National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. 4.1 Types of Responses

05/01/2003

Nearly two-thirds of local CPS agencies (64%) conducted both investigations and alternative responses (Table 4-1). Nearly all of the remaining agencies only conducted investigations in response to maltreatment referrals.

Response Estimate
(C.I.)*
Percent
Table 4-1:
Type of CPS Agency Responses
Both investigation and alternative response 1,660
(1,460-1,860)
64%
Investigation response only 940
(760-1,110)
36%
Neither response 10
(0-30)
<1%
Total 2,610
(2,410-2,810)
100%
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.
*The 95 percent confidence interval (C.I.) indicates that, if the study were to be repeated with the same methodology 100 times, 95 of the replications would produce an estimate within the interval.

In comparing investigation and alternative response options, important differences in the standard practices for each type of response were found (Tables 4-2 and 4-3).

  • Eighty-five percent of agency procedures for conducting investigations required the removal of a child if immediate safety was an issue, while only 50 percent of agencies made such removals under their alternative response.
  • Seventy-one percent of agencies made an assessment of the immediate safety needs of the family under investigation, while 53 percent of agencies made a similar assessment under alternative response.
  • Under the investigation response, 67 percent of agencies required a determination of whether or not the child had been maltreated, while 42 percent of agencies required a determination of maltreatment under the alternative response option.1
  • Sixty-three percent of agencies required that a determination of risk of maltreatment be made under the investigation response, compared to 40 percent of agencies under alternative response.
  • Sixty-one percent of agencies required that a recommendation for court intervention be made, if needed, under investigation, while 30 percent of agencies made a similar requirement under alternative response.
Practice Required before response complete Required after response complete May provide before response complete May provide after response complete Not provided Missing Total
Table 4-2:
Standard Practices — Investigation
Make a determination of whether the child has been maltreated 67% 29% <1% 1% --- 2% 100%
Make a determination on all children in the family as to whether they have been maltreated 58% 21% 9% 9% 1% 2% 100%
Make a determination of whether one or more children are at risk of maltreatment 63% 21% 6% 4% 1% 4% 100%
Remove the child if immediate safety is an issue 85% 4% 3% <1% 4% 4% 100%
Make an assessment of the service needs of the child 59% 22% 8% 5% --- 5% 100%
Make an assessment of the immediate service needs of the family 71% 11% 9% 3% --- 6% 100%
Assess the underlying causes of the maltreatment incident 49% 14% 15% 12% 3% 7% 100%
Provide short-term services if needed 42% 13% 23% 13% 1% 7% 100%
Refer the family for further services if needed 41% 22% 17% 13% --- 8% 100%
To make a recommendation for court intervention if needed 61% 16% 10% 6% <1% 8% 100%
Note: Percentages are not additive because agencies were included in each applicable row (category).
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.
Note: Percentages are based on weighted total of 2,610 agencies.

 

Practice Required before response complete Required after response complete May provide before response complete May provide after response complete Not provided Missing Total
Table 4-3:
Standard Practices — Alternative Response
Make a determination of whether the child has been maltreated 42% 12% 6% 3% 31% 6% 100%
Make a determination on all children in the family as to whether they have been maltreated 33% 10% 10% 7% 33% 6% 100%
Make a determination of whether one or more children are at risk of maltreatment 40% 13% 13% 4% 21% 9% 100%
Remove the child if immediate safety is an issue 50% 6% 7% 2% 29% 7% 100%
Make an assessment of the service needs of the child 41% 20% 12% 5% 9% 13% 100%
Make an assessment of the immediate service needs of the family 53% 8% 13% 7% 7% 11% 100%
Assess the underlying causes of the maltreatment incident 32% 14% 12% 12% 21% 9% 100%
Provide short-term services if needed 27% 14% 18% 13% 11% 16% 100%
Refer the family for further services if needed 28% 16% 17% 19% 6% 14% 100%
To make a recommendation for court intervention if needed 30% 16% 12% 12% 18% 12% 100%
Note: Percentages are not additive because agencies were included in each applicable row (category).
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.
Note: Percentages are based on weighted total of 1,660 agencies.