Audrey Coleman, RN-MSN
Volunteer Roles: Military Reviewer; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader
My first experience with COA was in 1999 with what was a NC Area Program. I started as a peer reviewer in 2005, doing two to four site visits a year. I am also a team leader and have recently been approved to be a military reviewer.
Child Protective Services protect children from abuse and neglect and increase child well-being and family stability.
CPS 14: Personnel
Personnel are qualified and receive support to provide immediate and ongoing services to children in need of protection.
Note: When the organization is unable to fully implement one or more personnel standards, intensive efforts should be made to fully implement the other standards. For example, if the organization is unable to recruit workers with specific qualifications, it can ensure that appropriate supervision and workload standards are implemented.
Table of Evidence
|Self-Study Evidence||On-Site Evidence||On-Site Activities|
Child protection workers are qualified by:
- an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field; or
- a bachelor’s degree in social work or a comparable human service field with two years of related experience.
Supervisors are qualified by an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field and at least two years experience working with children and families, preferably in child protective services.
Child protection workers have the competencies needed to:
- empower and engage families;
- assess risk and safety and identify families with special needs;
- collaborate with community providers;
- exercise good judgment and competent decision making; and
- work with the court system when necessary.
Interpretation: Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience.
Child protective services workers and supervisors, depending on job responsibilities, are knowledgeable about relevant provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), including:
- the importance of ICWA and special considerations for working with Indian children;
- the identification of Indian children;
- determination of jurisdiction;
- appropriate notice and collaboration with the child’s tribe;
- active efforts to prevent removal or reunify families;
- placement preferences that support the child’s connection to their native culture and heritage; and
- court procedures.
Interpretation: The organization can consider the average number of cases where the Indian Child Welfare Act applies when determining which personnel need to be trained. Screening personnel must be trained on relevant provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
A manageable workload, which includes caseload and other organizational responsibilities:
- makes it possible for workers to meet practice requirements;
- does not impede the achievement of outcomes; and
- takes into consideration the qualifications and competencies of the worker and case status and complexity.
Interpretation: Case complexity can take into account: intensity of child and family needs, size of the family, and the goal of the case. Generally, investigative workers should manage no more than 12 active investigations at a time including no more than 8 new investigations per month. Ongoing and preventive services workers should be working with no more than 15-18 families (cases) at a time, with no more than 10 children that are in an out-of-home placement. However, there are circumstances under which caseloads may exceed these limits. For example, caseload size may vary depending upon the volume of administrative case functions (e.g., entering notes, filing, etc.) assigned to the worker. Caseloads may also be higher when organizations are faced with temporary vacancies on staff. New personnel should not carry independent caseloads prior to the completion of training.
Note: The evaluation of this standard will focus on whether the assigned workload is manageable for staff, taking into account the factors cited in the standard and interpretation. The specific caseload sizes stated in the interpretation are only a suggestion of what might be appropriate. Each organization should determine what caseload size is appropriate, and reviewers will evaluate: (1) whether the organization’s designated caseload size reflects a manageable workload, and (2) whether the organization maintains caseloads of the size it deemed appropriate.
Research Note: Two themes in staff retention literature indicate that high caseloads and time-consuming paperwork are primary factors in child welfare workforce turnover.
Supervisory personnel are involved in all decisions related to child safety and permanency, and workers have access to a supervisor by telephone 24 hours a day.
Supervisors or experienced workers provide additional support when personnel are new or are still developing competencies.
The program director or designee ensures:
- work schedules are flexible;
- sufficient staff coverage at all times;
- supports are in place to prevent burnout; and
- non-exempt employees that work overtime are appropriately compensated.
Interpretation: Non-exempt employees are compensated for overtime according to the Fair Labor Standards Act.