Polk County Decategorization

Denise Hotopp

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Denise Hotopp on Sunday, January 22, 2023.  Denise was the first Coordinator for Polk Decat, who formed the Polk Decat structure into how it mostly remains today.  She was the consummate professional and yet she was down to earth, able to make connections with anyone.  You only had to attend one of her community meetings to see the collaboration and participation of so many agencies and community members energetically discussing in one room!  She saw opportunities to try new approaches, seeding such services as Parent Partners and Family Team Meetings in Polk County, which are now part of everyday practice in Child Welfare. 

 

Denise was a mentor to many, including my husband, Joe, who was until recently the Coordinator of the Madison, Marion, and Warren Decat cluster.  He recollected her reminders to take a deep breath when feeling overwhelmed and not get mired in the details at those times.  Many of you who knew her understood her ability to provide a calm, sane and thoughtful perspective when emotions and anxiety were running high.

 

Denise loved the color purple, and up until last year, we used the logo she developed for Polk Decat so many years ago.  In her honor, we kept the color purple in our new logo.  It was important to her for everyone to understand her original logo of the triangle and lines going into the triangle symbolizing the collaboration between Department of (Health and) Human Services, Juvenile Court Services and the Polk County community, and the funding that came into Decat from those sources.  When she heard we were working on changing the logo, she called me to remind me of this as she felt it was that important to lift up this important collaboration for the benefit of children and families in Polk.  She put a little plug in for the purple, too! 

 

Maybe the logo does not seem so important at first glance, but it demonstrates the thought and effort she put into every aspect of her work.  She was that intentional with her approach to everything.  She was the Polk County Decat Coordinator for 17 years and she built a very strong foundation for us.  I see her handiwork every day.  Maybe it’s a form she created, or a procedure or a contract she developed, or a relationship she established that I still benefit from.  I am so lucky that I can continue to “partner” with her in this way.

 

Our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends.  We all will miss this woman with a big heart and who changed the face of services for kids and families in Polk County.

 

Below is a link to her obituary if you wish to send your own condolences.

 

All my best, 

 

Teresa Burke

 

https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/legacyremembers/denise-hotopp-obituary?id=38746464

 



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