National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. Chapter 7. Differences Among Agencies by Administrative Structure


The analyses for the Local Agency Survey (LAS) also examined any differences across local agencies that were tied to agency administrative structure at the State level. Administrative structure refers to the method of assigning organizational authority for CPS among subjurisdictions in a State. In some States, the entire CPS program is managed and operated by the State, the local agencies are offices of the State, local employees are State employees, the managers and administrators of the local offices report to the director of the State agency, infrastructure is centralized, and so forth. In other States, CPS is run by county agencies or similar jurisdictions where the managers and administrators report to a board of county commissioners, the employees are county employees, and the county provides basic infrastructure, and so forth. However, policies for these county-administered systems are usually defined at the State level, resulting in the designation that such systems are State supervised and county administered.

The type of administrative structure found in a State CPS agency is determined by the State and the category of structure used in these analyses was identified to the study by the State agency. This is distinct from self-identification of administrative structure by the local agency, which may be perceived differently by staff in a local agency compared to what is generally acknowledged by staff at the State level.

The primary basis for the administrative structure information is data collected and maintained by the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), as modified through the review of policies and interviews described as a part of the Review of State CPS Policies, an earlier report from this study.1 To reiterate those findings, 13 States (25.5%) were characterized as State supervised/county administered and 38 States (74.5%) were characterized as State administered. Based on the policy review and interviews, eight, or one-fifth of State-administered systems (21%), were reclassified based on direct input from the State agencies involved as having strong county structure and discretion, although not as county administered according to study criteria.

Based on the data supplied through the Review of State CPS Policies, the three categories of administrative structure were used in this analysis: State-administered, State-administered/strong county structure, and State supervised/county administered. When statistically significant differences based on this Administrative structure emerged, analyses detailing the nature of the differences found for CPS agencies with each type of administrative structure are described in this chapter.