LRC Committee on Omnibus Foster Care and Dependency Child Welfare Services The County Perspective Rebecca Troutman, IGR Director North Carolina Association of County Commissioners March 18, 2014 N.C. County Role in Child Welfare Services
Protecting children is the most critical responsibility of NC counties! Why? Its our job County-administered, state supervised system Most States Provide CPS via State Employees Source: NCGA Fiscal Research
N.C. Child Welfare Administration, County & Federal Funding System N.C. Child Welfare Administration, County & Federal Funding System $313 M $218 M Child Protective Services Largely Fed. & County Funded $178 M
$107 M Session Law 2011-145 replaced state funding of $5 million with federal Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funds. NCGA Fiscal Research County Funding Grows More Important CPS Workload Grows as Pop. Grows & Economy Worsens Children
Reports The States Oversight Role NC-DHHS Active in Supervising County DSS CPS Per policy manual--supervision of the local agencies is carried out through: Issuance and interpretation of policies Provision of consultation and technical assistance Conduct of biennial reviews of program performance Establishment of program improvement plans as needed to ensure
that policies, standards, and methods are in operation to achieve safety for children If a county agency is unable to correct agency practice so that adequate protective services are provided, the Division of Social Services has the authority to assume direct responsibility for providing services. State Sets CPS Process & Requirements DSS is responsible for receiving reports of suspected child abuse, neglect, or dependency and evaluating these reports to determine if the reported information
meets the statutory guidelines for child maltreatment Each DSS to have specific written procedures for receiving CPS reports and for providing supervisory decision making 24 hours a day Average monthly caseload size for child welfare intake to be no greater than one worker per 100 CPS referrals State Sets Education Requirements SOCIAL WORKER III Minimum Training and Experience Requirements: Master's degree in social work from an accredited school of social work Bachelor's degree in social work from an accredited school of social work and
completion of the Child Welfare Collaborative (Child Welfare positions only) Bachelor's degree in social work from an accredited school of social work and one year directly related experience Master's degree in a human services field and one year of directly related experience Bachelor's degree in a human services field from an accredited college or university and two years directly related experience Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and three years of directly related experience State Sets Training Requirements 131D-10.6A. Training by the Division of Social Services required.
NC-DHHS Division of Social Services to establish minimum training requirements for child welfare services staff and are as follows: (1) Child welfare services workers shall complete a minimum of 72 hours of pre-service training before assuming direct client contact responsibilities (2) Child protective services workers shall complete a minimum of 18 hours of additional training that the Division of Social Services determines is necessary to adequately meet training needs (3) Child welfare services supervisors shall complete a minimum of 72 hours of pre-service training before assuming supervisory responsibilities and a minimum of 54 hours of additional training that the Division of Social Services determines is necessary to adequately meet training needs (4) Child welfare services staff shall complete 24 hours of continuing
education annually State Sets CPS Process & Requirements All accepted reports of child maltreatment must be reported to States central registry (10A NCAC 70A.0112). Intake social worker must use NC-DHHS Structured Intake Form, DSS-1402, to document information about report of suspected abuse, neglect or dependency All reports received for CPS Assessment require: Two party review of intake decision; That one be in a management position, and all persons participating in intake decision must sign intake tool
Written notice to reporter, unless waived or anonymous, within 5 business days after receipt of report State Sets Assessment Requirements G.S. 7B-302 sets time standards for maltreatment assessments from receipt of reports: Reports of abuse initiated immediately, within 24 hours Reports of neglect or dependency within 72 hours following the receipt of the report NC-DHHS Structured Intake sets evaluation
criteria CPS Conflicts of Interest Arise, Must Engage Neighboring County 10A NCAC 70A .0103 REPORTS OF NEGLECT, ABUSE OR DEPENDENCY Reports of neglect, abuse, or dependency SHALL be referred to another county DSS for investigation when alleged perpetrator is DSS employee, foster parent supervised by DSS, DSS board member, or caretaker in sole-source contract group home or agency-operated day care facility If DSS director, in his professional judgment, believes DSS agency
would be perceived as having conflict of interest, the director MAY request another county conduct the investigations State Has Authority to Assume Control of Child Welfare Services 108A-74. County department failure to provide services; State intervention in or control of service delivery. NC-DHHS Secretary, upon determination that county DSS is not providing child protective services, foster care services, or adoption services in accordance with State law and with applicable rules adopted by the Social Services Commission May intervene in the particular service or services in
question, or; If failure to provide services poses substantial threat shall withhold funding and shall ensure services provision through public or private agency contracts or by direct operation County Governance & Oversight Counties Must Have Board Oversight 108A-1. Every county shall have a board of social services or a consolidated human services board created pursuant to G.S. 153A-77(b) Board must establish county policies for programs
established by 108A in conformity with rules and regulations of Social Services Commission and under NC-DHHS supervision County Boards of County Commissioners Select Best Configuration County DSS Governance Structure County Board of Social Services; 3 to 5 members, at county BoC option 3 member = 1 county appointee & 1 Social Services Commission appointee appoint 1 add. member
5 member = 2 BoC & 2 Social Services Commission appoint 1 add. member Members must reside in county, must meet at least once per month County Consolidated Human Services Board appointed by BoC 4 persons consumers of human services, 8 professionals (1 psychologist, 1 pharmacist, 1 engineer, 1 dentist, 1 optometrist, 1 veterinarian, 1 social worker, and 1 registered nurse), 2 physicians (1 as psychiatrist), 1 BoC member Members must reside in county, must meet at least quarterly
BoC acting as DSS Board or Consolidated Human Services Board Regardless of Form, All County Boards Must Comply with Statute Duties include: Select county director of social services according to the merit system rules; consolidated director under manager Advise county and municipal authorities in developing policies and plans to improve social conditions of community Consult with the DSS Director about problems relating to his office, and to assist him in DSS planning budgets
Transmit or present DSS budgets of the county department of social services for public assistance, social services, and administration to BoC Have such other duties and responsibilities as General Assembly, NCDHHS or Social Services Commission or BoC may assign to it Community Child Protection Teams CCPTs required to review active child welfare cases to determine gaps and deficiencies in services and resources in each county CPS system CPTs established through Executive Order 142 in 1991and further defined in N.C. G.S. 7B 1406 Information used to develop prevention strategies as well as
strategies to address a current condition Teams required annually to report information gathered from case reviews and other sources to county Board of Commissioners and NCDSS Teams also provide public awareness campaigns in child wellbeing Community Child Protection Teams CPTs have mandated team members & counties may appoint 5 additional members; team must have: DSS Director and member of director's staff Local law enforcement officer, appointed by BoC Attorney from district attorney's office, appointed by the district attorney;
Executive director of local community action agency, as defined by NCDHHS, Superintendent of each LEA Member of county board of social services Local mental health professional, appointed by area authority Local guardian ad litem coordinator County health director Local health care provider, appointed by the local board of health Counties report that those commonly absent from meetings are: district attorneys office, DSS board member, executive director of local Community Action Agency, county health director Federal CPS Metrics
Federal CPS Measures for North Carolina For Period October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013 NC Large Counties Medium Counties
Small Counties 1. Recurrence of Maltreatment 6.1% or less 5.85% 6.71% 5.92% 5.27%
2. Maltreatment in Foster Care 0.57% or less 0.28% 0.46% 0.25% 0.23% 76.2% or
more 54.83% 58.93% 55.77% 50.92% 4. Reentry into Foster Care within 12 Months
8.6% or less 4.02% 3.61% 3.52% 4.83% 5. Adoption within 24 Months
32% or more 37.22% 44.81% 41.26% 29.23% 86.7% or
more 88.18% 87.77% 90.46% 85.63% Federal Standards Criteria
3. Reunified within 12 Months 6. Placement Stability (2 or fewer placements) National Standard NC-DHHS Works to Ensure Foster Care Visitations Occur Recommendations for Committee
Study & Consideration Community Child Protective Teams Identify Key Indicators of Child Maltreatment Family & caretaker substance abuse issues Domestic violence Access to consistent, quality mental health services NC DSS Directors Association Active in
System Improvement Challenges in accessing mental health services Evaluate efficiency of mental health service delivery Explore options to reorganize DSS & Mental Health, merging services for children, co-locate staff, fund DSS pilots of MH clinical services Require use of evidence based practices & ensure Medicaid funding at initial entry Challenges in communication & accountability Expand continuous quality improvement (REAP) Build upon & fund state oversight & expand professional development of child welfare supervision; rework conflict of interest process Reconsider funding structures to focus on prevention & cost-effective services
Challenges in foster care length of time AOC to track children via abuse/neglect/dependency petitions Consider alternative placements such as paid kinship NCACC Hears County Concerns Technology No statewide case management system or tools for CWS workers Funding Few state dollars & federal funds drying up
Accountability County DSS charged with all public guardianship cases How to manage CPS conflict of interest Funding, reporting Questions & Comments
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