United States Child Welfare System Redesign
Strategic Action Plan
These webpages are a work in progress. They are open to the public to encourage comments, ideas, and improvements.
1.1 Intervention: Redesigned CWS – In-Home Services
The CPS Caseworker shouldn’t have to choose between assessing a new child abuse case or conducting a weekly visit to a family with a child who has been abused. Those are two separate jobs, two separate positions, and should be handled by two separate people.
Currently, the CPS Caseworker must perform the initial assessment, start the Family Plan, and monitor the In-Home programs and services. These tasks require different skillsets and capabilities, and they all do not have to be done by the CPS Caseworker.
For the initial assessment, the CPS Caseworker needs to be decisive and in command of the situation following the exit of Law Enforcement. Quick decisions and gut instincts need to be prime qualities for these tasks.
However, administering and monitoring In-Home programs and services require “softer” skills, such as care, compassion, persuasion, and comfort with repetition.
If comparing CPS assessment and In-Home Services with a hospital, the CPS Caseworker would be the Doctor making decisions, prescribing treatments, medications, and procedures, etc. The Nurse carries out the Doctor’s orders, with compassion and a soothing “bedside manner” to ease the patient’s fears and concerns.
It is at this point in the process flow that the CPS Caseworker’s duties shift to “overseer” of the case, and, depending on the next step in the case plan, another CWS staff – either a Family Services Worker if the child remains in the home or a Placement Worker if the child is to be removed from the home – is brought in, debriefed by the CPS Caseworker, and takes over the child’s case plan, which has been recorded on the CWS app and transmitted to the CWS database and the Law Enforcement database. Note that, in most cases when the child is removed from the home, the family receives In-Home Services to prepare for the reunification of the child into the home once it is safe for the child. When child abuse or neglect has been found in the home, the child is never left in the home without a Child Safety Plan in addition to the Family In-Home Services plans.
The In-Home Services process flow is outlined below. As stated above, the child may or may not be in the family home when the family receives In-Home Services. Both scenarios will be presented in this process flow.
1.18 Family Services Worker arrives at the location
Requests from CPS Caseworkers for a Family Services Worker are routed first by availability and nearest location, although the CPS Caseworker can request a specific Family Services Worker or a Family Services Worker with a specific skill (e.g., speaks Spanish).
Family Services Worker will have received the child’s case file via the CPS phone app, is aware of the situation, knows whether the child will or will not remain in the home, and understands what In-Home Services are to be provided for the family, in addition to appropriate Safety Plans when the child remains at home.
1.19 CPS Caseworker and Family Services Worker introduce family
This is the handoff to the Family Services Worker. However, the child and family are given the name and phone number of the CPS Caseworker to call whenever needed.
1.20 Family Services Worker introduces family to programs and services
The CPS Caseworker stays for a while as the Family Services Worker introduces the family to the programs and services specified in the Family In-Home Services plan. When the CPS Caseworker leaves to return to the office, the Caseworker alerts the CPS phone app that they are available for 911 calls again. Some examples of In-Home Services plans include: drug and alcohol abuse treatment, stress reduction methods, job-hunting assistance, etc.
1.21 Family Services Worker visits family weekly to discuss progress
The CWS database automatically schedules the next appointments into the Family Services Worker’s work calendar to ensure that the visits occur on schedule and any conflicts with meetings, etc., are worked around, CWS database monitoring of family visits also makes accurate reporting of number and length of visits easier for federal agencies and in annual reports.
To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.