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Chief Justice appoints four to Child Protection Ombudsman Board

Friday, July 31, 2015

DENVER – Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice has appointed four members to a new Child Protection Ombudsman Board created pursuant to Senate Bill 15-204.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Kevin Lundberg and Linda Newell and Rep. Jonathan Singer, changed the Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman from a nonprofit organization operated under contract to the Department of Human Services to an independent agency housed in the Colorado Judicial Department and receiving limited support from the Office of the State Court Administrator.

The bill also created an independent, nonpartisan board to oversee the office. The board is charged with hiring and discharging the ombudsman, providing fiscal oversight and helping the ombudsman’s office enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Colorado Department of Human Services.

The ombudsman’s office, created by 2010 legislation, investigates complaints and grievances about child protection services, makes recommendations about system improvements and serves as a resource for people involved in the child welfare system.

The 12-member board will be made up of four members appointed by the Governor, four members appointed by the Chief Justice, two members appointed by the Senate President and Minority Leader together, and two members appointed by the House Speaker and Minority Leader together.

Chief Justice Rice appointed former 11th Judicial District Chief Judge Kenneth M. Plotz of Denver to a four-year term as an individual with experience as a respondent parents’ counsel; former 7th Judicial District Judge Charles R. Greenacre of Olathe to a four-year term as an individual with experience defending juveniles in court proceedings; Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Executive Director Stephanie Villafuerte of Evergreen to a two-year term as an individual with experience in criminal justice involving children and youth; and Pax Leia Moultrie, Assistant Arapahoe County Attorney, to a two-year term as an individual with legal experience in dependency and neglect cases.

“I am confident these appointees will serve the state well by ensuring the ombudsman’s office maintains a strong and independent voice for children,” Chief Justice Rice said.

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