Both State-administered and county-administered agencies also had more staff specializing in investigations when compared to State-administered agencies with strong county structure. The number of full-time caseworker or social worker staff who were only assigned investigations for both State-administered and county-administered agencies averaged five workers, while for State-administered agencies with strong county structure the average was two, which was a statistically significant difference when compared to both State- and county-administered agencies.
There were two supervisors assigned to other responsibilities in addition to investigation in county-administered agencies compared to one in State-administered agencies, each of which averaged five full-time workers who only conducted investigations (Table 7-1).
State-administered agencies have a higher percentage of workers that strictly specialize in conducting either screening/intake or investigations compared to county-administered agencies, and the percentage of specialized workers in State-administered agencies with a strong county structure fall between. On the other hand, county-administered agencies appear to have a greater percentage of staff that fill in and perform other functions when needed. For the screening/intake and investigation function 43 percent of State-administered agencies were estimated to have specialized staff members, while 23 percent of county- and 32 percent of State-administered with strong county structure had specialized staff. Staff routinely switched between functions if needed for 24 percent of county-administered agencies, 21 percent of State-administered agencies with strong county structure, and 13 percent of State-administered agencies. Roughly comparable percentages of agencies had staff who performed both functions; State-administered (37%), county-administered (45%), and State-administered agencies with strong county structure (46%). Differences between agencies were not found to be significant in terms of child population (Table 7-2).
Despite similarities in the numbers of staff that are specialized, county-administered agencies have more workers who are also assigned other responsibilities besides screening and intake compared to State-administered agencies. Among those social workers or caseworkers who also were assigned other responsibilities in addition to screening and intake, the average number for State-administered agencies was three, for county-administered agencies the average was six, and for State-administered agencies with strong county structure the average was four. The difference between State administered and county-administered agencies suggests that county agencies might not have specialized in the screening and intake function to the same degree that State-administered agencies did. In general, it appeared that at least one-half of the staff assigned to this function at either the caseworker or supervisory level was assigned to other responsibilities.3
As with screening/intake and investigations, the pattern of State-administered agencies having higher percentages of workers that specialize is repeated in comparing specialization of workers performing screening/intake versus alternative response, with State-administered agencies with strong county structure falling in the middle. For instance, more State-administered agencies (43%) had specialized staff compared to county-administered agencies (21%), and State-administered agencies with strong county structure (31%). A greater proportion of State-administered agencies with strong county structure (28%) used staff on an as-needed basis compared to State-administered agencies (12%) or county-administered agencies (13%). A higher proportion of county-administered agencies (48%) used staff in both functions than State-administered agencies (39%) and State-administered agencies with strong county structure (36%), (Table 7-3).