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Child Safety Guide

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  1. Child Safety Guide

  2. A Collaboration Between National Resource Centers for Child Protective Services, Action for Child Protection Therese Roe Lund Legal and Judicial Issues, American Bar Association Timothy Travis

  3. Objective of this Presentation Introduce basic principles of child safety decision making Begin consideration of whether to use The Guide in local court communities

  4. First Component of the Guide Published Guide Purchase from ABA www.abanet.org/child/rclji/

  5. Second Component of the Guide Materials on Web (free download) www.nrccps.org Text of the Guide Addenda (not in published Guide)

  6. Third Component of the Guide • Bench Cards not included in down load version included in published version Not sufficient, alone...

  7. Purpose of the Guide • Keep children who do not need to be in substitute care from going there. • Ensure that those who need to go will go • Ensure those who go stay no longer than necessary

  8. Child Safety Guide is Not a new “practice model”

  9. Child Safety Guide Helps the Legal Community Focus on the underlying principles of good safety decision-making in any practice model Use these principles to rationally and rigorously analyze situations and make decisions about child safety

  10. Safety Guide: Sets Out a Rational Decision Making Process, that Provides… • Common understanding of “child safety” • Commonly understood vocabulary to talk about it • Commonly accepted body of information to draw up in decision making

  11. Can people in your court explain… • The judge’s definition of “safety” for a child? • How the judge determines whether a child is safe?

  12. Consensus About Expectations(before anyone goes into the courtroom) All involved should know what is expected of them (and others) in gathering sufficient evidence, presenting it and testing it. Expectations should be developed in an inclusive, collaborative, multi-disciplinary process

  13. All involved need to know how good decisions are made about child safety . How do we know whether a severe injury of a child represents a pattern of dangerous family conditions or is a one-time incident? • This is how we can determine whether a child is safe • This is how can determine whether to return a child • These are the criteria do we use to determine safety

  14. Key Concept Threat of Danger? + Vulnerable child? - Protective Capacity? = “unsafe child” Chapter 1 p. 2

  15. Initial hearings disposition review Gather information Safety Plan --Assess safety: adequate feasible, sustainable? Least restrictive given circumstances? Reunify? Treatment Plan-- Assess needs and progress: reduced threat, developed capacity? Parents keep child safe without support? (close case?)

  16. Keeping Track of Two Plans • Safety Plan • Case/permanency Plan Chapter 8, p. 74

  17. Gathering Information Chapter 2 p. 3

  18. Information/evidence drives decisions • Court and advocates should be able to assess whether there is sufficient showing of evidence upon which to base the agency’s recommendations. • Answers to six questions is the bare minimum a judge needs to know to make safety decisions. Chapter 2 p 3

  19. Six Questions—Six Categories • Nature of maltreatment • Circumstances of maltreatment • Child’s day-to-day functioning 4. Parental discipline 5. Overall parenting practices 6. Parental life management skills Chapter 2 p. 3 - 5

  20. Time, time, time… • Initial contrary to to welfare determination may well be made mostly on the basis of the nature of the maltreatment • Reasonable efforts findings and the case plan—due 60 days from removal—must be made on complete information Chapter 2 p 7

  21. Make arational decision based oncompleteinformation

  22. Assessing Safety • Vocabulary of assessment • Threat of Danger • Vulnerable Child • Protective Capacities

  23. Vocabulary: Safe and Unsafe Child • Safe child • “Vulnerable” children are safe when there are no “threats of danger” within the family or home OR when the caregivers possess sufficient “protective capacity” to manage or control any threats. • Unsafe child • Children are unsafe when they are “vulnerable,” there are “threats of danger” within the family or home AND the caregivers have insufficient “protective capacities” to manage or control the threats, making outside intervention necessary.. Chapter 1, p. 2

  24. Key Concept Threat of Danger + Vulnerable child - Protective Capacity = “unsafe child” Chapter 1 p. 2

  25. A SAFE CHILD! Threat of Danger Vulnerable child Protective Capacity Chapter 4, p. 19

  26. SAFE CHILD! Vulnerable child Protective Capacity Chapter 4, p. 19

  27. SAFE CHILD! Vulnerable Child-NOT! Threat of Danger Protective Capacity Chapter 4, p. 19

  28. UNSAFE CHILD Vulnerable child Threat of Danger Protective Capacity Chapter 4, p. 9

  29. Removal(and return) is about SAFETY

  30. Safety (Danger) Versus Risk Statutory Language Varies among states • Imminent risk • Risk of harm • Imminent risk of severe harm • Threat of harm • Threat of imminent harm Chapter 1, p. 2

  31. Safety (Danger) versus Risk Safety concerned about imminence and severe consequences due to things being out of control Risk vague concept regarding whether something might occur if there is not intervention; risk may be mild or serious. • the critical question is whether or not the child is safe. Chapter 1, p. 2

  32. Threat of Danger Chapter 3, p. 10 Appendix A

  33. Key Concept Threat of Danger + Vulnerable child - Protective Capacity = “unsafe child” Chapter 1 p. 2

  34. Vocabulary: Threats of Danger A specific family situation or behavior, emotion, motive, perception or capacity of a family member observable out of control immediate severe consequences Chapter 3, p. 9 Appendix A pp 55-64

  35. 15 Threats of Danger • Where does the threat of danger perceived by the agency fit on this list? • Require specificity Chapter 3 p. 48 Appendix A pp 55-64

  36. Child Vulnerability Chapter 3, p 11

  37. Key Concept Threat of Danger + Vulnerable child - Protective Capacity = “unsafe child” Chapter 1 p. 2

  38. Vocabulary: Vulnerability • Vulnerability: degree of dependence on others for protection and care • Asses vulnerability in light of specific threats in this family Chapter 3, p. 11

  39. Vocabulary: Vulnerability AGE is not themarker, it’s only one marker Chapter 3, p 11

  40. Obvious Vulnerabilities • Age 0-6 • Physical, developmental disabilities or delays • Poor health, physical capacity • Inability to articulate danger Chapter 3, p. 12

  41. Less Obvious Vulnerabilities • Isolated from community • Cannot anticipate or judge presence of danger • Consciously or unknowingly provokes danger • Emotionally vulnerable • Impact of prior maltreatment • Attachment (enmeshment), fear, insecurity re parent • Unable to articulate problems or danger Chapter 3, p 12

  42. Protective Capacities Chapter 3, p 13 Appendix B pp 65 - 71

  43. Key Concept Threat of Danger + Vulnerable child - Protective Capacity = “unsafe child” Chapter 1 p. 2

  44. Vocabulary: Protective Capacities Personal characteristics associated with being protective, that predict protective vigilance, and indicate preparation and power to protect. Chapter 3, p. 13 - 17 Appendix B pp 65 - 71

  45. Safe Child Flow Chart • No threats • Threat but not vulnerable child • Threat and vulnerable child but sufficient protective capacity Chapter 4, p. 19

  46. Initial hearings disposition review Gather information Safety Plan --Assess safety: adequate feasible, sustainable? Least restrictive given circumstances? Reunify? Treatment Plan-- Assess needs and progress: reduced threat, developed capacity? Parents keep child safe without support? (close case?)

  47. This Process is Both a Sword and a Shield • Children who are not safe can be protected • Children who are safe will not be taken into care • What is the cause of unnecessary removals and tardy returns? • Uncertainty caused by lack of evidence and a consensus about how it should be applied. • “better safe than sorry”

  48. Mantra of the Parent’s Bar There is no threat of danger in the home

  49. Mantra of the Parents’ Bar • Even if there were a threat of danger, the child is not vulnerable to that threat.

  50. Mantra of the Parents’ Bar 3. Even if there were a threat, and even if the child were vulnerable… A. The parents have (or now have) sufficient protective capacity to keep the child safe, or B. Resources have been (or can be) put into the home to augment any (alleged) shortcomings in the parents’ protective capacity.