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Montezuma County Department of Social Services Civil Rights Plan

County Civil Rights Plan

Montezuma County Department of Social Services

109 W. Main St., Room 170

Cortez, CO 81321

970-565-3769

fax: 970-565-8526

Civil Rights Contact Persons

  • Kelli Hargraves, Montezuma County DSS Director
  • 109 W. Main St., Room 170 Cortez, CO 81321
  • LueAnn Everett, Montezuma County Assistant Director/Appeal Designee
  • 109 W. Main St., Room 170 Cortez, CO 81321

The Montezuma County Department of Social Services Civil Rights Plan, Montezuma County Department of Social Services Nondiscrimination and State Nondiscrimination Statements are available at Montezuma County Department of Social Services lobby located at 109 W. Main St., room 170 Cortez CO 81321 or available online at www.montezumacounty.org

 

PURPOSE

As a recipient of Federal Financial Assistance, Montezuma County Department of Social Services is responsible for providing core services to assist and support Colorado’s most vulnerable individuals and families so they can meet their basic needs and be treated with respect and dignity. Montezuma County Department of Social Services has a civil rights plan to ensure that all members, applicants, employees, and others, receive equal access to program services and information. Its programs are operated in a nondiscriminatory way, without regard to race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, creed, political beliefs, or disability.

The civil rights plan also serves as a source of information for Montezuma County Department of Social Services staff and the general public. The plan sets out the Agency’s civil rights administrative policies and procedures, identifying key contacts within the Agency and linking the reader to applicable state and federal civil rights laws and resources.

 

LEGAL AUTHORITIES

  1. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (race, color, national origin)
  2. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (disability)
  3. Section 508 Amendment of the Rehabilitation act of 1973 (disability)
  4. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; state and local government services (disability)
  5. Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (age)
  6. Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010(added sex discrimination in health care programs)
  7. Nondiscrimination Provisions of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (Federal Block Grants)
    • Community Services Block Grant (race, color, national origin, sex) Remaining Block Grants (race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, religion)
    • Social Services Block Grant
    • Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant
    • Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness Block Grant
    • Preventive Health and Social Services Block Grant
    • Community Mental Health Services Block Grant
    • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant
  1. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (sex)
  2. Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, religion)
  3. Food Stamp Act of 1977 (As Amended Through P.L. 108-269, 2004)
  4. Nondiscrimination Compliance Requirements in the Food Stamp Program, Food and Nutrition Service, US Department of Agriculture
  5. Bilingual Requirements in the Food Stamp Program, Food and Nutrition Service, US Department of Agriculture
  6. FNS Instruction 113-1, Civil Rights Compliance and Enforcement – Nutrition Programs and Activities, Food and Nutrition Service, US Department of Agriculture (2005)
  7. Equal Opportunity for Religious Organizations in USDA Regulation
  8. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Regulations
  9. Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 80, 84, and 91
  10. Title 28 CFR Part 35
  11. State of Colorado Regulations
  12. Title 24 Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) parts 4, 6, 8 and 34
  13. Title 10 Code of Colorado Regulations (CCR) Section 8.100
  14. Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA)

 

CIVIL RIGHTS CONTACT PERSON

 Montezuma County Department of Social Services designates Gina Montoya to serve as the

Agency’s Civil Rights Contact on civil rights matters.

Contact Person            Kelli Hargraves

Address                       109 W. Main St., room 170 Cortez, CO 81321

Telephone                   970-564-4105

Fax                               970-564-9295

Email                           khargraves@co.montezuma.co.us

 

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY

 It is the policy of Montezuma County Department of Social Services to make sure that program benefits and services are made available to everyone and provided to all eligible individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, religion, political beliefs, creed and public assistance status.

Montezuma County Department of Social Services employees, services, programs, benefits and policies will not discriminate against applicants, clients or members of the public because of race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, creed, political beliefs, or disability. Montezuma County Department of Social Services employees, programs and policies must also allow physical and program access for people with disabilities.

This civil rights policy covers Montezuma County Department of Social Services’ full range of services, programs and benefits, including but not limited to, access to information about services, eligibility determinations and intake, admission procedures and treatment. The policy applies to the agencies and providers receiving federal and state funds under contracts, licenses and other arrangements with Montezuma County Department of Social Services.

The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) also applies to the work of Montezuma County Department of Social Services and the agencies carrying out the work of Montezuma County Department of Social Services.

 

Program Accessibility Policy for People with Disabilities

In accordance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), and Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the Montezuma County Department of Social Services does not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in employment, admission or access to, treatment or participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs, services and activities. The Montezuma County Department of Social Services and all of its programs, services and activities are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities,

including people with hearing loss, low vision and other sensory disabilities.

To avoid disability discrimination, Montezuma County Department of Social Services will:

  • Notify the public about the rights and procedures for people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Designate and ADA Coordinator and maintain a complaint procedure.
  • Make sure that its buildings are physically accessible for people with disabilities.
  • Assist individuals with disabilities to apply and qualify for benefits based on their eligibility.
  • Provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including accessible formats, to ensure effective communication with people with disabilities.
  • Provide services, programs and benefits that are accessible to and usable by qualified people with disabilities.

 

Physical access includes:

  • Convenient off-street parking designated specifically for people with disabilities.
  • Curb cuts and ramps between parking areas and the Montezuma County Department of Social Services buildings.
  • Level access into the first floor of Montezuma County Social Services building.

 

Reasonable Modifications to Policies, Procedures or Practices

The Montezuma County Department of Social Services will make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, procedures, and programs to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy all of its programs, services and activities.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service or to request a reasonable modification to

participate in a program, service or activity of the Montezuma County Department of Social Services, should contact the agency and/or the Civil Rights Contact Person to request. The Montezuma County Department of Social Services is not required to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its programs, services and activities, or impose an undue financial or administrative burden.

The Montezuma County Department of Social Services will not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of providing auxiliary aids and services or reasonable modifications.

 

Effective Communication and Auxiliary Aids and Services

Montezuma County Department of Social Services will take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with people with disabilities and companions with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. To ensure effective communications, Montezuma County Department of Social Services will provide auxiliary aids and services, including accessible formats, so that people with disabilities can receive services, programs and benefits and participate in them in the same way as people without disabilities.

Auxiliary aids and services include but are not limited to:

  1. qualified readers, writers and interpreters who convey information effectively, accurately and impartially using any necessary specialized vocabulary.
  2. Written information in other formats
  3. Foreign language interpreters
  4. Information translated into other languages

 

To determine what types of auxiliary aids or services are necessary, Montezuma County Department of Social Services will give primary consideration to the requests of people requesting the auxiliary aid or services unless it would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program or benefit or cause an undue administrative or financial burden.

 

COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCEDURE

 You have the right to equal access to services, if you are an applicant, client or member of the public trying to gain access to Social Services program information or benefits. Montezuma County Department of Social Services has a civil rights complaint procedure that provides prompt and thorough resolution of civil rights complaints.

Civil rights complaints allege discrimination. You have a right to file a civil rights complaint if you believe you have been discriminated against because of your race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, creed, political beliefs, or disability.

It is against the law for anyone who works for or contracts with Montezuma County Department of Social Services to retaliate against a person who files a complaint or who cooperates in the investigation of a civil rights complaint.

To file a complaint, ask for the Agency’s equal opportunity policy, complaint resolution procedure and complaint form. Use the contact information below to file a complaint. You can also review the law and regulations that outlaw discrimination in the Civil Rights Contact’s office.

Kelli Hargraves, Director

Montezuma County Department of Social Services

109 W. Main St., room 170

Cortez, CO 81321

Phone: 970-564-4105

Fax: 970-564-9295

khargraves@co.montezuma.co.us

 

Arrangements for People with Disabilities

Montezuma County Department of Social Services will make appropriate arrangements to ensure the people with disabilities are provided reasonable modifications or effective communications, if needed, to participate in the complaint process. Reasonable modifications or effective communications include, but are not limited to, providing interpreters for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, providing taped cassettes and accessible formats for people who are blind or have low vision and assuring a physically accessible location for complaint proceedings. The Civil Rights Contact (or designee) is responsible for working with people who file complaints to make appropriate arrangements.

 

Procedure:

As part of the Agency’s Civil Rights Plan and in accordance with HCPF OM 23-003, a documented process for investigating complaints of discrimination received by the agency must be created and approved by HCPF. This plan has been approved by the Department on June 30th 2023. Montezuma County Department of Social Services is required to promptly investigate Civil Rights complaints. The complaint process for Montezuma County Department of Social Services is as follows:

 

  • Civil rights complaints must be submitted to the Civil Rights Contact within 60 days of the date the alleged discrimination occurred.
  • A complaint must be in writing and contain the name and address of the person filing it. Other important contact information is telephone number, relay number and email address. The complaint must state the problem or action alleged and the relief desired. If you need assistance with your complaint, the Civil Rights Contact Person will help you.

Kelli Hargraves, Director

Montezuma County Department of Social Services

109 W. Main St., room 170

Cortez, CO 81321

Phone: 970-564-4105

Fax: 970-564-9295

khargraves@co.montezuma.co.us

  • The Agency will conduct informal investigations within 60 days of receiving the complaint.
  • The Agency will conduct formal investigations within 120 days of receiving the complaint.
  • The applicant, member and/or the individual who submitted the complaint will be able to provide information to the Civil Rights Contact Person to assist with the investigation; this can be in writing or by contacting the Civil Rights Contact Person at 970-564-4105 or at Montezuma County Department of Social Services, 109 W. Main St., room 170 Cortez CO 81321.
  • If there is a potential conflict of interest, an alternative County Department of Human Services will used to conduct the investigation.
  • The complainant and the person against whom the allegation was made will be informed of the completion of the investigation and whether the allegations were substantiated.
  • All complaints will be tracked by the Civil Rights Contact Person using the Agency’s Civil Rights Complaint Log. Complaints will be tracked with the outcome of the investigation (founded or unfounded), process changes that were implemented based on the result of the investigation, and training provided as a result of the investigation’s outcome. The complaint log will be used to monitor the progress of investigations to ensure timelines are followed. Complaint log data will be submitted to the Department (using the County Relations webform ticket https://hcpfccc.my.site.com/Webforms/s/countyrelationswebform) on a biannual basis (July 31st and January 31st of each year) with the first submission being January 31, 2024.
  • The person filing the complaint may appeal the decision by writing to the Agency Appeal Designee within fifteen (15) days of receiving the written decision. If an appeal is received by the Agency, the appeal will be forwarded to the HCPF by the Civil Rights Contact Person and the Agency Appeal Designee.
  • The Agency Appeal Designee will consider all testimony and relevant evidence introduced during the appeal. Appeal decisions must be rendered by the Agency Appeal Designee within fifteen (15) calendar days of appeal being received by the Agency. All decisions shall be in writing and provided to the agency’s Civil Rights Contact Person, the applicant, the member, and/or the individual who submitted the complaint, and the HCPF. This decision is final. This appeal process is not the same as filing a fair hearings appeal through the CDHS or HCPF appeals processes.
  • The person filing the complaint must be informed that he/she can file a discrimination report directly with the US Department of Health and Social Services Office for Civil Rights or the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the SNAP Program.
  • Once an investigation is completed, the Civil Rights Contact Person will notify the applicant, member, and/or individual that submitted the complaint in writing, via certified mail and email, within 3 business days of the investigation being completed. If a complaint of discrimination or Civil Rights violation is investigated by the agency and the investigation finds that the complaint is founded, HCPF requires the agency to notify HCPF and to take all necessary steps to correct the violation.
  • HCPF must be provided with a detailed description of actions taken and modifications made to correct the violation within three (3) calendar days from the completion of the investigation. This information will be sent using the County Relations Webform Ticket or via email HCPF_CountyRelations@state.co.us. Upon receipt of the agency’s investigation findings and description of its corrective action, HCPF will work with the agency on any additional required steps.

 

To submit a complaint, the applicant or member can:

  1. Utilize the county’s Civil Rights/Non-Discrimination complaint process, required as part of the county’s Civil Rights Plan, operationalized by the county and approved by HCPF.
  2. Utilize the Department’s Civil Rights complaint process by submitting the Discrimination Complaint Form or contacting hcpf504ada@state.co.us
  3. Utilize the Colorado Civil Rights Division complaint process by completing the CaseConnect Civil Rights Form or contacting Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. The

Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) is the State of Colorado’s authority for the

Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA).

1560 Broadway, Suite 825

Denver, CO 80202

Voice Phone: (303) 894-2997

Toll Free: (800) 262-4845

State Relay: 711

Fax: (303) 894-7830

Email: dora_ccrd@state.co.us

https://socgov07.my.salesforce-sites.com/ColoradoCivilRights/

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office

of Civil Rights U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights

1961 Stout Street, Rooms 08-148

Denver, CO 80294-3538

Voice Phone: (800) 368-1019

FAX: (202) 619-3818

TDD: (800) 537-7697

Email: OCRComplaint@hhs.gov

www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/filing-a-complaint/complaint-process/index.html

Appeal Process

You have the right to appeal the outcome of the investigation if you are not satisfied with the decision. To appeal, you must send a written request to review the outcome of the investigation within Fifteen (15) days of receiving the written decision.  Be brief and state why you disagree with the decision, plus any additional information that may apply.  Send your request to the attention of the Montezuma County Appeal Designee; 109 W. Main St., Room 170 Cortez, CO 81321.

The appeal will be forwarded to the Department and Montezuma County Appeal Designee by the Civil Rights Contact Person.

When making an appeal decision, Montezuma County Appeal Designee shall consider all testimony and relevant evidence introduced during the appeal. The applicant, member, or the individual that submitted the complaint and the agency’s Civil Rights Contact Person may both be allowed to introduce witnesses and evidence in a fair and consistent manner.

Appeal decisions must be rendered by Montezuma County Appeal Designee within fifteen (15) calendar days of appeal being received by the Agency. All decisions shall be in writing and provided to the agency’s Civil Rights Contact Person, the applicant, the member, and/or the individual who submitted the complaint, and the Department. The Civil Rights Contact Person must update the Civil Rights Complaint Tracking log with the outcome of the appeal.

The applicant, member or individual who submitted the complaint will not be retaliated against for their submission of a complaint, nor will a member’s benefits be terminated for submitting a complaint.

Departments of human/social services must cooperate fully with the federal and state investigative processes. If the Department receives or is notified of a complaint of discrimination against the agency, the Department will initiate corrective actions as specified in 10 CCR 2505-5 1.020.11 until the Agency rectifies the issue. Non-compliance with corrective action will result in sanctions as stated in 10 CCR 2505-5 1.020.12.

Montezuma County Department of Social Services is not an enforcement agency. It can investigate situations where policies prohibiting discrimination may have been violated. You are always free to file a discrimination complaint with other appropriate agencies, including enforcement agencies.

 

Assistance in filing your complaint

If you have questions or need help to file your complaint, the Civil Rights Contact Person can assist.

Kelli Hargraves, Director

Montezuma County Department of Social Services

109 W. Main St., Room 170

Cortez, CO 81321

Phone: 970-564-4105

Fax: 970-564-9295

khargraves@co.montezuma.co.us

 

Montezuma County Department of Social Services Civil Rights Form

Montezuma County Department of Social Services has developed a form to assist complainants in filing a comprehensive complaint.  It is available upon request and located on the Montezuma County website www.montezumacounty.org.

 

Civil Rights Plan Administration and Monitoring

Montezuma County Department of Social Services will appoint a qualified Civil Rights Contact Person. To be considered qualified, the Civil Right Contact Person must be impartial and independent. The Civil Rights Contact Person will act as a point of contact for applicants, members, individuals and the Department for al of the agency’s Civil Rights Plan and requirements. The Civil Rights Contact Person will be the point of contact for civil rights complaints. The person will maintain up-to-date information on civil rights laws and requirements and ensure updates are share with agency staff regularly. The Civil Rights Contact Person will be responsible to post civil rights notices and updates in lobbies and on the agency website. The Civil Rights Contact Person will manage the discrimination investigation procedures, conduct investigations and address issues of civil rights non-compliance. The agency Civil Rights Contact Person is responsible for monitoring Montezuma County’s compliance with the Civil Rights Plan, including ensuring all staff complete required training, and that investigations are completed per the plan, including submission of the biannual investigation reporting

  • Providing its county civil rights plan in the agency reception areas in all locations. The plan is available to applicants, clients, members of the public, employees, volunteers and contractors.
  • Posting the county civil rights plan on the county’s website.
  • Annually train county staff on how to access the county civil rights plan on an ongoing basis and how to make the plan available upon request.
  • Conduct annual SNAP civil rights training for appropriate staff.

 

Agency Training

Montezuma County Department of Social Services will conduct regular training to staff as described below. Training will also be completed based on the findings of investigations conducted.

Montezuma County will conduct annual training on the agency’s civil rights plan to all staff that have contact with applicants and members or agency staff who supervise those who have applicant/member direct contact. The training will include information on how to provide clients and members with civil rights information, guidance on how to assist with filing civil rights complaints and updated contact information for the agency’s Civil Rights Contact Person. Training will also provide staff with information on how to access auxiliary aids and services and language access services for applicants and/or members.

Tracking of completion of annual training shall be maintained by the Civil Rights Contact Person on the agency training spreadsheet.  The Civil Rights Contact Person will conduct training as needed to staff based on complaints received by the agency and when investigations on complaints determine that there was a violation and/or founded discrimination.

Agency staff appointed to fulfill duties relating to the administration of Medical Assistance and who have direct contact with application and members or who supervise those who have direct contact with applicants and/or members are required to compete annual State Civil Rights and Nondiscrimination training provided by the Staff Development Division (SDD). Failure to complete the training annually may result in loss of access to the Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS). The Agency Civil Rights Contact Person shall maintain tracking of training completion by staff on the agency spreadsheet.

This plan will be reviewed annually by the county and updated as necessary, including changes to the Civil Rights Contact Person and/or their contact information. Any changes to the plan will be resubmitted to the Department at HCPF_CountyRelations@state.co.us.

 

Agency Contractor, Vendor, and Partner Compliance Requirements

As specified in 10 CCR 2505-5 1.020.6.1.c, the Department shall assure that any contractors, vendors, partners or other parties that do business on behalf of the agency, are paid using federal and state Medical Assistance funds, or who have contact with applicants or members are in compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and the provisions within this Operation Memo. If the agency is alerted to discriminatory activity, the agency must notify the Department, via email HCPF_CountyRelations@state.co.us, within three (3) calendar days.

At the Department’s direction, if the agency, state or federal government finds that any of the agency’s contractors, vendors, or partners are in violation of federal and state civil rights provision, the agency may be required to termination any payments or association with that party, per 10 CCR 2505-5 1.020.6.1.d. Termination must occur immediately upon notification from the Department to the agency.

Contact Montezuma County Social Services

109 West Main Street,
Room #170
Cortez, CO 81321
 
Phone: 970-565-3769
FAX: 970-565-8526
Office Hours: 8 am-5 pm Monday through Friday
State Social Services

Phone: 303-866-4300

Eligibility

(for current customers only)

Email: benefits@co.montezuma.co.us

Montezuma County Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Phone: 970-564-4128

Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline

Phone: 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437)

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