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Child Welfare Appeals Workgroup launched

Friday, May 18, 2018

DENVER – A new workgroup known as the Child Welfare Appeals Workgroup began work on Friday, May 11, 2018, under a Colorado Supreme Court charge to ensure that appeals in certain cases concerning children are resolved within six months after they are filed.  The workgroup is comprised of legal and child-welfare professionals and is the only one of its kind in the country.

The workgroup will meet at least through December 31, 2020, to recommend to the Supreme Court changes to practices, policies, and procedures to implement the policy goals set forth in Section 19-1-109(3) of the Colorado Revised Statutes.  In so doing, the workgroup will look into the reasons for case delays in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, recommend training for stakeholders and judges to improve the quality of litigation and court handling of appeals in child-welfare cases, and track compliance with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The workgroup will report annually on its progress.

The workgroup is chaired by Judge David M. Furman of the Colorado Court of Appeals.  Judge Furman said, “The members of this group are committed to improving the quality of appellate litigation and court handling of appeals in relinquishment, adoption, and dependency and neglect cases.” He went on to say, “We will be gathering ideas and discussing efforts to ensure quick and efficient handling of these cases to best serve some of the most vulnerable people in our state.”

Justice Richard L. Gabriel serves as the Colorado Supreme Court’s liaison to the workgroup. The other members of the workgroup are 17th Judicial District Judge Katherine R. Delgado; 1st Judicial District Judge Ann Gail Meinster; Polly Brock, Clerk of the Court of Appeals and District Administrator for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals; Sheri Danz of the Office of the Child’s Representative; Laura Eibsen of the Colorado County Attorney’s Association; Kory Elger of the Colorado Division of Child Welfare; Ruchi Kapoor of the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel; Gretchen Russo of the Colorado Department of Human Services; Shelden Spotted Elk and Jack Trope of the Casey Family Programs Indian Child Welfare Field Office; and Alison Young, Court Improvement Program Coordinator.

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