National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. Receipt of Referrals

05/01/2003

While the overall findings showed little variation in how referrals entered agencies, further analyses found some variation by administrative structure in some of the logistical aspects of receiving referrals. For example, weekday evening referrals were more often assigned to on-call staff in county-administered agencies (71%) than in agencies in either State-administered systems (39%) or State-administered systems with strong county structure (46%). Not surprisingly, weekday evening referrals were more often handled by the State hotline for agencies in State-administered systems and State-administered systems with strong county structure, (31% and 14%, respectively), when compared to county-administered agencies (4%), (Table 7-7). A similar pattern appeared with how agencies handled referrals on weekends. Agencies in county-administered systems assigned referrals to on-call staff much more often (74%) than did the other types of agencies (39% for agencies in State-administered systems and 53% for agencies in State-administered systems with strong county structure).

Table 7-7:
Screening and Intake of Referrals During Nonbusiness Hours
Weekday evenings* State-administered County-administered State-administered with strong county structure
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Handled by intake unit 30
(0-70)
3% 50
(20-70)
5% 50
(0-100)
9%
Assigned to on-call staff 430
(330-520)
39% 680
(590-770)
71% 250
(150-360)
46%
Routed to another agency 40
(0-80)
3% 40
(0-70)
4% 50
(0-100)
9%
Handled by State hotline 340
(230-460)
31% 40
(10-60)
4% 80
(0-160)
14%
Other method 90
(30-150)
9% 10
(0-30)
1% 50
(0-100)
9%
Missing 170 15% 150 15% 80 14%
Total 1,100
(970-1,220)
100% 960
(890-1,030)
100% 550
(350-750)
100%
Weekends** Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Handled by intake unit 20
(0-60)
2% 20
(0-40)
2% 10
(0-30)
2%
Assigned to on-call staff 430
(330-520)
39% 710

(640-780)

74% 290

(170-410)

53%
Routed to another agency 40
(0-80)
3% 40
(10-70)
4% 50
(0-100)
9%
Handled by State hotline 310
(200-420)
28% 40
(10-70)
4% 80
(0-160)
14%
Other method 140
(70-210)
13% 10
(0-30)
1% 50
(0-100)
9%
Missing 160 15% 140 15% 80 14%
Total 1,100 (970-1,220) 100% 960
(890-1,030)
100% 550
(350-750)
100%
* X2=20.05, p<.001 (excludes missing)
** X2=22.91, p<.001 (excludes missing)
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.

A somewhat different pattern emerged for how different types of agencies handled referrals from non-English speakers. Many more agencies in State-administered systems (24%) handled referrals from non-English speakers with non-English speaking staff than did agencies in county-administered systems (6%) or State-administered systems with strong county structure (2%). In contrast, more than two-thirds of agencies in State-administered systems with a strong county structure used a method other than non-English speakers on staff or on call. This compares to 43 percent for agencies in county-administered systems and 38 percent for agencies in State-administered systems (Table 7-8).

Table 7-8:
Screening and Intake of Referrals from Non-English Speakers*
Referral assignments State-administered County-administered State-administered with strong county structure
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent E stimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Handled by non-English speakers on staff 260
(170-350)
24% 60
(20-90)
6% 10
(0-30)
2%
Handled by non-English speakers on call 110
(40-180)
10% 110
(60-160)
11% 30
(0-70)
5%
Other method 420
(300-530)
38% 410
(320-510)
43% 370
(220-530)
68%
Multiple methods 180
(100-260)
16% 210
(150-270)
22% 50
(0-100)
9%
Not able to accept 130
(60-200)
12% 170
(90-250)
18% 90
(0-180)
16%
Total 1,100
(970-1,220)
100% 960
(890-1,030)
100% 550
(350-750)
100%
* X2=27.72, p<.001
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.

 

Agencies in State-administered systems also stood out in terms of the automatic acceptance of referrals. Only 27 percent of agencies in State-administered systems automatically accepted referrals from some reporters. This practice was more common for agencies in county-administered systems (42%) or State-administered systems with strong county structure (53%), (Table 7-9).

Table 7-9:
Automatic Acceptance of Referrals*
Referral acceptance State-administered County-administered State-administered with strong county structure
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Some referrals are automatically accepted 300
(210-390)
27% 410
(320-490)
42% 290
(140-440)
53%
No referrals are automatically accepted 720
(580-860)
66% 540
(460-620)
56% 260
(150-370)
47%
Missing 80
(30-130)
7% 20
(0-40)
2% --- ---
Total 1,100
(970-1,220)
100% 960
(890-1,030)
100% 550
(350-750)
 
* X2=8.68, p<.05 (excludes missing)
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.

Among those agencies that automatically accepted some referrals, 80 percent of agencies in State-administered systems accepted referrals from specific types of agencies. This compares to 55 percent of agencies with State-administered systems with strong county structure and 35 percent of agencies with county-administered systems. In contrast, agencies in county-administered systems (43%) and State-administered systems with strong county structure (38%) more often automatically accepted referrals from mandated reporters than did agencies in State-administered systems (14%), (Table 7-10).

Table 7-10:
Automatic Acceptance of Referrals from Another Agency*
Referral acceptance State-administered County-administered State-administered with strong county structure
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Accept from specific agency 240
(140-330)
80% 140
(100-180)
35% 160
(70-250)
55%
Accept from multiple agencies 40
(0-80)
14% 170
(100-250)
43% 110
(20-200)
38%
Accept from all agencies 20
(0-60)
6% 40
(0-80)
11% 20
(0-60)
7%
Accept from central registry --- --- 40
(0-70)
11% --- ---
Total 300
(210-390)
100% 410
(320-490)
100% 290
(140-440)
100%
* X2=19.31, p<.01 (excludes missing)
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.