National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. 2.5 The Role of CPS in Providing Followup Services

05/01/2003

A long standing concern regarding CPS is the nature and extent of service provision in addition to the basic requirements of CPS functions. In this section, an overall view of service provision — both during and after CPS intervention — is discussed.

Most CPS agencies are able to provide services following an investigation regardless of the determinations made during the investigation. Table 2-14 provides a breakdown of the criteria used by agencies following a CPS investigation. Nearly three-quarters of agencies (74%) were allowed to provide services regardless of the investigation determination. A smaller fraction of agencies (15%), were allowed to offer services in the event that a report was substantiated or indicated, and even fewer agencies (11%) offered no services other than the investigation.

Table 2-14:
Provision for Followup Services
Practice Investigation response agency
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Allowed to offer services, regardless of determination 1,930
(1,730-2,130)
74%
Allowed to offer services, only when referral is substantiated 390
(250-520)
15%
No services are offered at conclusion of investigation response 290
(200-390)
11%
Total 2,610
(2,410-2,810)
100%

Most agencies are able to offer an extensive range of support services during and following the investigation or alternative response. Taking into account that some agencies did not provide an alternative response option, the relative frequency of service types was fairly consistent when comparing investigation and alternative response. More than three-quarters of agencies were estimated to be able to provide parenting classes, substance abuse programs, and child care. Agencies were least likely to offer financial planning, employment services, dental exams, and tutoring for both investigation and alternative response (Table 2-15).

Agencies tended to have flexible guidelines concerning when to provide services after the investigation was concluded with either no set timeframes or decisions made by supervisors. For most States there was either no time limit (22%) or the decision regarding the timing of services was made by a supervisor (27%). In contrast, a few agencies (18%) set time limits — the most common response being within 31-60 days (8%), followed by 1-30 days (6%), and 61-90 days (4%) as shown in Table 2-16.

For agencies with an alternative response, the same basic pattern is seen for investigations. However, when the numbers were adjusted to exclude agencies without an alternative response option, it is estimated that about 61 percent of the agencies had either no time limits (31%) or that it was the supervisor's discretion (30%). For these agencies, only 11 percent had set time limits for when services are to be initiated.

Table 2-15:
Services by CPS Agencies
Service Investigation response agency Alternative response agency
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Parenting classes 2,270
(2,080-2,460)
87% 1,420
(1,240-1,610)
86%
Grief counseling 1,750
(1,550-1,950)
67% 1,140
(970-1,300)
68%
Marital counseling 1,840
(1,650-2,030)
71% 1,230
(1,060-1,390)
74%
Family systems therapy 1,920
(1,720-2,120)
74% 1,210
(1,020-1,400)
81%
Child therapy 2,130
(1,940-2,330)
82% 1,330
(1,150-1,500)
61%
Substance abuse programs 2,200
(1,990-2,400)
84% 1,350
(1,170-1,530)
81%
Medical exam 1,730
(1,540-1,920)
66% 1,010
(880-1,150)
61%
Dental exam 1,500
(1,310-1,690)
58% 860
(720-1,010)
52%
Homemaker/chore 1,630
(1,410-1,820)
62% 1,070
(910-1,230)
64%
Transportation 1,660
(1,500-1,820)
64% 1,070
(910-1,220)
64%
Tutoring 1,060
(880-1,250)
41% 780
(620-940)
47%
Financial planning 1,470
(1,240-1,710)
56% 920
(760-1,090)
56%
Advocacy services 1,790
(1,620-1,960)
69% 1,120
(950-1,280)
67%
Housing assistance 1,670
(1,470-1,870)
64% 1,100
(930-1,270)
66%
Child care 1,990
(1,790-2,190)
76% 1,270
(1,100-1,440)
77%
Employment services 1,500
(1,300-1,700)
58% 900
(740-1,050)
54%
Domestic violence services 1,990
(1,790-2,190)
76% 1,230
(1,050-1,410)
74%
Other service category one 220
(140-310)
9% 130
(50-210)
8%
Other service category two 80
(20-140)
3% 10
(<1-20)
<1
* Percentages are not additive because agencies were included in each applicable row (category).
Survey Respondents were asked to respond to two "other service" categories. Since these represent different services for the agencies with more than one, and since not all agencies provided data for two services, they are separated in the table.

 

Table 2-16:
Timeframe for Providing Services
Timeframe Investigation response agency Alternative response agency
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
No time limit 560
(390-740)
22% 510
(370-650)
31%
Time limit determined by supervisor 710
(560-870)
27% 500
(360-640)
30%
No more than 1-30 days 160
(80-250)
6% 20
(0-40)
1%
No more than 31-60 days 200
(100-200)
8% 80
(30-130)
5%
No more than 61-90 days 110
(30-180)
4% 80
(10-140)
5%
Other 800
(640-960)
31% 270
(140-400)
16%
No response 70
(20-120)
3% 200
(130-270)
12%
Total 2,610
(2,410-2,810)
100% 1,660
(1,460-1,860)
100%
* The categories "Investigation response Agency" and "Alternative response Agency" are not mutually exclusive as all agencies providing an alternative response also provide an investigation response.

When followup services are provided, most agencies require that the worker who conducted the investigation either prepare or participate in the formulation of the service plan. As seen in Table 2-17, more than one-half of the agencies (54%) either had the worker assist in the development of the service plan (29%) or act as a consultant to the worker who will actually provide the services (25%). In either case, the implication is that the authority for the case was transferred at that stage to another worker in more than one-half of the agencies. In 20 percent of agencies, the worker who conducted the response had only minimal involvement in the service provision aspect of the case. Examples of "other roles" included that the same worker continued providing services (the most common response), that the worker carried the case for a specified time following the investigation, or that the worker developed the case plan before the case was transferred.

For alternative response, the most common practice was "other" (42%). Examples of responses indicated that the worker who provided the response continued to provide services; however, for some agencies, this reflected the provision of the service by a private provider or that the case was closed after the alternative response was provided.

Table 2-17:
Worker Roles in Providing Services
Practice Investigation response agency Alternative response agency
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Worker transfers case with minimal involvement 510
(370-650)
20% 210
(110-310)
13%
Worker assists new service worker in making a service plan 760
(600-920)
29% 330
(220-440)
20%
Worker is a resource for the service worker 640
(500-780)
25% 270
(160-380)
16%
Other 630
(480-780)
24% 700
(560-840)
42%
No response 70
(30-110)
3% 150
(90-220)
9%
Total 2,610
(2,410-2,810)
100% 1,660
(1,460-1,860)
100%
* The categories "Investigation response Agency" and "Alternative response Agency" are not mutually exclusive as all agencies providing an alternative response also provide an investigation response.

Many agencies did not have any type of arrangement for prioritizing services with other providers — 43 percent of agencies for investigations, and 45 percent for agencies with an alternative response did not have an arrangement. Of those agencies that did have an arrangement, most had an arrangement with multiple providers comprising some combination of mental health, substance abuse, and other providers — 33 percent for investigations, and 34 percent for alternative response. Roughly 7 to 8 percent of investigation response agencies indicated that they had only one priority arrangement with either a mental health, substance abuse, or other provider. Similarly, the percent for agencies that provide alternative response ranged from 5 to 6 percent of agencies (Table 2-18). Other provider types included domestic violence agencies, sexual maltreatment agencies, pediatricians, private psychologists, housing authorities, public assistance agencies, and so forth.

Table 2-18:
Priority Arrangements with Service Providers
Arrangements Investigation response agency Alternative response agency
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Agency does not have priority status arrangements 1,130
(940-1,320)
43% 750
(590-900)
45%
Agency has priority status arrangements with mental health providers 190
(110-270)
7% 80
(30-130)
5%
Agency has priority status arrangements with substance abuse providers 190
(120-260)
7% 100
(50-150)
6%
Agency has priority status arrangements with other providers 200
(130-280)
8% 100
(40-160)
6%
Agency has priority status arrangements with multiple types of services providers 860
(700-1,010)
33% 560
(410-710)
34%
No response 40
(0-70)
1% 80
(40-120)
5%
Total 2,610
(2,410-2,810)
100% 1,660
(1,460-1,860)
100%