NACO LogoThe El Paso County Department of Human Services, El Paso County Planning and Community Development and El Paso County Public Health were recently recognized with Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

DHS started a program last year that co-located an Eligibility Assistance Technician at El Paso County Combined Courts to assist clients in need of emergency services. The courts had shared their concerns about the length of time it took for court-involved clients to go through the eligibility process in order to receive Health First Colorado (formerly known as Medicaid) assistance.

“Providing simplified access to DHS staff at the courthouse offers critical aid to those who are most vulnerable in the County,” DHS Executive Director Julie Krow said.

A person who needs services such as medical, dental, behavioral health, or even grief and loss counseling, can gain access to the appropriate providers on the same day through Health First Colorado (insurance), instead of drawing from County funds. By making access to short-term assistance more efficient, DHS is helping families move past crisis situations and linking them to tools and resources so families are able to focus on progress and working towards self-sufficiency.

The DHS project, by making access to short-term assistance more efficient, helps families move past crisis situations and linking them to tools and resources so families are able to focus on progress and working towards self-sufficiency.

“This has been a great asset for many families not only in Dependency & Neglect cases but also individuals looking for services that travel through the courthouse on a regular manner,” said Juvenile Court Facilitator Tina Horton. “We have also been able to reach parents that are in custody with Criminal Justice Center that do not have the benefit of speaking with a representative at the jail.”

“El Paso County continues to strive for excellence finding the most efficient and cost-effective ways to assist our residents,” said President Darryl Glenn, County Commissioner District

“It is a pleasure to see El Paso County staff earning recognition for the work they do to improve the lives of residents,” said Commissioner Peggy Littleton, District 5.

El Paso County Planning and Community Development Department was honored for building and launching the Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP), a web-based program that allows land use-related applications by developers, builders, businesses and homeowners to be submitted the County for review in an electronic format and all documents are immediately accessible to anyone who wants to see them. EDARP saves time and money and makes the process much more open and transparent.

El Paso County Public Health was honored for work on the Video Recorded Directly-Observed Therapy (VrDOT), which helps people with Tuberculosis (TB) who must be monitored regularly to ensure correct medications and dosage. The requirements for directly observed therapy are cumbersome, costly, and can extend the time of treatment because they can only take place on business days. VrDOT utilizes a smart phone application to view live or recorded sessions where a patient is shown to be taking TB medication according to the treatment plan on any day, at any time of day.

NACo recognized award-winning counties at its 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition July 13-16 in Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee. El Paso County was also recognized for two other projects.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

“Counties seize opportunities to deliver services more efficiently and build stronger communities every day. Achievement Award-winning programs are examples for counties that are determined to enhance services for our residents,” said NACo President Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks of Tarrant County Texas.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments. Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service. Learn more at