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The School & Community Liaison Initiative Presents: Department of Children and Families Division of Youth and Family Services AN OVERVIEW Stacia Mosier.

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Presentation on theme: "The School & Community Liaison Initiative Presents: Department of Children and Families Division of Youth and Family Services AN OVERVIEW Stacia Mosier."— Presentation transcript:

1 The School & Community Liaison Initiative Presents: Department of Children and Families Division of Youth and Family Services AN OVERVIEW Stacia Mosier presenting

2 The Department of Children and Families (DCF) Created in July 2006 with the goals of: Focusing on strengthening families Achieving safety, well being and permanency for all NJ children

3 DCF is made up of the following Divisions Youth and Family Services Centralized Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline Child Behavioral Health Services Prevention and Community Partnership Specialized Education Services Child Welfare Training Academy

4 DCF Priorities – the Fundamentals Sharpen the focus on safety Strengthen permanency processes to achieve timely reunification or adoption Reduce inappropriate placements Grow the pool of non-kin resource families Managing outcomes by data Hire and train staff & achieve caseloads standards Expand services Improve coordination between DYFS,DCBHS and DPCP

5 DCF / DYFS Case Practice Improvement Overview Community Information Meeting Linda Mendoza and Marisol Naranjo Presenting New Jersey Department of Children and Families Kimberly S. Ricketts, Commissioner Department of Children and Families Christine Mozes, Director DCF, Division of Youth and Family Services

6 1 st Focus on the Fundamentals 1 st Focus on the Fundamentals Create the conditions that are pre-requisites to… 2 nd Implementing Change in the Culture of Practice 2 nd Implementing Change in the Culture of Practice Move from a case management service delivery model to a strength-based, family centered, child focused model. Then, DYFS can… 3 rd Deliver Results 3 rd Deliver Results With improved outcomes for children and families. The federal lawsuit recognizes that reform requires a focused and staged process to achieve results:

7 DCF Case Practice: Focusing on Families DCF/DYFS Case Practice model aims to see a family’s whole life picture; including its natural supports (such as community organizations, family members, neighbors) and any issues affecting the family’s success (such as unemployment, substance abuse, housing, education, domestic violence, physical and mental health, etc.).

8 Families must be our most powerful ally to ensure safety, improve well- being and achieve permanency for children. Families must be our most powerful ally to ensure safety, improve well- being and achieve permanency for children. Our case practice focuses us on engaging families in a robust and constructive way. Our case practice focuses us on engaging families in a robust and constructive way. With this practice, we focus on children while strengthening their family and formal and natural supports to help make good decisions effecting their safety and well-being. With this practice, we focus on children while strengthening their family and formal and natural supports to help make good decisions effecting their safety and well-being. DCF Case Practice: Focusing on Families

9 Most families have the capacity to make positive change with the support of individualized plans for supports and services. Most families have the capacity to make positive change with the support of individualized plans for supports and services. Engagement is the foundation to build trust and mutually beneficial relationships among children, youth, family members and DCF/DYFS staff. Engagement is the foundation to build trust and mutually beneficial relationships among children, youth, family members and DCF/DYFS staff. We must listen to, assess and address the needs of children, youth and families in a respectful and responsive manner that builds upon their strengths. DCF Case Practice: Focusing on Families

10 Engagement involves understanding the culture of a family and helping the family identify all potential supports. Engagement involves understanding the culture of a family and helping the family identify all potential supports. Engagement does NOT mean we will lose objectivity about safety risks to children. Engagement does NOT mean we will lose objectivity about safety risks to children. Engagement means that, whenever safe and appropriate, youth and parents will be included in decision-making about what they need to find solutions to family issues and concerns about child safety. Engagement means that, whenever safe and appropriate, youth and parents will be included in decision-making about what they need to find solutions to family issues and concerns about child safety. Importance of Family Engagement

11 Building a family team has multiple benefits: Working with Family Teams Teams are useful for gathering important information about the strengths and needs of families that contribute to the family’s current life situation. Teams are useful for gathering important information about the strengths and needs of families that contribute to the family’s current life situation. Teams can assist the family throughout the involvement with DCF/DYFS and help staff facilitate a successful service plan. When it is time for the family to end its involvement with DYFS, the team can help support the family’s transition.

12 Who is Part of a Family Team? A family team is made up of everyone important in the life of the child, including interested family members, foster/adoptive parents, neighbors, friends, clergy, as well as representatives from the child’s formal support system, such as school staff, therapists, service providers, CASA, the court service and legal systems. Parents, children and youth (when age appropriate) and team members do become active participants in making decisions about what services and supports are needed, how and who should deliver the services and how to identify success.

13 How will we implement Our Case Practice? The implementation of this case practice must be dynamic and continuous with constant attention to evaluating our progress along the way. To successfully implement this model throughout DCF, ownership of the reform must live at all levels of the organization.

14 SIXPRONGAPPROACH How will we implement Our Case Practice ? Investing in strong leadership on all levels of DCF. Pursuing an ambitious training plan that began in 2008 and will continue into Building models of case practice through complete immersion in training and coaching for all Local Offices. Developing services necessary to support a family-centered child welfare practice in a transparent budget process. Bridging the gap between the Divisions of Youth and Family Services and Child Behavioral Health Services and Prevention and Community Partnerships. Continued focus on the fundamentals of child safety, well- being and permanency.

15 Achieving this model of practice with every child and family will take time, but it is the standard through which practice and future commitments will be assessed and measured. DCF commits to an ongoing process of reevaluation of our progress against this model. The Road Ahead

16 We are excited to embark on this important phase of reform. We welcome the opportunity to partner with the children and families we serve, supported by the wider community of stakeholders and providers. While this work will be demanding, there is nothing more important than the work of learning to better serve New Jersey’s vulnerable children and families – and we welcome that challenge. The Road Ahead

17 Engaging skills demonstrate the ability to… Develop trusting relationships with families by demonstrating genuineness, empathy, respect and competence by utilizing key skills and techniques to develop these core competencies. Develop an effective working agreement. Effectiveness means that the family and worker agree on the family’s problem, and underlying need that must be addressed to resolve the problem, as well as their roles and responsibilities. (continued) Engaging Outcomes

18 Thomas Farrell presenting

19 Department of Children and Families State Central Registry (SCR) Division of Youth & Family Services (DYFS) Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit (IAIU) Office of Licensing (OOL) Division of Child Behavioral Health Services (DCBHS)

20 Who should call the Hotline? Child Welfare is everyone’s responsibility In New Jersey, anyone suspecting child abuse/neglect has a legal responsibility to report it. Reports to the Hotline can be made anonymously.

21 Who can make a referral? The child/victim Parents, relatives, friends Facility staff Schools Hospitals Law enforcement Anonymous referents

22 Reasonable belief of risk to child is enough to make the call You do not need to investigate the situation to make the call! You do not need proof. Call: –When you see signs of abuse or neglect –When a child tells you about the abuse –When you witness abuse –When a parent or other individual tells you Be supportive! Call the hotline as soon as possible!

23 What are my obligations to report child abuse/neglect? State law (N.J.S.A.9:6-8.10), requires “Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or acts of child abuse shall report the same immediately to the Division of Youth and Family Services by telephone or otherwise…” L. 1971, c.437, s.3; amended by L. 1987,c.341,s.4.

24 Callers have immunity from civil or criminal liability Any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect, or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report, is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action.

25 Penalty for Failure to Report Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect according to the law or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person and subject to a fine of up to $1000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both.

26 The Referral Process Calls come into the hotline and are answered by qualified screeners Information is taken by the screener and a determination is made regarding what type of report is to be generated Report is either sent to a field office for response, routed to the appropriate agency, or documented in the DCF system

27 What you should know when calling… Calls are recorded for Quality Assurance purposes. SCR is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with specially trained screeners and supervisors. This is the only “point of entry” for reports of suspected abuse and neglect. Screeners follow a standard protocol. Use of the “allegation-based system.”

28 Just the Facts! Details Make a Difference – if you know Who: Identify the people involved – the child, the alleged perpetrator and their relationship to the child; parents, siblings, others in the home- Dates of Birth; Addresses; Your name and contact information What: Type of Abuse/Neglect; Describe the incident; What happened that caused your concern? What is the child’s current condition? When: When did the incident happen? What is the frequency? When did you learn about it?

29 Just the Facts! Part 2 Where: where did the incident take place? Where is the child now? Does the alleged perpetrator have access to the child? How urgent is the need for intervention? Is there a likelihood of danger for the caseworker?

30 Types of Reports taken at SCR Information & Referral –Information that does not rise to the level of child abuse or neglect –Does not require DYFS intervention or response –Would be more appropriately handled by another agency outside DCF –Incidents outside of DCF jurisdiction

31 Types of Reports taken cont. Related Information –Information called in on an open case that does not constitute a new allegation –Information is provided to the on-going case manager

32 Types of Reports taken cont. Child Welfare Services (CWS) –Assesses concerns for a child that do not rise to the level of abuse or neglect, ie. Parenting capability, clothing, housing conditions, medical concerns, child behavioral or psychiatric issues –Services and assessments mandated by statute –Immediate, 72 hour & 5 day responses

33 Types of Reports taken cont. No Action Required (NAR) –Differential Response –DCF has contracted with several agencies to provide certain child welfare services Now available in Union, Middlesex, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester & Salem county’s

34 Types of Reports taken cont. CPS-Family, CPS-IAIU, CPS-Other –Child Protective Service -allegations of child abuse/neglect (CA/N) regarding the alleged abuse or neglect of a child by a caretaker or other person responsible for the child’s well being. –Immediate or 24 hour responses

35 Statistical Analysis Over 188,000 reports generated –Over 50,000 CA/N reports –Over 13,000 Child Welfare reports –Over 32,000 Related Information reports –Over 20,000 Information & Referrals reports –Over 500 reports generated daily

36 Statistical Analysis 1/1/09-10/15/09 Over 147,000 reports generated –Over 45,000 CA/N reports –Over 10,000 Child Welfare reports –Over 30,000 Related Information reports –Over 16,000 Information & Referral reports –Over 500 reports generated daily

37 Child Abuse/Neglect Referrals & Allegation Based System System of 32 categories developed that defines allegations of abuse and neglect Determines the criteria SCR utilizes for accepting a report of child abuse/neglect Determines who SCR can accept a report from Directs the child abuse investigation

38 Defining abuse and neglect The physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or negligent treatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare. This means the omission, commission, or both, of an act which allow the child to be placed at SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF HARM.

39 What to Report Physical Abuse: Bruises, cuts, burns, bite marks Neglect: inadequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision Sexual Abuse: touching, exploitation, penetration Emotional Abuse: repeated threats or insults

40 What are the common signs of abuse? Indicators of physical abuse: unexplained or questionable bruises, welts, burns, lacerations, fractures, abrasions, etc. Indicators of sexual abuse: complaints regarding genital/anal areas, sexually transmitted diseases, unusual knowledge about or preoccupation with sex. Indicators of neglect: consistent hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress, lack of supervision. Indicators of emotional maltreatment: may include aggressive or withdrawn behavior, unusual fears, running away, sudden change in mood or behavior. A child may directly report that he/she has been abused! Staff may directly observe a sign or act of abuse or neglect. Frequent or questionable absenteeism of a student is a cause for potential concern.

41 Physical Abuse Observable Indicators Unexplained or questionable bruises and welts: On face, lips, mouth On torso, back, buttocks, thighs In various stages of healing Clustered, forming regular patterns Reflecting shape of article used to inflict (electric cord, belt buckle) On several different surface areas Regularly appear after absence, weekend or vacation Behavioral Indicators: Wary of adult contacts Appearing uncomfortable with physical contact Complaining of soreness or moving uncomfortably Apprehensive when other children cry Behavioral extremes: Aggressiveness or Withdrawal Reluctant to change clothes for PE Frightened of parents Afraid to go home Seeking to stay late after school Reports injury by parents

42 Physical Abuse (continued) Observable Indicators Unexplained or questionable Burns: Cigar, cigarette burns, especially on soles, palms, back or buttocks Immersion burns (sock-like, glove-like doughnut shaped on buttocks or genitalia) Patterned like electric burner, iron, etc. Rope burns on arms, legs, neck or torso Observable Indicators Unexplained or questionable fractures: To skull, nose, facial structure In various stages of healing Multiple or spiral fractures Unexplained or questionable laceration or abrasions: To mouth, lips, gums, eyes To external genitalia

43 Neglect: May often involve a combination of factors… Observable Indicators: Consistent hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress Consistent lack of supervision, especially in dangerous activities or long periods Frequent fatigue or listlessness Unattended physical problems or medical needs Abandonment Behavioral Indicators: Begging, stealing food Extended stays at school (arrive early & depart late) Falling asleep in class Noticeably poor hygiene Shunned by peers Clinging behavior Alcohol or drug abuse Delinquency (e.g. thefts) States there is no caregiver

44 Sexual Abuse: Often, there are no physical signs, however some observable indicators include: Difficulty in walking or sitting Torn, stained or bloody underclothing Pain or itching in genital area Bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vaginal or anal areas Venereal disease, especially in pre-teens Pregnancy Inappropriate “child on child” sexual activity/touching (going beyond age-appropriate curiosity) Behavioral indicators can be subtle or attributable to other factors but may include: Unwilling to change for gym or participate in PE Withdrawn, fantasy or infantile behavior Sexually explicit drawings Bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual behavior or knowledge Highly sexualized play Unexplained fear of a person or place Poor peer relationships Delinquency or runaway behavior Reports sexual assault by caregiver

45 Emotional abuse: The criteria used by DYFS… Emotional abuse and/or neglect is conduct by a child’s parent or caregiver toward the child which contributes to, causes, allows or permits: Significant and/or persistent emotional pain, harm or impairment; and/or Significant vulnerability to or risk of such pain, harm or impairment; and/or Significant exacerbation of a child’s existing emotional pain or impairment. There must be injury to the intellectual, emotional or psychological development of a child as evidenced by observable and substantial impairment in the child's ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior, with due regard to his or her culture.

46 Educational Neglect “Educational Neglect” means- –The parent or caregiver has willfully failed to provide a school-age child (ages 6-16) with a regular education, as prescribed by applicable State law. –A school age child is enrolled in a school program but is failing to attend on a regular, ongoing basis. –NOTE: The local school system or board of education must exhaust ALL its remedies, under State education law, administrative code, and local policies and procedures to engage the parent or caregiver and compel the child to attend school, before making a report of “educational neglect” to DCF.

47 LOCAL OFFICE OPERATIONS INTAKE PERMANENCY – Adolescent Unit ADOPTION SUPPORT – Litigation – Resource Julie Blacker presenting

48 INTAKE, PERMANENCY & ADOPTION Assignment to Local Office Documentation & Determinations Intake Worker Field Response S C R (Statewide Central Screening) Assignment to Permanency Worker Case Management & Ongoing Assessment Services Case Closing Assignment to Adoption Worker Adoption or Kinship Legal Guardianship Established LOCAL OFFICE OPERATIONS

49 The Investigation Process Includes Interviews with: Child Victims Siblings or other children in the home Non-offending parent or caregiver Alleged perpetrator (CA/N cases) Other adults in the home Policy dictates that every effort is made to contact the parents on the same day as the child victim

50 The Investigation Process Includes: Collateral information is gathered from schools, pediatricians, police, etc. Investigators determine whether or not abuse/neglect is substantiated or unfounded Risk is assessed using Structured Decision Making (SDM) tools. A determination is made to close or open the family for case management services

51 School Collateral Contacts Schools are always a partner in child safety and well being School information is needed at intake and before closing Caseworkers should collaborate with the schools throughout the life of the case. Schools can always share important information with DYFS

52 Intake Strategies Assess Risk and Safety Help family identify strengths and needs Engage family in creating a service plan if needed

53 When safety is an issue: Develop a safety protection plan to allow child to remain in their home. If a safety protection plan can’t be implemented a child may need to be placed in a safe environment Placement options with Relatives or family friends is explored first The goal is always to safely maintain children in their own home if possible.

54 PERMANENCY AND ADOPTION Assignment to Local Office Documentation & Determinations Intake Worker Field Response S C R (Statewide Central Screening) Assignment to Permanency Worker Case Management & Ongoing Assessment Services Case Closing Assignment to Adoption Worker Adoption or Kinship Legal Guardianship LOCAL OFFICE OPERATIONS Suzanne Tiren presenting

55 DYFS Permanency Case Practice Engaging family members Teaming with the family and their community partners Assessing underlying needs and behavioral expressions Planning intervention strategies Intervening, advocating and facilitating action Tracking & Adjusting to meet desired results

56 Core Conditions of DYFS Case Practice Model: Genuineness Empathy Respect & Competence

57 DYFS Permanency Activities Working with Family Teams Maintain face-to-face visitation with families Monitoring community service activity Obtaining additional collateral contacts Assessing progress towards reducing risk ALWAYS ASSURING SAFETY FIRST

58 How can Schools and DYFS work better together? Be genuine with our families and each other Participate in Family Team Meetings if invited by the family Caseworkers should collaborate with the schools throughout the life of the case. Understand DYFS confidentiality: – During protective service investigations – During child welfare assessments – When DYFS has custody of the child – When DYFS is providing services

59 How can Schools and DYFS work better together? DYFS should notify schools if any restrictions are placed on caregivers either through a safety plan agreement or a court order and share what information it can to benefit the students education and welfare Schools should notify DYFS of significant information pertaining to the health, safety or well being of children under DYFS supervision.

60 Permanency cases are closed when: – Safety and risk factors have been reduced and DYFS services are no longer needed – The parent terminates voluntary services – The court orders DYFS to close – Youth between the ages of refuse DYFS services

61 ADOPTION SERVICES Assignment to Local Office Documentation & Determinations Intake Worker Field Response S C R (Statewide Central Screening) Assignment to Permanency Worker Case Management & Ongoing Assessment Services Case Closing Assignment to Adoption Worker Adoption or Kinship Legal Guardianship LOCAL OFFICE OPERATIONS

62 Permanency cases transfer to Adoption when: – Permanency efforts are unable to achieve reunification within Federal ASFA guidelines – A waiver of ASFA guidelines cannot be requested or is not granted by the court – A guardianship petition is filed with the court

63 Other Functions of the Local Office Adolescents Units Adoption Units Resource Units Litigation Units Child Medical Health Units Kristi Conway, Melena Anderson, Aileen Journett, Stephen Carenza and Sabera Chowdhury, Tina Destaso, Alfredo Villalobos Presenting

64 Bergen County DYFS Offices Bergen South Local Office 125 State Street, 3 rd Floor Hackensack, NJ Marisol Naranjo, Manager Main Tel. (201) Fax # (201) Toll Free (800) Bergen Central Local Office 240 Frisch Court Paramus, NJ Erlinda Mendoza, Manager Main Tel. (201) Fax # (201) Toll Free (866)


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