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


Agencies' overall approaches to CPS were generally stable; more than one-half reported that their practices had been in place for 5 or more years. However, there were many areas of ongoing modification and adjusting. In the area of organizational changes, more than one-quarter had made changes to their use of information technology and nearly 30 percent had adjusted staff training during the preceding 6 months. Further, 13 percent of agencies had made changes to their philosophy of services, such as to include a stronger focus on either safety or family-centered services. With respect to community partners, 11 percent of CPS agencies had implemented changes related to their collaboration with substance abuse agencies, and16 percent had implemented changes in collaborations with domestic violence agencies. In the area of screening and intake, 17 percent had changed their use of assessments or other standard instruments in the screening process. Relatively few changes had been made to investigation processes, but the most common was the introduction or modification of multidisciplinary teams, noted by 9 percent of agencies.

This survey is the first to attempt an estimate of how deeply changes have reached into the CPS field. It appears that changes are not as deep at the local level as might have been assumed based on anecdotal accounts.