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State Standards and Capacity to Track Frequency of Caseworker Visits with Children in Foster Care DHHS-OIG Report OEI-04-03-00350 December 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "State Standards and Capacity to Track Frequency of Caseworker Visits with Children in Foster Care DHHS-OIG Report OEI-04-03-00350 December 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 State Standards and Capacity to Track Frequency of Caseworker Visits with Children in Foster Care DHHS-OIG Report OEI December 2005

2 Objectives Determine State written standards for frequency of worker-child visits Determine extent States could provide statewide automated reports on frequency of worker-child visits Determine extent to which statewide reports indicate children were visited

3 Background No federal standard; monthly visit considered a minimum benchmark CFSR: of 35 states reviewed , 27 cited as needing improvement in frequency of caseworker visits OIG focused on children in foster care Examined State frequency standards Analyzed ability to produce statewide reports

4 Definitions Visit = face-to-face contact between caseworker and child Standards = written procedures providing guidance for caseworker visitation included in State law, regulations, policies, memoranda, or other documents

5 Limitations Did not examine county, local or private agency standards Included only children placed in-State Did not categorize exceptions to State standards

6 Findings: Standards - Frequency 50 of 51 States have statewide written standards 39 States have standard of monthly visits 4 States have more frequent standards

7 Findings: Standards - Frequency 7 States have less frequent standards – 3 States = quarterly – 2 States = every 2 months – 1 State = every 6 weeks – 1 State = 1/week to 1/every 12 weeks (range) – 1 State = monthly to quarterly (range)

8 Findings: Standards - Frequency Exceptions resulting in more or less frequent visits – How recently child placed in foster care – Type of placement setting – Needs of the child – Case status – Caseworker caseload size

9 Findings: Standards - Location 33 States have standard stating at least some visits take place in the placement 15 States recommend that every visit occur in the placement

10 Findings: Standards Most common events contributing to development or enhancement of standards: – CFSR (10 States) – Lawsuits/consent decrees (8 States) – Collaboration w/child advocacy group (8 States) – Other events (17 States)

11 Findings: Statewide Reports No Federal requirement 20 States demonstrated ability to produce statewide reports detailing frequency of visits for FY reports produced using SACWIS 1 report produced using State administrative review process

12 Findings: Statewide Reports Impediments to report production for remaining 31 States: – Documentation in paper case files (18 States) – Insufficient automated system capacity (8 States) – Lack of resources (e.g., insufficient staffing or computer time) (5 States)

13 Findings: Visits in FY of States providing reports had at least monthly visiting standards Reports from these States showed: – 5 States: <50% of children visited monthly – 5 States: 50-75% of children visited monthly – 7 States: 76-97% of children visited monthly

14 Findings: Visits in FY of States providing reports had quarterly visiting standards Reports from these States showed: – 1 State: 45% of children visited monthly – 1 State: 57% of children visited during a quarter 1 State standard ranged from monthly to quarterly – 24% of children visited monthly – 88% of children visited during a quarter

15 Findings: Visits in FY 2003 Factors reported by States as negatively affecting visiting rates in their reports: – Insufficient documentation of visits – High caseloads and insufficient staff – Private provider visiting information not included

16 Findings: Visits in FY 2003 Factors reported by States as positively affecting visiting rates in their reports: – Caseworker visits were a priority – Visiting was closely monitored 5 States reported that they improved visiting rates by the end of 2003 or later

17 Recommendations For States with limited or no automated capacity to record visits and produce statewide reports, ACF should promote the development of automated systems such as SACWIS For States with such capacity, ACF should work with States to ensure that visiting data are recorded

18 Prepared by: Susan Dougherty National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice and Permanency Planning At the Hunter College School of Social Work A Service of the Children’s Bureau/ACF/DHHS


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