Tagged: The Kempe Center

Dr. Kathryn Wells named new Director of Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect

The Kempe Center and Kempe Foundation are pleased to announce Kathryn Wells, MD as the new Executive Director of the Center. A board certified specialist in Child Abuse Pediatrics, Dr. Wells has dedicated her career to protecting children and families and building communities where children have the opportunity to thrive.

“In my experience, child abuse and neglect can’t be solved by one person or profession,” said Wells. “In this role, I hope to build on the tremendous reputation and history of the Kempe Center as a leader in preventing and treating child abuse and neglect. We hope to build and strengthen the community partnerships we have with the State of Colorado and counties around the state. In doing so, I hope Colorado will be a model for the rest of the country.”

For nearly 50 years, the Kempe Center has strived to improve the care and well being of all children by strengthening families, communities and the systems that serve them. Through clinical service, research, education and training, the Center supports innovation in systems and communities that work with vulnerable children, youth and families.

Dr. Wells will also be serving as the Section Head for Child Abuse and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The Center is located on the Anshutz Medical Campus, and is supported by the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Kempe Foundation. It also works in partnership with Children’s Hospital Colorado to run the Kempe Child Protection Team, a multidisciplinary team made up of professionals from medicine, pediatrics, mental health and hospital social work to evaluate, diagnose and treat suspected victims of child abuse and neglect.

Prior to taking this position, Wells was the Medical Director of the Denver Health Clinic at the Family Crisis Center and an attending physician at Denver Health and with the Kempe Child Protection Team at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She also did clinical research at the Kempe Center and served as an Outreach Liaison with ECHO Colorado. Wells is originally from Montana where she went to college at Carroll College in Helena, MT. She then earned her medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, NE where she also completed a pediatric residency at Creighton/University of NE combined program. She practiced general pediatrics for 5 years in Caldwell, ID before coming to Colorado in 2001.

Wells follows Dr. Desmond Runyan in this position. Runyan retired from the Kempe Center in 2018

SafeCare Colorado Program Expands to Nine Counties

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Efforts to provide critical supports to at-risk families with children ages five and younger received a boost today with the expansion of SafeCare Colorado to nine additional counties.

The new counties served are: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache, Weld, El Paso, and Douglas.

SafeCare Colorado offers proactive in-home, voluntary services that support at-risk families in understanding the health, development and safety needs of young children. The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) program is one piece of Gov. John W. Hickenlooper’s multi-faceted approach to child welfare, called “Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy 2.0.”

“We are very excited about the opportunities that this voluntary program offers,” said Mary Anne Snyder, Director of the Office of Early Childhood for the CDHS. “Many families referred to the child welfare system are either screened out, or closed after assessment, without receiving services. We continue to be more proactive in helping families by expanding preventative programs throughout the state.”

SafeCare Colorado uses a nationally recognized, evidence-based, in-home parent education program to provide direct skills training to caregivers in the areas of parenting, home safety, and child health. Staff at the newly selected SafeCare Colorado sites will be trained in the fall and can take referrals from community-based organizations, child welfare services, and even parents seeking help.

New SafeCare Colorado Sites:

  • La Llave Family Resource Center – in partnership with Alamosa County Department of Human Services, Conejos County Department of Social Services, Costilla County Department of Social Services, Mineral County Department of Social Services, Rio Grande County Department of Social Services, and Saguache County Department of Social Services
  • Northeast Behavioral Health  – in partnership with Weld County Department of Human Services
  • Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains – in partnership with El Paso County Department of Human Services.

Expanded SafeCare Colorado Site:

  • The Family Tree (currently serving Adams County) – in partnership with Douglas County Human Services

CDHS is continuing its partnership with The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect to administer SafeCare Colorado throughout Colorado. With the addition of these three new sites, the SafeCare program is now offered in 39 Colorado counties and two American Indian tribes.

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SafeCare Colorado Success Stories
Karla was struggling with communication with her son, especially when he was sad or upset. SafeCare Colorado helped Karla and her son by providing her with education and insights on her child’s behavior, health/illness and home safety. Since being a part of the program, Karla’s son’s school has noticed a positive improvement in how well he’s doing, and Karla says that all the tools she gained from SafeCare Colorado help her every day as a parent. She loves SafeCare Colorado and thinks every family should use it.

Peg agreed to participate in SafeCare Colorado because she wanted insight on how she could raise her two and half year old son and better handle his tantrums and defiant behavior. During a SafeCare Colorado session, the home visitor discussed the need for rules and consequences, which was a new concept for her. Peg had been in and out of foster care growing up and therefore did not want to enforce rules upon her son.

Peg was also surprised to learn that she could give out positive consequences; she only knew of negative consequences. For her homework assignment over the next week, Peg was to establish the rules that she wanted for her home, and provide positive consequences. Her plan was put into place over the next four weeks. Over that time, Peg reported a decrease in the number of tantrums and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

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This press release was released by the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Children Youth and Families.