# National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. Specialization of Staff

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).

Table 7-1:
Investigation Staff by Agency Structure
Statistical comparison Full-time workers who only conducted investigations Supervisors who supervised investigation in addition to other responsibilities
Estimate
(C.I.) *
Estimate
(C.I.)
(3-7)
1
(1-1)
(3-7)
2
(1-2)
C State-administered with a strong county structure 2
(1-3)
1
(1-2)
* The 95 percent confidence interval (C.I.) indicates that, if the study were to be repeated with the same methodology 100 times, 95 of the replications would produce an estimate within the interval.
b-c: T = 2.063, p < 0.05
a-c: T = 2.040, p < 0.05
a-b: T = -2.796, p < 0.01

Table 7-2:
Screening/Intake and Investigation by Agency Structure
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Different workers for screening/intake and investigation 480
(340-610)
43% 220
(160-290)
23% 170
(70-280)
32%
When needed, an intake worker can conduct an investigation, or an investigation worker can conduct screening/intake 140
(70-210)
13% 230
(160-300)
24% 110
(30-190)
21%
Workers routinely conduct both screening/intake and investigation 410
(300-520)
37% 430
(350-520)
45% 250
(130-380)
46%
Other 60
(10-100)
5% 60
(30-90)
6% 10
(<1-30)
2%
No Response 10
(<1-30)
1% 20
(<1-30)
2% <1
(<1-<1)
<1%
Total 1,100
(970-1,220)
100% 960
(890-1,030)
100% 550
(350-750)
100%
X2 = 15.756, p < 0.05

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

Table 7-3:
Screening/Intake and Alternative Response by Agency Structure
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Different workers for screening/intake and other response 330
(230-430)
43% 120
(60-180)
21% 100
(30-180)
31%
When needed, an intake worker can conduct an other response, or an other response worker can conduct screening/intake 90
(30-150)
12% 70
(30-110)
13% 90
(30-160)
28%
Workers routinely conduct both screening/intake and other response 300
(220-380)
39% 270
(210-340)
48% 120
(30-220)
36%
Other 40
(<1-80)
5% 80
(40-120)
14% 20
(<1-40)
5%
No Response -- -- 20
(0-40)
4% -- --
Total 760
(640-870)
100% 570
(480-660)
100% 550
(350-750)
100%
X2 = 21.107, p < 0.01