Rio Grande County contracts with La Llave

DEL NORTE— Rio Grande County Commissioners agreed to enter into a contract with La Llave, a community and family support program out of Alamosa for the next six to nine months.

During the meeting held on Dec. 27, the board spoke with Rio Grande Social Services Director Jody Kern about the contract with Interim La Llave Director Toni Steffens-Steward. The board expressed their concern that Kern would have the time needed to dedicate to the program, as well as the staff in order to ensure that by entering into the contract, everyone felt at ease.

Kern opened the conversation stating that the department of social services received a grant that could be used to help La Llave continue to offer parenting classes to residents of the Valley. With the new board overseeing the financial status of La Llave and with the help of Steffens-Steward, she feels very comfortable entering into the agreement. Kern stated that the program is a huge benefit to the community and that she wants to see that it continues to help families throughout the area.

“The money comes from the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood and was awarded to Rio Grande County on behalf of all six Valley counties. Rio Grande County is the fiscal agent and is contracting with La Llave to administer the program. La Llave will use this funding to provide evidence-based parenting programs to parents throughout the entire San Luis Valley including the following Incredible Years Parenting Program, Active Parenting and Nurturing Fathers,” explained Kern.

Commissioner Suzanne Bothell spoke to Kern and asked for clarification on whether or not she feels comfortable with the agreement, to which Kern responded again that she feels very comfortable in her ability to dedicate time and staff to the program. Chairwoman Karla Shriver also spoke up stating that the program plays a huge role in the betterment of the community and that it is an essential part in helping families who need support. “I think that the program is very beneficial and if Jody did not feel comfortable with the agreement she would not have brought it to the table for consideration,” said Shriver.

Commissioner Gene Glover also spoke on the topic, commending Steffens-Steward, stating that he feels at ease with the contract knowing that she would be the one in charge of the program. “If La Llave had not adopted a new board or put Toni in the director seat, we would be having a completely different conversation today,” said Glover. The board made a motion to approve the contract for a period of six months and no more than nine months before it would be up for re-approval. The motion passed unanimously.

Kern also explained to the board that Steffens-Steward would be looking to hire another individual to help handle the program finances and that she would be sitting in on the interview. “I don’t want to be in their business, that is not my place, but I have asked Toni if I could sit in just to make sure that they have a job description and other state requirements covered,” explained Kern. Commissioners agreed and thanked the two for coming in to discuss the contract.

La Llave is a family resource center in Alamosa that works to improve the stability of families within the Valley and increase literary improvements in children and adults. They offer a wide range of family based programs including the ones listed above. For more information, please visit www.lalla

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