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NCANDS, AFCARS, CFSR,PEW, CASEY, APHSA, ETC.What Their Research Tells Us Howard Davidson, J.D. Director, ABA Center on Children and the Law 740 15th Street, NW Washington, DC 20005 202/662-1740 email@example.com
National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System • “NCANDS”– Latest report, “Child Maltreatment 2003” reports 2003 data • CPS got about 2.9 million reports BUT... Almost a million “screened out” (state % varied from .9% in AZ to 65.7% in NH) Anonymous reports-- 9.1% of all reports (11.7% subst. or indic.; 11.9% unsubt.; 16.3% found intentionally false; but note Teachers had higher unsubst. rate, and Parents/Relatives higher “false” rates)
Lowest-reporting “professional groups”– medical, mental health, and child care • Rate-- substantiated to unsubstantiated varies widely state-to-state (from 1 out of 6 reports subst. (MT) to more subst. than unsubst. (VA)– typical: 1-2 to 1-4 • Less than .1% of all reports to CPS are found to be “intentionally false” • Most commonly reported and subst.: Child Neglect, over 60% of all victims (rose in 2003, other categories declined)– in some, 90%+ (NY, NC)
Removal FAR more likely for Neglect (60%+ of removals, some states more) • One of smallest individual categories: Psychological Maltreatment (some states under 1% -- AZ, ID, IL, MD, MA, MN, NY, NC, RI, TN, WI), but others, 30-60% (CT, ME, ND, UT) – Why? • Most common victims: ages 0-3 ! (also, 78.7% of all maltreatment fatalities) • Only 34 states reported number of child victims with disabilities (ranges-- from .5% FL to 98.7% HA, and 20-30% in AZ, AR, ID, IN, NH, SC)
Removal from Home– children with disabilities twice as likely to be placed; 0-3 group most likely to be placed; African-American children 36% more likely to be placed than White children • The % of victim kids removed varies considerably from 3%(FL) to 50.6%(ID) • Perpetrators– some states show lots of unmarried partner of parent perps. (FL, MA, TX), but others small (CO, WY) • Very small numbers of residential facility staff perps. (13 states report 20 or less)
Child Victims with Court Action or Petition– only 66,645 out of 537,026 victims on whom states reported data • Yet, some states had very high rates of court action (NM, 100%; NH, 56.2%; MT, 49.1%; NB, 44.1%), others low (TX reports under 0.0%; KY, .1%; FL, .2%) • Since 1996, states are supposed to be reporting the % of victims with court-appointed representatives (lawyers, GAL, CASA)– only 25 states report this; ranging from under 1% (FL, IN, NV, NH) to 40% or more (AZ, HA, NB) – How can we make this data more reliable?
AFCARS, Child Welfare Outcomes Report, CFSRs • Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System– latest data are estimates as of August 2004 (Rpt. 9), but data is mostly focused on 2002 • Number of children in care coming down (but still over 500,000), as are children “waiting” for permanency • But number of TPRs not rising, nor are adoptions from foster care
29% of kids are in care 3 years or longer (multiple placements still far too common) • Quarter of placements in kinship homes • 8 states have high rate (20% or more) of group shelter or institutional placement • Return home most common goal/outcome (54%), but high reunification states have high care re-entry rates (problem: poor post-return services and family monitoring) • African-Americans and Hispanic kids still widely over-represented (54% of kids in care versus 39% White kids) • 40% entering care are 0-5 (largest group) • 61% of adoptions are to Foster Parents
Annual Child Welfare Outcomes Report to Congress (2001, printed 2004) • Incorporates information from 32 Child and Family Services Reviews • States have trouble preventing maltreatment from re-occurring (poor risk assessment and family monitoring, services not addressing risk areas); but states are more successful preventing abuse in foster care • Achieving permanency for adolescents and kids with disabilities is a problem – far too many kids are growing up in and emancipating from foster care
What More Can We Learn From the 52 CFSRs? • We’re failing to enhance many families’ capacity to better provide for their kids • We’re generally failing to quickly and properly address kids’ physical and especially their mental health needs • We’re doing poorly in properly involving children and families as partners in our case planning and court process • We’re mostly failing to get parents the help they most need (e.g., for addictions)
We’re failing to do enough for maltreated adolescents (who too often simply remain in long-term foster care) • We’re letting too many kids keep having a goal of “family reunification” without re-evaluating whether that’s still right • We’re not, in far too many cases where we should, filing for TPR (or holding timely “Permanency Hearings”) • We’re not doing enough to put into practice the clear fact that increasing frequency of caseworker visits to kids and parents enhances children’s safety, permanency, and well-being
We’re still making far too much use of group shelters for initial placements and for disrupted foster care situations • We’re still not doing enough to train and support foster parents • We’re still not doing enough to match individual children’s needs with the right foster placement that can address those • We’re still not doing enough to create more proper placements for children with disabilities or behavior problems • We’re still not doing enough to involve fathers early in the process
The Pew Report • Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, “Fostering the Future: Safety, Permanence and Well-Being for Children in Foster Care” (2004) • Made suggestions for changes in child welfare financing, but also… • Made recommendations for improving how the courts deal with abused and neglected children and their families
Just as CPS and foster care agencies should track case caseloads and outcomes, so should courts (to help enhance individual judge accountability and overall court resources) • There should be effective, on-going collaboration between the agency and the court, including leadership by the state Chief Justice and Agency Director • Children and parents need a stronger voice, and representation, in court • State judicial leaders should better train judges and endorse practice standards for courts, judges, and lawyers
State and local bar associations, law schools, and law firms, should build a pool of new qualified lawyers to represent children and parents in court • The state Chief Justice should have clear control over all their state’s courts hearing dependency cases, and all these cases should be heard in specialized “dependency courts”, rather than in courts where judges hear all sorts of cases, and judges should be able to “build a career” on the dependency bench
Casey Family Programs’ Foster Care Alumni Study 2005 report: “Improving Family Foster Care- Findings from the Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study” looked at outcomes for 659 “alumni” age 20-33 • This research suggests we need to do far more for abused/neglected kids as soon as they come into the system • More than half had significant mental health problems (depression, social phobia, PTSD, drug dependency, etc.)
PTSD rates much higher than for general population, up to twice as high as for war vets • More than one in five alumni experienced homelessness after leaving foster care • Maintaining placement stability (i.e.,few changes, no reunification failures, no running away) had a 22% decrease in negative mental health outcomes • Providing access to supplemental education services/tutoring & few school changes had a 13% decrease in negative mental health outcomes
APHSA’s 2004 Child Welfare Workforce Survey • American Public Human Services Association report of state agencies (February 2005) • 42 state agencies participated in study • Only 1 state agency was “accredited” • 16 out of 34 states asked about class action suits said they were involved in a child welfare court decree or settlement! • Only 6 states reported that they had statutory caseload limits
Only 9 states reported contracting with the private sector for CPS/child welfare services to families (“privatization”) • Average CPS salaries: $35,553 (lower than nurses, public school teachers, police officers, and firefighters) • During 3+ study years, CPS worker salaries rose 6.3% but federal cost of living rose 9.7% • CPS supervisor/worker ratio: 1 to 6 • Average tenure before leaving: 5 years • 15 states had caseload size or workload (based on case complexity) standards – CPS worker caseload range: 11-51 kids
National Study of CPS Systems and Reform Efforts • Published by U.S. Children’s Bureau in 2003, study by Walter McDonald & Associates & American Humane Assn. • Studied both State CPS Policies and Local CPS Practices (2 volumes) • Some state policy findings: only 14 state policies require reporters be notified when cases are “screened in” (only 16 of investigation’s outcome); 20 states had some “alternative response” mechanism to reported cases
Some local practice findings: 70% of agencies reported an excessive workload problem for CPS investigators; only 7% reported a priority status arrangement with mental health providers or substance abuse treatment; only 13% had non-English speakers on staff to handle reports; only 32% said they always do criminal background checks on alleged perpetrators as part of investigations; use of formal safety/risk assessment instrument in investigation (37%/44%)
47% reported using the “structured decisionmaking model” which includes both safety and risk assessment measurements (National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Children’s Research Center) http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/c_sdm_about.html • Finally (and of special interest to this group) 95% of respondents said they sometimes or always involve a Citizen CPS Review Team in the case investigation itself (94% involved them in their alternative response process)