Committee discussion topics should address the goal of identifying best practices, areas of concern and opportunities for the improvement in outcomes for children and families within the investigative stage of service.
The Committees charge includes reviewing existing investigation policies and to identify and recommend best practices for parental involvement.
I am asking those who have had such problems with CPS to give us written testimony that we may share, since the time for personal testimony will be limited.
I want the committee to hear from parents who have had bad experiences with CPS so that we can ask questions of the department officials and recommend changes to alleviate such problems in the future.
Please give this information to others who might have had such experiences and let us hear from any parents you know who have had a negative experience.
Strengthening Investigations – Improved Screening
•41 Screeners have reviewed more than 24,000 reports
•Nearly 25% of these screened reports have been closed resulting in more caseworker time
spent on cases needing attention
New Investigations Structure
•Investigations division in place
•131 Special Investigators, with law enforcement background, hired statewide to assist in complex cases
•7 Law Enforcement Liaisons hired to build partnerships between DFPS and law enforcement in local communities and to assist in hiring special investigators
Child Safety Specialists
•20 Child Safety Specialists hired bringing the total to 43
•Risk assessment training developed and delivered to staff
•Risk and Safety Subcommittee established to better address risk and safety tool
Response Time Reduction
•Began pilot program in Dallas/Ft.Worth region
Joint Investigations and Training
•Joint investigations guidelines in place
•Working with law enforcement at local level to provide joint training
•Contract with Shaken Baby Alliance in place to provide advanced training on abuse/neglect investigations
Parental Notification of Child Transfer
•New policy and form in place
Supporting Quality Casework Hiring
•CPS hired over 2,200 direct delivery staff since September 2005
Staffing and Workload Distribution Plan
•Functional units established and workload measurement tools in place to allocate new staff to regions
Average daily caseloads for investigative caseworkers
•Sept 05 – 38.9
•Sept 06 – 27.8
Average daily caseload for conservatorship caseworkers
•Sep 05 – 42.6
•Sep 06 – 44.2
•1,794 Tablet PCs were distributed to CPS investigators by October 2006
•An additional 424 will be supplied to new CPS investigative staff by close of the biennium
•Tablet PCs have replaced the desktop computers allowing full computing capability in the field; this includes a wireless service for communication and information access
Drug Related Initiatives
•Drug Endangered Child Protocols and methamphetamine protocols incorporated into training
•9 substance abuse specialists hired statewide
Drug Testing Requirements
- As of January 1, 2006, a residential child care operation must have a drug testing policy and inform DFPS within 24 hours after becoming aware that a person who directly cares for or has access to a child in the operation has abused drugs within the past 7 days.
- DFPS: if a person who directly (as opposed to indirectly?) cares for or has access to a child in the operation (in the operation???) has abused drugs within the past 7 days!!!
The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Parental Advisory Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for sometime around the 21st or 28th of March. At that time, the committee will be taking testimony from parents who have concerns or problems related to workers and/or the agency in regard to an investigations of abuse and/or neglect.
This is in keeping with our mission to advise the department on the policies affecting parents and their involvement with the department,including:
(1) Investigations of allegations of abuse or neglect;
(2) Designations of alternate placements for children; and
(3) Standards for persons who investigate reports of abuse or neglect on the state or local level.
“The scope of the DFPS Parental Advisory Committee is to focus on the CPS policies within the investigative stage of service to identify practices to improve parental involvement and to bring to the forefront issues as they evolve in order to improve the outcome for children and families served by CPS.”