National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. 6.1 Degree of change in CPS agencies

05/01/2003

Most agencies have not experienced recent change in their practices and processes with respect to the screening/intake, investigation, and alternative response functions. For screening and intake (36%), investigation (37%), and for alternative response (30%), approximately one-third of agencies had had their overall current practices and processes in place between 1 and 4 years (Table 6-1). Another one-third of the agencies had had their practices in place for between 5 and 10 years, with about 15 percent of agencies having their practices in place for more than 10 years.

Table 6-1:
Length of Time Current Processes in Place
Process Total
Estimate
(C.I.) *
Percent
Screening/Intake Process
Processes in place 1-2 years 460
(310-610)
18%
Processes in place 3-4 years 470
(350-600)
18%
Processes in place 5-10 years 960
(790-1,130)
37%
Processes in place more than 10 years 390
(270-510)
15%
Missing 330
(220-430)
13%
Total 2,610 100%
Investigation Process**
Processes in place 1-2 years 570
(440-710)
22%
Processes in place 3-4 years 390
(280-500)
15%
Processes in place 5-10 years 870
(720-1,020)
33%
Processes in place more than 10 years 400
(270-520)
15%
Missing 380
(270-490)
15%
Total 2610 100%
Other CPS Response Process***
Processes in place 1-2 years 280
(200-370)
17%
Processes in place 3-4 years 220
(150-300)
13%
Processes in place 5-10 years 590
(450-730)
35%
Processes in place more than 10 years 310
(200-420)
19%
Missing 260
(140-370)
15%
Total 1,660 100%
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.
** X2=22.59, p<.001 (excludes missing)
*** X2=15.16, p<.01 (excludes missing)

Agencies appeared to be actively adjusting or modifying other parts or components of their practices. While Table 6-1 indicates fairly stable practices for the major CPS functions, a separate module of the questionnaire examined how many and what types of all changes had been recently implemented. One-quarter of CPS agencies had not implemented any changes in the last 6 months, but three-quarters had implemented changes (Table 6-2). Nearly one-third (31%) had implemented one to two changes and 19 percent had implemented three to four changes in the last 6 months. Fourteen percent of agencies had implemented five to eight changes in the last 6 months while 11 percent had made more than eight changes.

Number of changes Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Table 6-2:
Number of Changes Implemented in Last 6 Months
None 660
(500-810)
25%
1-2 changes 800
(640-960)
31%
3-4 changes 490
(350-630)
19%
5-8 changes 370
(270-470)
14%
More than 8 changes 290
(180-400)
11%
Total 2,610
(2,410-2,810)
100%

Many agencies also were considering changes during the prior 6 months. Table 6-3 shows how many changes had been considered during the last 6 months for all CPS agencies. One-third of agencies had not considered any changes in the last 6 months, but two-thirds had considered changes. More than one-quarter had considered one to two changes, 14 percent reported that they had considered three to four changes in the last 6 months, and 18 percent had considered five to eight changes.

Number of changes Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Table 6-3:
Number of Changes Considered in Last 6 Months
None 850
(700-1,110)
33%
1-2 changes 670
(520-810)
26%
3-4 changes 360
(240-470)
14%
5-8 changes 480
(360-600)
18%
More than 8 changes 250
(170-330)
10%
Total 2,610 100%