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DHS Statement Regarding Arrest of Former Employee

DENVER – January 22, 2015 – Denver Human Services (DHS) Executive Director Penny May today released the following statement regarding the arrest of former DHS employee, Rotchana Madera, in relation to charges of forgery, tampering with physical evidence and official misconduct in the case of two month old Natalee Skinner-Hurst.

“Denver Human Services takes its responsibility for protecting the most vulnerable among us very seriously. The overwhelming majority of our case workers do all they can each day to strengthen families and keep kids safe. We stand behind those workers and are confident in the work they do. In the unfortunate case when a worker fails to follow the law and fails to do all he or she can to keep kids safe, we are obligated to take the appropriate action and hold that case worker accountable, which is what transpired in this case.”

Following this incident, DHS reviewed all other case work completed by Madera and conducted all appropriate follow-ups to those cases.

Press release from Denver District Attorney regarding charges against Madera: http://www.denverda.org/News_Release/Releases_2015.htm

Background:
In May 2014, DHS was contacted regarding concerns about newborn Natalee Skinner-Hurst. Case worker Rotchana Madera was assigned to investigate the referral. The case is closed on July 8, 2014.

On July 31, 2014, two-month-old Natalee Skinner-Hurst died. Her mother is currently charged in her death. 

DHS initiates a review of all case work following the death of any child for which the agency had previously investigated a referral. During the review process of the work completed by former DHS caseworker Madera in the case of infant Natalee Skinner-Hurst, DHS identified discrepancies between the case file and data received via external records.

As a result, in September 2014 the agency requested an independent review of the case by Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman, Dennis Goodwin.

In December 2014, DHS turned all documents relating to the case over to the Denver Police Department for official investigation.

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About Denver Human Services

Denver Human Services provides assistance, protection and prevention services to Denver’s most vulnerable residents. Assistance programs are provided to eligible Denver residents in financial need and include federal food, cash and medical benefits, as well as child care, child support, energy, rental and burial assistance. Protection and Prevention services are provided via child, youth and adult protection services, along with community focused programming including veterans’ services, homeless services, and substance abuse awareness campaigns. For more information, visit www.denvergov.org/humanservices.