According to the CYFD personnel interviewed for this report, it was difficult to quantify the impact of the agency’s earlier and ongoing reform efforts, and it was too soon to gauge the impact of the DRS. However, they discerned a number of trends or observations that suggested that the reforms have had a positive impact.
First, there has been a positive trend in terms of the CYFD’s CPS-related activities. During recent years, the number of calls to the hotline and the number of people who benefited from the CYFD’s outreach efforts increased; however, the number of substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect has decreased. In other words, the level of consciousness about child abuse or neglect within the Fairfax County population was rising while the incidence of abuse was falling.
Second, the ease with which the CYFD implemented the DRS was an institutional accomplishment. While there continued to be a number of personnel who were reluctant to accept the family assessment as a valid alternative to an investigative approach, acceptance was widespread. Moreover, there was universal acceptance of the DRS among the supervisors responsible for implementing the new system.
Finally, there was a general sense among agency personnel who were interviewed for this report that the CYFD was doing a better job. Intuitively, the interviewees believed that the current CPS program was better equipped to serve Fairfax County’s population and to prevent child abuse or neglect.