ProtectiveServices for ChildrenIntroduction: Child Protective Services is a governmental agency thatoperates on state level and reacts to reports of child abuse and neglect. Childprotective services are there to ensure that children aren’t being neglected orabused, and have safe homes. Congress made it’s first moves to protect childrenwhen it passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act which requiredstates “to prevent, identify and treat child abuse and neglect” in 1974. Thefederal definition of child abuse or neglect now reads as follows:”Anyrecent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which resultsin death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; oran act or failure to act, which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.
(1)That’s the minimumstandards set by the federal government, but each state has its own ChildProtective Service practices. Out of the industrialized nations, the UnitedStates has one of the poorest records of child abuse. An average of nearly fivechildren are lost every day to child abuse and neglect. Havingenough Child Protection Services workers and retaining them are essential tothe wellbeing of the children in our country. Overview of the Problem: There are many names for Child Protective Services. Somecall it Department of Social Services or even just Social Service. Additionalnames Child Protective Services are known as include Department of Children andFamilies, Department of Children and Family Service, Department of SocialService, and Department of Human Service. The Child Protective Services is adepartment that exist under each state’s Health and Human Service organization.
Everystate is responsible for providing child protection. This also includes actingwhen a report of child abuse or neglect is made. Several states had”differential response” approaches for child protective services according tothe National Conference of State Legislatures. (4) This allows Child ProtectiveServices to respond to accepted reports of child abuse and neglect allegations,based on different factors. These reasons are things like the type and degreeof maltreatment, amount and sources of previous reports, and the inclination ofthe family to take part in services. This”differential response” can vary from one state to the other of those who useit. Iowa for example has several different statutes or Iowa Codes.
Iowa placesa more importance on a strength-based assessment of the family and lessimportant on the actual incident that was reported. This limits the cases thatgo onto to the central registry. Those cases tend to involve great risk or aconsiderable injury. Child Protective Services has twenty-four hours after a reportto do an assessment. Often because of alleged criminal acts of harming a childthe Child Protective Services requires working alongside law enforcement toperform assessments and investigations. The department is required to organizeand supervise services on voluntary or intermediate order from the juvenile court.The department is required to start court action if it finds it is in the bestinterest of the child based on the assessment.
There are plans that list theconditions in which the report and disposition information, name of the allegedperpetrator, and the name of the child go on the registry.Eventhough every state must provide these services our nation is facing a problemwith this field of human services. There is a shortage of Child Protective ServicesWorkers. Staff renewal rate in the field is a problem, that is some areas canbe considered a crisis.
This causes multiple problems for the system,caseworkers, and the clients. Clients who spend months working with one workerjust to be handed to another and possibly another, lose trust in the care beingprovided and they are less likely to comply with the administration. Turnoverin the workforce also cost the government money. When a social worker leaves, thousandsof dollars spends training them is lost. Experienced caseworkers don’t havetime to mentor new caseworkers, especially with caseloads increasing due to theshortage of workers. Backlogs acquire, and tensions rise.
Pressure is increased,and caseworkers can get burnt out easily. This is an issue for the publicbecause for Child Protective Service to provide the children with the socialservices needed, they must be well-trained and dedicated to their jobs. Thisproblem is being addressed now, because despite an increase in referral reportsand the number of child abuse cases, social workers don’t make enough to takeon the caseload. Human Service Policy: The first argument ever made towards child protectiveservices came from Henry Bergh when he brought a case before the New YorkSupreme Court and made a case that the child was in impending peril and need tobe removed from her home. The judge, Abraham Lawrence agreed. The argument hecited came from Section 65 of the Habeas Corpus Act. This states, whenever it shall appear by satisfactory proof that anyone is held in illegalconfinement or custody, and that there is good reason to believe that hewill…suffer some irreparable injury, before he can by relieved by the issuingof a habeas corpus or ceriorari, any court or officer authorized to issue suchwrits, may issue a warrant…and bring him before such court or officer to bedealt with according to law”. (2) This still isrelevant today, in way that it relates to the current federal definition ofchild abuse or neglect.
Looking at Child Protective Services now, and seeing whatwas one of the first victories in Children’s right’s which led to the creationof it. There are lots of places in crisis right now without social workers. Forexample, one-third of the social service workforce in the largest county inKentucky has been lost due to Turnover since the beginning of this year. In Texaslast year, an auditor’s report found that twenty five percent of the employeesin social service were leaving the jump within one year. We know we need ChildProtective Services and, yet we can’t keep them. This is partially due to payand partially due to the emotional weight of the job that many aren’t preparedor aware of. The power to change this is held by a few differentparties. The power can be held by local offices.
For example, using job previewvideos and checking in with new hires as key times like thirty, sixty, andninety days after they have started, like Buncombe County, North Carolina does.The power is also in the power of the state, such as New Jersey who startstheir child welfare workers out at $48,000, driving turnover rates down fromeighteen to seven percent. Sara Munson, the director of the Institute forFamilies at Rutgers University School of Social Works says, “If the workers arewell-supported and well-trained, stable and committed, they’re able to do thatsame kind of work with children and families to get them stabilized. When we dowell by the workforce, that keeps cost down later.” (3) Some of the powerlies with the federal government, who sets the budget. Federal government canalso release emergency funding to help the crisis and get Child ProtectiveServices the workers it needs. While state can also release emergency funds,more of their money comes from the federal budget and more can be provided byfederal government that by state.
While there isn’t a fix-all solution to thisproblem, there are a few things can be implemented to get where we need to be. Doingan initial evaluation of candidates may also help provide reduction inturnover. Accordingto ONET, the field for child, family, and school social workers is what theycall a “Bright Outlook”. (5) “Bright Outlook” occupations are those that willhave large amounts of job openings and/or expected to rapidly grow within thenext few years. Wages annually in the United states for a child, Family, andSchool Social Worker range from a low of $27,800 to $75,140. The median annualsalary for this field is $43,250. In Iowa specifically, workers can generallyexpect less than that. Wages range from $25,050 to $69,600 annually in Iowa.
The median wage is $36,970. Also,according to ONET, the projected growth from 2016 to 2026 is faster than theaverage at ten to fourteen percent. The projected job openings during thosesame years is 37,900.Weare already having a problem with filling job positions and retaining staff.
Weneed to look at social worker and how we can recruit good quality workers. Forexample, “the Teach Grant is a federally-funded program created to helpstudents pay college cost in return for teaching high-need subjects inlow-income schools”, according to the Iowa College Student Aid Commission.These grants are only given to students who agree to serve as full-timeteachers for at least four years, at a low-income school, in a high need field.Doing something like this would give incentives for students to pursue thiscareer and would be more likely to retain them for the four years so that theirgrant didn’t turn into a loan instead. Political View Point Liberals tend to be for social welfare.
Often, they saythat social workers are liberals. They are often champions for children’srights and protecting children. They are less concerned with whose taxes arepaying for what and more concerned with those who need services getting them.
The issue for liberals is that they must understand the grant money oremergency money or money in general to recruit, hire, and retain workers mustcome from somewhere. We must find a way to make the most sense financially,especially to get the support of those who are more conservative. Conservatives are often worried about the financialaspects of things. It doesn’t help that they are for less governmental controlin things such as raising children. Theyaren’t going to want a solution to involve grants, raises, or emergency funds.
They are going to want a more efficient way of doing things. Pushing thingsalong like that often means more children fall through the cracks and as aresult some may even die do to being overlooked by the system. We need a way toshow them where the money is coming from and how it is in the best interests ofall to have more social workers, and retain the ones we currently have. Discussion There are a lot of strengths in the Child ProtectiveService’s for Children. It is a needed service to protect the wellbeing ofchildren in the United States. Most child abuse cases center on neglect.Physical abuse or sexual abuse is a minority of the cases. The U.
S. Departmentof Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families reports:The national estimates of children who received an investigation…increased 7.4%from 2010 (3,023,000) to 2014 (3,248,000) …Three quarters (75%) of victims wereneglected, 17% were physically abused, and 8.
3% were sexually abused…For2014…1,590 children died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.13 per 100,000children.” The primary cause of removals tends to be drugs, with meth being themost popular. There is a need to protect children from this abuse and neglect.The major goal is to reunite families, but it is important it is safe to do so.Child protective services has this job of finding the right balance betweenwhen to step in and remove a child and when to work with a family that istrying but struggling.
Child Protective Services work to help parents addressthe problems they are dealing with, so they can be better parents. They work todo return children to their parents, but supervised by Child ProtectiveServices, in a timely matter. Child Protective Services isn’t perfect.
They often letparents or guardians know they are coming which allows them to clean things upand coach the children. They also need to make the drug tests random. Lettingsomeone know they must take one and when allows them to get cleaners to cleantheir system.
They are also an issue in the pay as I have addressed before.These social workers often carry heavy caseloads, especially now that they areunderstaffed. They don’t receive proper return on the amount of work they putin.
It leaves employees unhappy and it’s harder to retain them. ChildProtective Services has its hands tied some. It’s hard to come in and tellpeople how they can or should be raising their children. They are protocol andlaws to follow. They need to respect the child’s feelings and bond with theirparents and guardians and nurture that while not knowing if they willeventually have to terminate the rights of said guardian or parent. I havealways thought there needed to be a three-strike law when it comes to ChildProtective Services.
If you can’t get it together after three founded reports,your loss your rights. Believe in second chances, but sometimes you must putthe child’s wellbeing above what’s comfortable. What is the future of Child Protective Services? ChildProtective Services isn’t perfect. There are things that need to be changed,and laws that could benefit all involved.
All in all, I believe that ChildProtective Service is moving in the right direction and is needed in oursociety, and for our children. I believe there will always be a need for ChildProtective Services. Since society changes and what we view acceptable Ibelieve this policy will see many changes as it heads into the future. One ofthe many changes I hope to see made is that less focus is put on reuniting thefamily at all cost and more is put on the child’s best interest. Sometimesparents really don’t know better and they just need a little help and to beeducated. Other times parents are allowed to neglect their child time and timeagain because of a flaw in the system.
This is another one of the reasons whyit is important to not be short staffed on Child Protection Services orders. Thereneeds to be enough workers to do the initial visits faster and unannounced.They need to be able to thoroughly interview and not cut corners. They need tohave a manageable caseload so that they can give proper legwork and thoughtprocess to each case. To have a successful future for Child Protective Servicesthere needs to be more worker and less turnover of staff. I have learned how hard it is to be a social worker.
Ithink it’s important to know the work you’re going into. This may mean researchingvideos and articles about the hardships of working in Child Protective servicesor about the situations that you find yourself in. Child Protective Servicesisn’t an easy job. The hours can be long, and the caseloads are overwhelming. Youmust believe in what you do and want to help people. It can be hard to be bothempathetic and objective.
I think knowing what you are getting into helps youto steel yourself for the future. Focusing on a goal and letting your cause beyour motivation to push forward. Knowing when you are getting burnt out andtaking care of yourself is an important factor to help not lose steam. It willalso help the field not to lose more social workers if social workers all learnedhow to regulate themselves when they felt they were getting burnt out. It is essentialthat retain our trained and skilled workers.
Having enough Child ProtectionServices workers and retaining them are essential to the wellbeing of thechildren in our country.