National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. 6.2 Changes in organization


The greatest number changes were made to the overall organization of CPS agencies in the prior 6 months. These included areas such as training, information technology, staffing changes, and agency philosophy.

In the area of staff training, more than one-quarter (27%) of agencies made changes in this area during the preceding 6 months. In addition, 15 percent of agencies had considered changes related to staff training. Some examples of the more frequent types of changes reported in the survey included changes to the required training on specific topics, a general overhaul of training for new or existing staff, changes in training requirements for existing staff, and decreasing the total amount of training required.

More than one-quarter of CPS agencies (26%) had implemented changes in the use of information technology while 21 percent had considered such changes in the last 6 months. Almost all of the examples provided through the survey involved new or updated computer or reporting systems. Some agencies also had implemented systems that gave them access to other agency databases, while others had created a separate information technology unit or office.

Other recent changes implemented by CPS agencies involved the realignment of responsibility for core CPS functions. Sixteen percent of agencies had implemented such changes in the last 6 months, while 18 percent had considered them. Examples of such changes included changes in personnel (such as additions, reassignments, subtractions, or promotions of workers) and organizational changes with the formation of a unit or team.

Thirteen percent of agencies had implemented changes in their philosophy of service. Of these agencies, 23 percent mentioned a focus on safety and 20 percent mentioned a focus on family-centered services. Other types of changes that were mentioned included implementing a "best practices" approach; renewing the vision of the agency; emphasizing a case worker instead of a case manager approach; and establishing a more locally-based foster care response system to minimize trauma to children due to relocation.

Another 13 percent had considered such changes in the last 6 months. Of these, 20 percent discussed the addition of a multiple or differential response system. Other changes that were being considered included seeking accreditation by the Council on Accreditation; rewriting the agency manual; and increasing peer reviews to ensure continuous improvement.

Table 6-4:
Changes in CPS Organization
Change Considered change Implemented change
Percent Estimate
Staff training 390
15% 700
Use of information technology 540
21% 670
Realignment of responsibility for functions 470
18% 410
Philosophy of services 350
13% 340
Agency requirements for staff qualifications 400
15% 290
Degree of staff specialization 230
9% 210
Decentralization of agency 220
8% 190
Colocating workers 180
7% 180
* Percentages are not additive because agencies were included in each applicable row (category).
Note: Percentages are based on weighted total of 2,610 agencies