Many positive results occurred as the above reforms were implemented. The following are some highlights of this successful work.
- The separation of the investigative and protective services functions has helped to build bridges between the agency and the family by isolating the protective functions, which were often perceived as facilitative, from the investigative functions, which were often perceived as adversarial. It has also allowed for the investigative unit to remain more objective and true to its focus and mission. The separation of the investigative and protective functions facilitates more effective service to children in need of protection.
- Supervisors have benefited from the data system as they are able to verify the status of cases opened for agency response. The workers benefit from the standardized format and central location for maintaining case-level information. At the State level of DCF, the system provides a means for tracking families who moved out of the area to avoid participating in DCF services or to evade the removal of a child from the home. It also provides a means for tracking problem service providers.
- The Alliance provides a means for the community to influence governmental agencies’ services to children and families in need. Participation in the Alliance has the added advantage of educating the community about DCF’s role in protecting children and serving families. This awareness facilitates a strong sense of collaboration and has resulted in the community board members serving as allies of the agency to effectively carry out its mission. The families and children served by DCF also benefit from the participation of the Alliance. The Alliance maintains a strong interest in the welfare of children in foster care.
- Collaborative partnerships with other programs and agencies have also resulted in positive reforms for the CPS system in Union County. The increased involvement of law enforcement in CPS investigations has helped to ensure the safety of DCF workers. It has also provided checks and balances to ensure that seriously endangered children receive proper protection.
- Both the Dependency Drug Court and the GAL programs benefit the judicial court and DCF by acting as a resource for monitoring the children and families at risk. DCF benefits from the nonadversarial nature of the relationship between program participants and agency representatives. The program provides an effective blend of authority and structure with support and encouragement. Families benefit from the program by addressing their problems with substance abuse, as well as issues associated with low self-esteem, employability, and parenting.
DCF has received many benefits from the programs that are involved in the reform efforts. These programs include the Child Protection Team, Nurturing Program, Family Builders, Meridian, and Peaceful Paths. Benefits include professional or medical opinions, CPS worker support, monitoring of children and families who are at risk, and service provision efficiency.