Watch CBS News

Report: 'Deeper layer of review' needed in Arapahoe County after Robin Niceta audit

Report: 'Deeper layer of review' needed in Arapahoe County after Robin Niceta audit
Report: 'Deeper layer of review' needed in Arapahoe County after Robin Niceta audit 01:50

The Colorado Department of Human Services released a summary of its review, findings and recommendations for the audit on Robin Niceta on Monday. Niceta is the former Arapahoe County Human Services worker who has been charged with falsifying a child abuse report to retaliate against an Aurora city councilwoman.

Robin Niceta  Arapahoe County

The state agency reviewed cases handled by Niceta when she was a child protective caseworker for Arapahoe County. According to the review findings released by the Arapahoe County Human Services Department, "To assess whether other activities were fraudulent and to ensure child safety, CDHS's Administrative Review Division (ARD) performed an independent review of all referrals made by the Social Caseworker, a paper review and random sample review of contacts entered into the Trails system (the statewide database that contains casework information) as completed by the Social Caseworker to determine whether the scope of this fraud was isolated or more of a pervasive issue with this Social Caseworker. In addition to the fraud review, the Division of Child Welfare (DCW) within CDHS conducted a review of the Social Caseworker's caseload as well as related incidents brought forth through the CDHS complaints process to identify and address any potential child safety issues or practice issues."

The state investigation began after Niceta was charged with making an anonymous complaint this past January, accusing Aurora City Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky with sexually abusing her 2-year-old son. Jurinsky was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Investigators believe Niceta made the accusation as retaliation for Jurinsky's public criticism of Niceta's then-intimate partner, former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson.

DANIELLE JURINSKY robin-niceta-12sot-transfer-frame-36.jpg
Aurora City Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky CBS

In the review, there were a total of 236 eligible contacts included, which fell under the criteria: 

● Contacts documented as having been made by the caseworker between November 1, 2021 and May 3, 2022 (the date of the last contact entered by the worker), 

● The contact was on an assessment where the caseworker was listed as the primary caseworker, 

● The contact was documented as "Completed", and 

● The contact was not with a child (i.e., an individual less than 18 years of age).

A random sample of 69 contacts was determined to be required for review. 

According to the findings of the fraud review, Arapahoe County Department of Human Services found that they were appropriately managed. 

In addition to the fraud review, the Division of Child Welfare within CDHS conducted a review of Niceta's caseload, of which there was "a specific issue raised related to the appropriateness of placement and care of a child in ACDHS custody that required further review."

The review also stated that CDHS staff did not identify any additional unresolved child safety concerns but did find concerns related to the conduct and practices performed by Niceta, including an inadequacy of effort and thoroughness in assessments to which Niceta and the supervisor were assigned. CDHS also had concerns about Niceta's failure to perform work in accordance with the Colorado Code of Regulations. 


In conclusion, the report finds that "Arapahoe County Department of Human Services has received detailed information on all child welfare involvement requiring prompt additional action." CDHS is recommending "an additional layer of review... to deeply access case practice and supervision."

Niceta resigned from her position in May but was charged with filing a false child abuse report and attempting to influence a public servant. Niceta's attorney has not responded to voicemail messages or emails from CBS News Colorado.

A class action lawsuit was filed against the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services claiming the agency and Niceta improperly investigated dozens of families and acted unethically.  

Arapahoe County released this statement about the report: Arapahoe County is thankful that the state's limited review of Robin Niceta's cases concluded that no children are currently in an unsafe situation, which is consistent with the mission of Arapahoe County Department of Human Services. The County accepts the findings of the review, and we will fully cooperate with the state's recommendations. In light of these findings, and consistent with statewide recommendations to all counties, we will add measures that will help mitigate the likelihood of bad actors infiltrating our systems in the future. We also will add new quality assurance professionals to help guide these practice improvements. 

The County requested this outside review to determine whether there was any additional misconduct committed by the former employee. The audit conducted by the State Department of Human Services determined that, on some cases handled by the former employee, there was a failure to completely investigate and document potential cases of child abuse, although it did not result in any child being left in an unsafe situation. It also concluded that the former employee's supervision did not catch these instances and recommended further review of supervisory practices. Fortunately, no additional instances of false reporting against a third party by this former employee have been found, nor has anything been found that would support the allegations of widespread overzealous and false pursuance of child abuse allegations contained in the recently filed class action lawsuit. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.