Focus on Dept. of Child Safety

June 8, 2017 by  

The Dept. of Child Safety announced it has nearly cleared the 16,000 backlogged cases – only about 300 to go – (read details here) and for the first time in seven years, more kids are leaving state care than are entering it. Progress?  Absolutely —  but 17,000 children in the system is still a troubling number.  Add to this stubbornly high caseloads and it’s easy to see why reducing the number of kids in foster care is paramount as is ensuring that children in care are safe.  At this point – that’s not a given – and why the Legislature took these actions this session:

  • Warrants – SB 1003 authorizes DCS to seek a warrant prior to the removal of a child unless exigent circumstances exist.  The intent is to deter needless removal and provide an external judicial review to ensure that child removals are warranted.
  • DCS oversight committee SB 1003 establishes a joint legislative oversight committee to succeed the Child Safety Oversight Committee. Ongoing oversight has been a legislative priority to ensure that implementation of key policy initiatives is consistent with legislative intent and provides a forum to consider issues related to child safety when necessary. The committee will review the department’s report consolidation efforts, follow DCS’ implementation of a warrant process and any other child welfare topics.
  • Expediting Permanency for children in care SB 1360 – efforts to expedite the legal proceedings are needed to provide children and families certainty. SB 1360 allows the court to establish a permanent guardianship for a child who is the subject of a pending dependency petition filed by DCS and allows any party to the pending dependency proceeding to file the motion.
  • Coming up – Expanded foster parent and DCS worker training on Trauma-Informed care; identifying and treating substance-addicted parents in the system on the front end (about 90% of all neglect cases are substance abuse related); Putting mental health treatment dollars & decisions under agency control (current process doesn’t serve kids well).



2 Responses to “Focus on Dept. of Child Safety”
  1. Joe Jacober says:

    Senator Barto-

    They are still not reporting the background data. All you are seeing is what they want you to see! PLEASE … we need to measure all aspects of what they are doing. Until then, you actually do not know if they are improving … you only know what they tell you!

    Thank you for staying on top of this!

    • nancy_barto says:

      Hi Joe,
      I agree with you! The new data system is supposed to capture a lot more data – so we should have a better handle on the issues that bring children into care in the first place (detail about substance abuse, etc. as well as better outcome measures on the services provided and return rates, which is long overdue) and how they’re doing physically, educationally, etc. in care. Thank you for continuing to bring this up. Everything seems to take way too long – that’s what is truly frustrating. We’re trying to stay on top of it.
      Thanks much –

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