Discussions with Part C and Child Welfare Service experts revealed concerns that Part C providers may be unprepared to provide effective services to maltreated children and their families. Successful implementation of CAPTA may require structured collaboration between Child Welfare and Part C service providers.
- Part C providers may not be familiar with the unique challenges associated with providing services to maltreated children and their families. First, many Part C providers are speech language therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists. They may not be well prepared to address the special considerations required when working with maltreated children. Second, receipt of Part C services is voluntary, so court-ordered services are not part of the culture for early intervention service providers. Court-ordered involvement may cause parents or caregivers to view a service provider as an intrusion rather than as a source of assistance. They may be suspicious of, or hostile towards, service providers. Third, the focus of Child Welfare Services tends to be on the perpetrator and contributing family members rather than Part C early intervention's focus on child disability.
- Increased training and collaboration of Child Welfare and Part C service providers may be a useful approach to facilitate CAPTA compliance and enhance developmental outcomes for children. Experts we spoke with were concerned about service providers being able to manage high-risk families in the Part C service environment. According to the experts, very few Part C providers have both early intervention and social work training and knowledge. The experts suggest cross-training, better developmental education for Child Welfare workers, and specialized case coordination.