National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts: Site Visits Report . Conditions that Sustain Reform

05/01/2003

During 2001, Georgia increased the pay scales for CPS staff, thereby providing additional funds for staff with advanced degrees. Because of the increased pay scale, DFCS was able to hire two staff with M.S.W. degrees and hire an experienced person with a B.A. in Social Work. Each of these individuals had been working with service providers in the community, was familiar with DFCS, and knew the population that they would be working with. Hiring more experienced staff enabled the agency to take on full caseloads faster and work through cases more quickly than less experienced new hires.

As a result of the MDT meetings, the District Attorney is expected to assign one Assistant District Attorney to handle all children's cases in Brooks County and another county. Each law enforcement agency is required to have one officer with advanced training in child abuse to perform the investigation for the most serious cases. Both the Sheriff's office and the Quitman Police Department each have only two investigators, with one investigator usually taking the lead on child abuse and neglect.

Training

The CPS supervisor identified two areas where additional training is needed — on-the-job training and the development and use of collateral contacts. Even though more experienced staff are being hired, they still need on-the-job training to help them understand policies and regulations and how to develop a case. The second area identified is the development and usage of nonfamily member contacts. During 1997, the State required differential collateral contacts based on the risk of maltreatment level — a high-risk level requires three contacts, moderate risk requires two, and low risk requires one contact. Workers may use another caseworker as a collateral contact.

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