The department director described four areas for future activities. They include a managed care initiative, alternative response, the implementation of SACWIS, and "raising the bar."
Managed Care Initiative
The county anticipates that a managed care contract will be in place in the future to provide services to high-risk children. All children at risk of placement in a residential treatment facility will be included. In addition, a risk pool will be created with 10 other counties. The chosen vendor will provide services in the community with a capped amount of money for each child and an incentive to keep the children in their own homes.
The county is exploring alternative responses for cases with a lower risk of abuse or neglect. Assessment and case management will be contracted out to a community-based agency. The county is exploring a model for use by the end of 2003.
Implementation of SACWIS
The county is scheduled to implement WI SACWIS, the statewide child welfare data system, during 2003.
Raising the Bar
Presently, the volume of new cases continues to increase. Concerned about State cutbacks and the impact of increased volume of referrals, the county has been looking for ways to raise the bar. This would mean changing the threshold of who receives county services to only those at greatest risk or those for whom actual harm has been documented. The county has begun to screen out subgroups of cases, for example, referrals of physical abuse with no marks present. Similarly, calls regarding sexual touching between two children age 6 or younger and mutually consenting sex between older teens (age 17), are also being screened out. These changes are of concern for some of the workers and supervisors.