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OCR Contract Case Consultant Information Center

Starting in October 2020, OCR offers GALs the option to work or consult with a Case Consultant (CC) who contracts directly with OCR on an as-needed basis.
 
OCR attorneys: Scroll and read below for details on engaging with OCR-contracted case consultants. Contact alexwolff@coloradochildrep.org with any questions.
CCs: Click the blue CC Login button to access the CC Toolkit.

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    Case Consultants are professionals who work with the GAL as part of the child’s legal team. Case Consultants have expertise and experience in social work, counseling, child development, education, and other fields. Their expertise, experience, and skill set enhance a GAL’s independent investigation and, ultimately, the legal positions the GAL takes on behalf of the child. Use of case consultants by attorneys can expedite time to permanency and case resolution, increase reunification, improve preservation of family connections, and increase adoption. The ABA, the DHHS Children’s Bureau, and NACC recognize the importance of an interdisciplinary team approach.

    Many Case Consultants throughout the state are already employed by or contract with attorney offices directly. OCR is now offering an alternative option for OCR attorneys to work or consult with an OCR-contracted Case Consultant on an as-needed basis.

    Below, please meet our current OCR-contracted Case Consultants!

    Meaghan Normington
    Case Consultant

    My name is Meaghan Normington and I currently live in Douglas County. I am a licensed professional counselor and have spent the last two years as a youth ongoing caseworker at Denver Human Services. Prior to my time at DHS, I worked with youth and their families as an inpatient trauma-informed clinician.

    As a caseworker in child welfare, I have worked in the court system through Dependency & Neglect and Juvenile Delinquency cases. I have experience with assessing a family’s needs and individualizing treatment planning to address the presented concerns. I am familiar with the life of a case and have a working knowledge of services that are available to children and their family. In my daily work, I emphasize the importance of family systems, parent-child interactions and cultural competency. I’m a firm believer that the utilization of family, whether it be immediate or extended, leads to permanency success for children. I use my therapeutic background with children and families to approach their stories and experiences with empathy, as well as to better manage the crises that may arise during visits and meetings. I am intentional when working with children and strive to ensure that their voice is always heard.

    I look forward to using my child welfare experience and therapeutic background to better serve and advocate for the children in the state of Colorado as a case consultant.

    Vanessa Taylor Dotison
    Case Consultant

    Vanessa holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a Macro Concentration, and over 20 years of experience working in management with non-profit agencies. She relocated from Chicago to Colorado Springs in 2005 to intervene in a D & N case involving her grandson and his siblings. Although it was a challenging experience, it created a desire in her to become a professional advocate working for the preservation of families.

    She joined Parents Challenge that year as the program director, and while empowering parents of K – 12 students to make informed decisions that would meet their educational needs, she built a strong alliance with her clients who stood in solidarity with her as she continued to work towards bringing her grandson home. He came home in 2009 and will head to college in the fall of 2021.

    Vanessa joined Pikes Peak Community College in 2012 as a TRiO EOC peer financial aid counselor. She assisted first generation college students with gaining access to a collegiate experience. She provided career and academic counseling and guided them to resources to promote their successful completion.

    Vanessa joined the YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter of Pueblo in 2016. In partnership with Pueblo County DHS, she worked as a case manager assisting families impacted by violent crimes. She was promoted to the YWCA Director of shelter services in 2018 to oversee program operations and supervise a staff of 10 – 15 advocates. She provided internal and external training in the community, and implemented policy and procedures all while working in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of individuals from law enforcement, the DA’s office, ACOVA, DHS, mental health, and state and federal victim funding agencies. In addition, Vanessa is a CASA volunteer. She takes pride in working for the most vulnerable populations, promoting social justice, ensuring the voices of the children will be heard, that they are safe, can thrive and enjoy a prosperous life in a loving home, and that they receive well deserved legal representation. Vanessa is a lifelong learner and champion in the social work profession who believes in delivering world class service.

    Laura Woollen
    Case Consultant

    Laura Woollen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over thirteen years of social work experience in healthcare, mental health, and community engagement roles. Most recently, she has helped chronically ill individuals cope with life-changing medical diagnoses, including end stage liver and end stage kidney disease. Laura is highly skilled in psychosocial assessment, identifying client goals, and recommending specific interventions as a member of a multidisciplinary team. She has enjoyed collaborating with families and a variety of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and hospital case managers, as well as external community organizations and agencies and employers.

    Laura received her education at Louisiana State University with a Master’s in Social Work. This spring Laura graduated with a Master of Legal Studies from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law with the goal of working side by side with attorneys and other legal professionals to serve society’s most vulnerable and marginalized groups. Her studies included Family Law, Immigration Law, Human Trafficking, Non-profit Organizations, and Multiculturalism, Race and the Law.

    Laura resides in Wheat Ridge with her husband and their young daughter.

  • Interested case consultant applicants complete the online application process.
  • OCR engages in an interview, background check, and reference process to determine contracts.
  • OCR evaluates OCR-contracted Case Consultant performance through attorney, stakeholder, and youth feedback, and review of case consultant activities.
  • OCR investigates complaints concerning contract case consultants.
  • OCR trains Case Consultants, provides practice supports, and staffs cases with consultants.

  • Consider case consultants when your case presents the following issues (or other challenging issue): mental health; medically fragile; family offenses; sex offenses; drug abuse; truancy; domestic violence; trafficking, difficult to engage clients. Consider case consultants when your case presents the following issues (or other challenging issue): mental health; medically fragile; family offenses; sex offenses; drug abuse; truancy; domestic violence; trafficking, difficult to engage clients.
  • Click here for instructions to request a CC for one of your appointments in CARES.
  • Contact OCR’s Case Consultant Coordinator (Email) with any questions about the request process or your request.
  • Within 24 hours OCR will confirm receipt of your request.
  • After conflict check, the case will then be available for CCs within 48 hours from submission to select the case.
  • If there is an emergency need shorter than 24 hours call the Case Consultant Coordinator.
  • As an additional safety measure, the GAL has 24 hours after notice of assignment to reject it, otherwise the CC will be assigned.
  • If a Case Consultant is assigned, OCR will send an introduction email and provide you with the name and contact information of the CC.
  • If for some reason a CC cannot be assigned, the Case Consultant Coordinator will reach out within 24 hours of that determination.
  • If there are clarifying questions the Case Consultant Coordinator will reach out for clarification.
  • The Case Consultant invoices OCR directly via CARES and OCR pays the case consultant directly.
  • OCR may seek your input in reviewing the reasonableness of case consultant billing.
  • Request case consultants early in the case.
  • Use a Case Consultant to Assist with:
  • • Ongoing contact with children/youth
    • Observation of parent-child interaction
    • Attending staffings/ meetings
    • Communicating with schools
    • Investigating potential placements
    • Ensuring the child/youth understands the legal issues in a developmentally appropriate way.

  • Explain the role of the Case Consultant to professionals, family members, and children/youth.
  • Explain how you are members of the same team and how that will work.
  • Discuss communication styles and preferences at the outset.
  • Regular communication between GAL and CC helps avoid misunderstandings and increases efficiency.
  • Use a Case Consultant, among other reasons, to investigate/inform your position on the following topics:
Topics Practical Tips/Questions to Consider
Temporary Custody & Safety Planning

    • Talk to all possible parties.
    • Build relationships.
    • Explore additional family/friends.
    • Look for consensus between parties.
    • Identify multiple safe resources.
    • Create concrete step safety plans.
    • Where are emergency short-term options?
    • What is the ideal long-term resource?
    • Is there bias, conscious or unconscious with resource options?
    • How may these choices be viewed in 5, 10, 15 years?
    • Can some family/community connection be maintained?
    • Review and assess Safety and Risk assessment.

Placement
    • What are the services provided, what modality?
    • Who provides the services, their qualifications?
    • Are they addressing a need?
    • Are there better resources in the community available?
    • What is the involvement of the family?
    • How can family be involved?
    • What is the plan for leaving or independence?
    • What are the support systems for leaving?
    • Revisit community options regularly.
    • What pro social activities are located nearby?
    • What extracurricular activities are provided?
    • If in a facility make a point of visiting.
    • What are plans for holidays and special occasions?
    • What are rules and expectations?
    • What are arrangements for interviewing privacy?
    • Which staff have connections with child?
    • Develop good communication with providers.
    • Identify resources and support systems for placement kin placement.
    • What level of normalcy is the placement providing?

Family Time
    • How can it happen?
    • Evaluate safety vs. imperfect family.
    • Evaluate increase in time/frequency and/or unsupervised. On going.
    • Are there helpful family resources that can participate/help?
    • Do different siblings need different plans?

Siblings
    • Evaluate desires/needs, best interests of the individual siblings.
    • Family/community resources that could help connect siblings?
    • Are visits tailored to interests.
    • Explore use of technology to facilitate.
    • Young children 0-3 years and issues of attachment.
    • ½ siblings, can both families buy in?

Non-Custodial Parents
    • Identify and investigate them and their family members.
    • Build relationship.
    • Understand their role, stated and practical.
    • Identify and investigate them and their family members.
    • Build relationship.
    • Understand their role, stated and practical.
    • How can they be supportive?
    • What is their side of the family’s involvement?
Relatives, Kin, Diligent Search
    • Develop relationship with members.
    • Explore all possible family, revisit over time.
    • Evaluate child’s opinion on family members.
    • Who are potential resources/supports?

Disposition, Treatment Planning
    • Does it meet need?
    • Are there unnecessary parts?
    • Anything additional needed?
    • Think proactively to influence/get DHS buy in.
    • Who/what are morale supports?
    • What are short- and long-term goals?
    • Who is responsible for what, when, where?
    • Can child explain proposed plans for them or their family in their own words?
    • Discuss long term support and connections.

Education, Disabilities, & Accomodations
    • Gather historical and family information
    • Are there additional family/community resources that can be a support?
    • Evaluate needs and services.
    • Develop relationships with professionals.
    • Participate in meetings.
    • What level of visibility does child want with your role?
    • What is the child’s view on school stability?
    • Coordinate with OCR education specialists.

  • Q: Are there limits to the type of case for which I can request a CC?
  • No. Most CCs work on D&N and JD cases but they are available for other case types. Click here for instructions to request a CC for any of your appointments in CARES.
  • Q: Are there geographical limits to requesting a CC?
  • Yes. The hope is OCR will have additional CCs to be available throughout Colorado, but until then there will be a limit to how far CCs can travel. That does not prevent GALs in other parts of Colorado requesting a CC, who is closer to their child/youth, be assigned to a case.

  • Q: Does the OCR attorney need to pay the CC or request reimbursement to do so?
  • No, OCR-contracted CCs invoice OCR directly via CARES.
  • Q: Do I need to provide a 1099 or other tax documentation for CCs?
  • No. OCR will be responsible for OCR-contracted CCs’ tax documentation.
  • Contact OCR’s Case Consultant Coordinator (Email) with any questions about the request process or your request.

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