National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Review of State CPS Policy. Purpose


State policies emphasized different purposes of alternative response options. (See table 5–D.) (Responses were not mutually exclusive.)

  • Eleven States (55.0%) identified child safety as a purpose of the alternative response;
  • Nine States (45.0%) identified family preservation or strengthening as a purpose of the response; and
  • Four States (20.0%)identified preventing child abuse and neglect as a purpose.

These broad categories included such descriptions as follows:

  • Support the ability of CPS to respond to all reports;
  • Provide a response to physical abuse that does not require criminal investigation and allows for necessary services;
  • Provide a modified approach for those families with low risk. Provide less threatening community-based assessment, thus hopefully leading to more receptiveness of services;
  • Determine and facilitate appropriate service responses for families not within the required mandate but who would benefit from services;
  • Assess the situation and create a safety plan for lower-risk cases, thus leaving the more serious allegations to the investigative track;
  • Provide services without assigning blame for nonabuse and neglect reports;
  • Emphasize partnering the families with the community and creating a network for the family;
  • Protect children and assist parents to recognize and remedy conditions harmful to their children;
  • Provide preventive services before the need of CPS involvement is required; and
  • Prevent the family from potentially being re-referred.

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