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Is Change Really Needed in Florida’s Child Welfare System?

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Presentation on theme: "Is Change Really Needed in Florida’s Child Welfare System?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Is Change Really Needed in Florida’s Child Welfare System?

2  A child in FL is twice as likely to have an open child abuse investigation  Our focus is very incident driven  Our assessment process is not comprehensive  Child safety is very subjective across the state  Our response to unsafe children is inconsistent  Florida accepts 8 out of every 10 calls made to the Hotline, creating a CPI investigation 80% of the time ◦ Only Alabama, Texas, and Washington DC have higher percentages

3  Nubia Barahona’s death in 2011 o A thorough case review revealed:  Inconsistent, inefficient, and redundant practices throughout the state  High recurrence, recidivism, re-investigation rates  Technology and system inefficiencies  Staff turnover and ineffective training o This case spearheaded the need for “change” in FL

4  Florida Safety Decision Making Methodology (FSDMM)  Professionalism  Technology  Compliance  Communication and Change Management

5  FSDMM:Florida Safety Decision Making Methodology ◦ Major practice reform from Hotline to On-going Services  New methodology is considered “Cutting Edge” or a best practice approach for child welfare services  A similar safety methodology is used by 20 other states across the country ◦ Improving the quality of our work with families ◦ Standardized agency performance metrics

6  Professionalism: ◦ Base salary increases for investigators ◦ Career opportunities ◦ Development of and compliance with FSDMM ◦ Appropriate use of authority

7  Technology: ◦ Command Center Transformation at the Hotline ◦ Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN) Updates ◦ Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) Compliance ◦ Creating a better system to allow Child Welfare Professionals to be in the field with families and not restricted by timeframes, paperwork, and/or computer work

8  Compliance: ◦ Chapter 39 Revisions ◦ Administrative Code (65 C) Revisions ◦ Operating Procedure Updates **Laws and Rules will all be aligned with the Florida Safety Decision Making Methodology (FSDMM)

9  Communication and Change Management: ◦ Ensure delivery of core concepts and project messages to ALL stakeholders  including YOU!

10  Multi-year project designed to address identified concerns with Florida’s Child Protection System ◦ Started over 2 years ago with the CPI Initiative ◦ Dependency Judges have been a positive voice for this project ◦ Developed from years of research and other states across the country effectively using safety models in their child welfare systems

11  To work more effectively with families and children toward achieving child safety  Florida families deserve to work with highly skilled, trained, knowledgeable professionals to keep children safe, keep families together when possible, with focus on protective capacities and family engagement  To help families achieve child safety and self sufficiency even when intervention is necessary

12  Introducing a consistently applied safety decision making methodology  Professionalizing our Workforce  Enhancing our Technology

13  Improved and permanently changed business practice and consistent safety decision making  Reduce re-investigations and re-victimization  Systems integration and technology improvements for efficiency  Professionalized and stabilized workforce  Higher quality casework and better outcomes for children and families  Serving the RIGHT families for the RIGHT reasons

14 Florida Department of Children and Families Copyright 2013 Florida Department of Children & Families

15  Hotline-Currently, a very high screen in rate ◦ Process now is VERY intrusive  CPI-High recidivism  Case Management-High case loads  Community Partners-Mandatory reporting Copyright 2013 Florida Department of Children & Families

16 SAFE…children are considered safe when there are no present or impending danger threats, or the caregivers’ protective capacities control existing threats UNSAFE… children are vulnerable to present or impending danger threats, and caregivers have insufficient protective capacity to control existing threats.

17  Immediate  Significant  Clearly Observable  Severe harm  Present tense---right now  Requires immediate response

18  Impending Danger ….not happening at this moment……but a “state of danger”  Child is in a position of continual danger

19 KNOW THE FAMILY D1: Extent of Maltreatment D2: Surrounding Circumstances D3: Child Functioning D4: Adult Functioning D5: General Parenting Practices D6: Disciplinary Practices Safe ? Yes No

20 Information Domains give us the information we need on child vulnerability…..  Age  Physical ability  Cognitive ability  Developmental status  Emotional security  Family loyalty KNOW THE FAMILY D1: Extent of Maltreatment D2: Surrounding Circumstances D3: Child Functioning D4: Adult Functioning D5: General Parenting Practices D6: Disciplinary Practices

21 Protective Capacity….how a parent thinks, feels, acts…..


23 Cognitive protective capacity  Intellectual knowledge, understanding and perceptions  Contribute to protective vigilance reality oriented accurate perception of a child recognition of a child’s needs ability to accurately process and interpret various stimuli understanding of protective role intellectually able understanding and recognizing threats

24 Behavioral Protective Capacity  Specific action, activity, performance that results in protective vigilance physical capacity and energy ability to set aside own needs adaptive, assertive and responsive takes action impulse control history of being protective

25 Emotional protective capacity:  Feelings, attitudes and identification with the child that results in protective vigilance emotional bond with the child positive attachment with the child love, sensitivity and empathy for the child resiliency stability effectively meets own emotional needs emotional control realizes the child cannot produce gratification and self-esteem for the parent

26  Safety plan: actions and services that will temporarily substitute for the lacking parental protective capacity to control the danger threats 26

27  An unsafe child does not automatically require placement outside the home  Safety plans range from entirely in- home to exclusively out-of-home care 27 Intrusiveness

28 28

29 Safe Children: provides a measure for identifying families for prevention services. Unsafe children: case management services

30 Are danger threats being managed? How can existing protective capacities – STRENGTHS – be built upon to make changes? What is the relationship between danger threats and the diminished caregiver protective capacities—What Must Change? What are the parents’ perspective or awareness of their caregiver protective capacities? What are the child’s needs and how are the parents meeting or not meeting those needs?

31 What are the parents ready and willing to work on in the case plan? What are the areas of disagreement in what needs to change? What change strategy (case plan) will be used to assist in enhancing diminished care giver protective capacities?

32 Can an in-home safety plan replace the out-of-home safety plan? Can we step down the intensity of our intervention?

33  Safety Decision Making Methodology impacts everything: policy, automated system, legal system, quality assurance, staff development.  Agency partners – focus on safety services and safety management; includes substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence  Legal stakeholders – new constructs, new decision making criteria, new expectations


35  Stages of Implementation  It’s a journey…to high fidelity! Exploration Installation Initial Implementation Full Operation Innovation Sustainability February 2011 Project Kick-off We are here! July 2013 Begin to Practice! Our destination!

36 Statewide Implementation Team SunCoast Region Training Plans Circuit 6 Training Plans for roll out Capacity Building Super Safety Practice Experts – 42 Safety Practice Experts – 200 Trainer Proficiency Evaluation Process

37 Keep Calm And CHANGE On

38 C Shawna Thomas/Super Safety Practice Expert Trainer, Pasco Sheriff’s Office P Lisa Tobin/Safety Practice Expert Training Supervisor, Pasco Sheriff’s Office I Kristine Fletcher/Safety Practice Expert Program Manager, Pasco Sheriff’s Office

39 Questions and Discussion?

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