, discuss the rationale and request specific feedback on changes from stakeholders.
"Keep Calm and Lawyer Up!"
If you need a lawyer and are struggling to find one, reply back as we have a growing list of attorneys, civil rights and guardianship, across the State.
Many are asking for information to gain guardianship and whether they should pursue it. It is wise and good to consider all choices.
Remember to protect yourself. Being open with APS has only caused regret by families who "had nothing to hide". Many have had their loved ones moved against their will, and have limited contact.
We continue to ask for a "Safe Bridge" to communicate the lawlessness of these actions.
So far it seems legal representation is extremely effective in slowing or stopping the LAWLESS METHODS OF APS.
Many have asked where are the people who claim to represent at risk adults like our loved ones with Disabilities?
We must not expect others to represent
our unique individual interests. It is up to us.
Now is the time to learn the process, as these rules and statutes can be used wrongly, and hurt at risk adults in the name of "protecting them".
Is it easy or enjoyable? It is debateable, but we live this everyday and it better have guardrails to ensure rules that mitigate future misuse.
• The State Board delayed rule making timeline.
• The JBC pulled out the line item in figure setting.
• Leadership at Capitol are getting involved.
• Multiple stakeholder groups have concerns about the unintended consequences of the CAPS Registry.
• Now is the time to step up and learn, as this affects lives and liberty!