Serving Southwest Colorado's children

and adults with disabilities and

their families since 1985. 

The Evolution of Community Connections

Durango Herald Article - 11.11.23
​​​We all evolve and grow. This is true both for people and organizations. The evolution of an organization is complicated. By their very nature, organizations tend toward inertia. Major changes take a concerted effort from staff, volunteers, customers, members, and any leadership of the organization. Sometimes evolution results from external pressures. Sometimes it comes from within. Often it is a mix of both.


Letter from the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing - 3.4.24


Case Management Agency Transition
​​​Single Entry Point programs managed by Montezuma County Public Health will transition to Community Connections on November 1, 2023. View the PowerPoint presentation  or watch the video from our October 2023 Case Management Agency Transition town hall meetings, explaining the upcoming changes.   

System Redesign

Redesign: to do or plan something again or in a different way with a specific purpose or intention in mind

Frequently Asked Questions​

What is happening?
Over the next year, Community Connections will work to become two separate non-profit organizations.

The plan is for Community Connections to provide case management for all children and adult Medicaid Waivers (formerly CCB and SEP) for the five counties of Southwest Colorado (Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan) as well as Family Support Services and management of State Supported Living Services for the region. We have received the Notice of Intent to Award to serve as the Case Management Agency for these five counties beginning November 1, 2024. 

A new 501c3 named Our Own Lives will provide direct support services, like day services, employment, and residential services. Community Connections is setting up this new organization and will provide the organization with initial assets and staff. Eventually, Our Own Lives will be a separate organization with different leadership, board, and finances from Community Connections.

Why is this happening?
State and Federal Rules require that as of July 2024, the same organization cannot provide both case management and direct services. Our Colorado state partners have a very good explanation of the changes at the state level at Check that out for a more in-depth explanation of the “why!”

Why is the same organization providing both services a problem?
Conflicts of Interest. Having the same organization provide both services and case management means the case manager is approving money to be paid to the same organization to provide services. It also creates an unfair competitive advantage against new providers coming into our area and increasing the choices available for services.

Who made the decision to try and split into two organizations?
The Community Connections Board of Directors made the decision with input from the Client Leadership Council and management.

Will clients’ case manager or DSP change?
No, other than the impacts of typical turnover. Community Connections chose this option partly because it is the only option that lets Community Connections retain current staff or allow them to transfer to Our Own Lives. Case managers who have been providing Single Entry Point (SEP) case management through the Montezuma Public Health Department will be offered positions at Community Connections, so we hope they will be around to support the people they’ve been working with, too.This maximizes the chances that people will retain case managers and other staff they have connections with.

What is the timeline?
We will transition the Montezuma and Dolores counties Single Entry Point case management to Community Connections on November 1, 2023. Our Own Lives will start providing services for the Children’s Extensive Support (CES), Supported Living Services (SLS), and Residential (HCB-DD) programs on July 1, 2024. It is possible that not everything will be in place for Our Own Lives to be 100% separate by July 1, 2024. Some things like licenses and provider approval may take longer than anticipated.

We have a waiver from the state of Colorado to allow us to continue to have a relationship between the organizations until everything is complete, but we will still operate as separate organizations starting July 1, 2024.

What will change?
We aren’t completely sure yet! There will be a lot of changes to become two organizations. We do know the change will mean that each organization will have separate boards of directors, separate leadership, and separate finances. Buildings and other things Community Connections owns will likely be split up between the two organizations as well. Having this separation will allow people with disabilities to receive case management and direct services in our region, but without any conflict of interest.

What will stay the same?
Most things! People will still be eligible for the same services. People will still receive case management and program services, only from two different organizations. We are excited about the opportunities this change gives us to make all of our services better.

Who will lead these organizations?
The current President/CEO at Community Connections is acting as the interim CEO for Our Own Lives until we can get new leadership hired for the new organization. We expect to have new staff leadership for Our Own Lives chosen by early 2024, including a CEO and CFO, human resources, and other administrative staff. Other management staff from Community Connections direct services department will likely transfer to the new organization. Some of Community Connections’ current board members will likely move to Our Own Lives. Both boards need new additional members to be diverse and do their jobs as nonprofit boards.

What about Early Intervention?
Early Intervention is not impacted by the current redesign and will stay with Community Connections. There will be a process to reselect early intervention programs across the state in early 2024. Community Connections will go through the application process, and we hope to continue providing our high-quality early intervention services well into the future.

What should I do?
This change will take a lot of work! You can help by:

  • Help inform others. Many people will have these same questions.
  • Give guidance and ideas!
  • Consider joining a board of directors. We need to create two separate boards of directors to provide a wide range of perspectives and skills.


When will you know more? 
As we have new information about this change, we will keep this FAQ updated with more information.

Have questions or concerns?
Contact our President/CEO Tara Kiene at