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The Politics of Reforming Human Services

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State senators Josh Penry (left) and Kevin Lundberg (right) are calling for a “full-blown” independent investigation into the 2008 death of an infant in Fort Collins, a move blasted by Evan Dreyer, Governor Bill Ritter’s spokesman, as “the worst, most shameful form of politics.” “They are politicizing the death of an infant,” Dreyer tells the Fort Collins Coloradoan. The two Republicans want the governor, a Democrat, and Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, to launch the probe into the death of Chad Munoz, who was 20 days old when he suffered fatal head injuries. Munoz is one of more than 30 children who have died during the past three years while under some level of supervision by the state’s Department of Human Services. In Munoz’s case, the state began a child fatality review, which is required, but it was not completed at the time. Dreyer says an external review is unlikely but assures that Ritter is also committed to reforms within DHS. “We have implemented a number of changes already to the system, including just a couple months ago, the state’s first child welfare training academy for new social workers,” Dreyer adds, calling the changes “first steps.” Senate Bill 171, which would reform DHS, advanced yesterday after Maryann Hartmann testified that she reported to DHS the abuse and neglect of Alize Vick, a two-year-old girl who died in El Paso County, to no avail. “DHS did not believe me,” she says (via 9News).

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