National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. 4.4 Difficulties in Conducting the Response

05/01/2003

Under the investigation approach, agencies experienced somewhat more barriers than under the alternative response approach (Tables 4-19 and 4-20). The findings are summarized below:

During investigation, few agencies always experienced obstacles because of difficulties in predicting what might happen to the child (11%), in having sufficient time to make a good determination (12%), in preparing materials for the case record (17%), or in preparing materials for the court record (10%). Similarly low percentages of agencies with an alternative response reported these obstacles.

For the investigation response, a majority of agencies sometimes experienced difficulties in locating the family (67%), in spending sufficient time with the family (55%), in assessing parenting skills (55%), in determining what happened to the child (61%), in predicting what might happen to the child (55%), in having sufficient time to make a good determination (55%), or in obtaining the necessary expertise from other professionals (68%). Nearly identical percentages of agencies experienced these problems with alternative responses.

During both responses, the majority of agencies claimed that they rarely or never experienced difficulties in explaining the consequences of actions to parent(s) (61-66%), in deciding whether to remove a child (67-71%), in deciding whether to return a child (63-64%), or in handling language barriers (60-69%).

Activities Always Sometimes Rarely Never Missing Total
Table 4-19:
Obstacles to Timely Completion — Investigation
Locating the family <1% 67% 32% 1% <1% 100%
Spending sufficient time with the family 9% 55% 31% 4% 1% 100%
Assessing parenting skills 2% 55% 39% 4% 1% 100%
Determining what happened to child 2% 61% 33% 3% 2% 100%
Predicting what might happen to child 11% 55% 30% 4% 1% 100%
Having sufficient time to make a good determination 12% 55% 28% 5% 1% 100%
Explaining the consequences of actions to parent(s) 3% 30% 55% 11% 1% 100%
Obtaining necessary expertise from other professionals 4% 68% 25% 2% <1% 100%
Deciding whether to remove child prior to completing response 1% 32% 48% 19% 1% 100%
Deciding whether to return child upon completing response 1% 33% 50% 14% 1% 100%
Preparing materials for case record 17% 46% 29% 8% 1% 100%
Preparing materials for court record 10% 43% 36% 10% 1% 100%
Handling language barriers 2% 28% 57% 12% 1% 100%
1st Other 1% 4% 1% --- 94% 100%
2nd Other 1% 1% --- --- 98% 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.

Strategies for ensuring that workers were safe were comparable for both responses. As shown in Table 4-21, the majority of agencies provided police escort for workers, enabled for accompaniment by another worker, supported periodic telephone check-in procedures, and restricted visits to normal business hours.

Activities Always Sometimes Rarely Never Missing Total
Table 4-20:
Obstacles to Timely Completion — Alternative Response
Locating the family 1% 58% 33% 7% 1% 100%
Spending sufficient time with the family 4% 56% 27% 10% 2% 100%
Assessing parenting skills 2% 46% 41% 9% 2% 100%
Determining what happened to child 4% 46% 35% 12% 3% 100%
Predicting what might happen to child 8% 54% 28% 7% 3% 100%
Having sufficient time to make a good determination 5% 50% 30% 12% 3% 100%
Explaining the consequences of actions to parent(s) 6% 28% 48% 13% 5% 100%
Obtaining necessary expertise from other professionals 4% 50% 39% 5% 1% 100%
Deciding whether to remove child prior to completing response 2% 24% 41% 30% 4% 100%
Deciding whether to return child upon completing response 1% 30% 39% 24% 6% 100%
Preparing materials for case record 9% 46% 30% 14% 2% 100%
Preparing materials for court record 7% 37% 37% 18% 2% 100%
Handling language barriers 4% 33% 47% 13% 2% 100%
1st Other 1% 2% 1% 1% 96% 100%
2nd Other 1% --- --- 1% 99% 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.

 

Table 4-21:
Procedures for Ensuring Worker Safety
Procedures Investigation Alternative response
Yes No Missing Total Yes No Missing Total
Formal assessment of risk to worker 21% 78% 1% 100% 27% 71% 2% 100%
Police escort 86% 12% 2% 100% 71% 28% 2% 100%
Another worker accompanies 76% 23% 1% 100% 70% 28% 2% 100%
Cell phones provided 80% 18% 2% 100% 80% 19% 2% 100%
Change to use pay phone 26% 66% 8% 100% 24% 70% 6% 100%
Periodic telephone check-in 72% 27% 1% 100% 66% 32% 2% 100%
Assistance from community resident 1% 98% 1% 100% 2% 95% 3% 100%
Self-defense training 13% 86% 1% 100% 16% 82% 2% 100%
Visits restricted to normal business hours 68% 30% 2% 100% 66% 31% 2% 100%
Appointments logged in master schedule 40% 59% 1% 100% 39% 59% 2% 100%
1st Other 15% 1% 84% 100% 8% 1% 92% 100%
2nd Other 6% <1% 94% 100% 1% --- 99% 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 (1,660 agencies for other CPS response columns).