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DIFFERENTIAL RESPONSE
National Overview
Theresa Costello, MA
Director
National Resource Center for Child Protective
Services (NRCCPS)
April 17, 2013
Defining Differential Response
• CPS practice that allows for more than
one method of initial response to
reports of child abuse and neglect
• Also called “dual track”, “multiple
track”, or “alternative response”
What differential response is
NOT…
• Differential response has not focused
mainly on cases screened out as
inappropriate for child protective
services; rather it has focused on
responding differentially to accepted
reports of child maltreatment.
History of Child Welfare
and the Purpose of
Differential Response
Purposes of
Differential Response and Child Protection
 CPS was established to
respond to all reports of
suspected child
maltreatment, but numbers
overwhelm available
resources
 Systems either screen out or
do not open for services
more than half of reports,
yet many children are
vulnerable
Purposes
of Differential Response in Child Welfare
 Traditional investigatory
practice is often adversarial
& alienates parents
 DR is a way to respond to
more reports (screened in)
at an earlier stage by
engaging families in a non-
adversarial process of
linking them to needed
services
Why Implement
Differential Response?
Recent Study on CP
Investigations :
 Do little to reduce risk
 Do not result in long-
term improvement in
family functioning or
child behavior
 Are associated with
increased depression
among mothers
“Child Protective Services Has
Outlived Its Usefulness”
Dr. Kristine Campbell,
Assistant Professor of
Pediatrics at the University of
Utah
Published in
The Archives of Pediatrics and
Adolescent Medicine
Oct. 2010
Why Implement
Differential Response?
“A lot of times the [family] situation calls for the formation of
a healing relationship so the very act of going there in an
investigatory mode impairs the ability [for workers] to form
a meaningful relationship in which parents can be open,
ask for and get help”
~Dr. Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph. D
Senior Fellow
Child Trauma Academy
www.childtrauma.org
Why Implement
Differential Response?
Increasingly, concerned citizens and organizations are
realizing that the best way to prevent child abuse is to help
parents develop the skills and identify the resources they
need to understand and meet their children's needs and
protect them from harm
Why Implement
Differential Response?
According to National Study of Child Protective Services
Systems and Reform Efforts (2003), 20 states identified one
of 3 purposes as reason for DR system:
 child safety (55%)
 family preservation or strengthening (45%)
 prevention of CA/N (20%)
Why Differential Response?
• Driven by the desire to….
– Be more flexible in the response to child abuse and
neglect reports
– Recognize that an adversarial focus is neither
needed nor helpful in all cases
– Better understand the family issues that lie beneath
maltreatment reports
– Engage parents more effectively to use services
that address their specific needs
– Serve more families; majority of traditional
investigations do not result in any services being
provided
Why Differential Response?
• Driven by desire to…
– Address family needs more quickly; most
cases not driven by court intervention, so
evidence collection is not necessary
– Build family support systems; DRS is often
accompanied by greater efforts to identify,
build and coordinate formal and non-
formal family supports
Shared Principles of Traditional
CPS and Differential Response
• Focus on safety and well-being of the child
• Promote permanency within the family
whenever possible
• Recognize the authority of CPS to make
decisions about removal, out of home
placement and court involvement, when
necessary
• Acknowledge that other community services
may be more appropriate than CPS in some
cases
Principles and Assumptions
of Differential Response
 The circumstances and needs of families differ and so
should the response
 The majority of reports do not need an adversarial
approach or court-ordered interventions
 Absent an investigation:
 child safety will not be jeopardized
 services can be in place more quickly
 families will be more motivated to use services
Principles and Assumptions
of Differential Response
 Effective assessment tools
can be put in place to
assure safety and an
informed response
 Frontline staff in CPS and
other agencies are trained
in strength based and
collaborative
interventions
 Only cases of greater
severity need to be on
state central registry
 Cases are monitored
sufficiently to change
course/paths when
situation requires
Practice Framework and Assumptions
 The primary goal of non
investigative approach is
child safety
 Most families want to
address threats to child
safety
 Most families can be
partners in achieving child
safety
 Families are more than
the presenting concerns
 Family protective factors
can assist in keeping
children safe
 Families are helped
through connections with
community services and
resources
Comparing Traditional
Child Protection
Models and
Differential Response
Traditional Child Protection Practice Model
Investigation model is
rooted in the determination
of whether:
 A child has been harmed
 A child is at risk of being
harmed
 An individual is culpable
for this conduct.
Report screened to
determine appropriateness
of child welfare agency
intervention
Investigation
(Is this a Child in Need of Protective Services?)
1. Safety and Risk Assessments
2. Gathering of Evidence
Disposition
Re. Child in Need of
Protective Services
Unsubstantiated Substantiated
Category IV
Voluntary
services
recommended
Category V
No services are
needed
Category I
Removal
required
Category II
Court mandated
services
required
Category III
Services are
needed
Model for Differential Response
Report screened to
determine appropriateness
of child welfare agency
intervention
Report is screened out.
Referral for other community
services may be made.
Alternative Response Screening
1. Is there an administrative rule requiring
that the report be investigated?
2. Are there other factors that would
necessitate an investigation?
Family Assessment
1. Safety and Risk Assessments
2. Complete assessment of family
strengths, needs and resources.
Investigation
(Is this a Child in Need of Protective Services?)
1. Safety and Risk Assessments
2. Gathering of Evidence
Assessment Outcome
Disposition
Re. Child in Need of
Protective Services
Family declines
needed services
Voluntary Services
Recommended
Services are
Needed
Agency
assesses that
services are
needed to
maintain child
safely at home.
Unsubstantiated Substantiated
No Yes
No
Yes
No Services
No services
needed
Family and
agency agree
upon services
Family
declines
services
Family
accepts
needed
services
Category IV
Voluntary
services
recommended
Category V
No services are
needed
Category I
Removal
required
Category II
Court mandated
services
required
Category III
Services are
needed
Differential
Response
System
focusing on a
child in need
of protective
services and
support and
engagement
of the family.
The Core Elements
of Differential
Response
Core Elements of Differential Response
1. Use of two or more discrete
responses to reports of
maltreatment that are
screened in and accepted
2. Assignment to response
pathways determined by an
array of factors
3. Original response
assignments can be changed
4. Ability of families who
receive a non-investigatory
response to accept or refuse
to participate in differential
response or to choose the
traditional investigatory
response
Core Elements of Differential Response
5. Establishment of discrete
responses codified in
statute, policy, protocols
6. After assessment, services
are voluntary for families
who receive a non-
investigatory response (as
long as child safety is not
compromised)
7. No substantiation of alleged
maltreatment and services
are offered without formal
determination that child
maltreatment has occurred
8. Use of central registry is
dependent upon type of
response
Pathways in the Differential
Response Continuum
• There are at least two categories of
response ( SC 3)
– Investigation: reports that are immediately
recognized as presenting serious safety issues
for children/placement more likely/may be
criminal charges
– Assessment: reports that indicate the child
may be in need of protection and the family
requires services to better address child and
family safety and well being.
Factors Determining Response
• Statutory limitations
• Severity of the allegation
• History of past reports
• Ability to assure the safety of the child
(if safety threats at intake not assigned
to assessment)
• Willingness and capacity of the parents
to participate in services
Assessment is the Key
• Assessment must be comprehensive-
more than simply a risk and safety
assessment-understanding underlying
family conditions
• Must also identify protective factors in
family and larger social context that
could be mobilized to strengthen family
Family Engagement
• Family members have significant expertise
and whenever possible it is important to
engage them in identifying issues and to
honor family choices when they do not
jeopardize safety
• Seek collaboration with family and their
formal and informal support system
• Whenever possible, eliminate practices that
produce resistance such as drop in visits,
joint visits with law enforcement, and
interviewing child without parental
knowledge
Evaluation items/progress
measures
• Child safety
• Permanency: subsequent removals and placement
• Family satisfaction and cooperation
• Family functioning and well-being, skills of individual
family members, financial well-being and social
support
• Services to families
• Worker satisfaction
• Judicial system: referrals to juvenile/family court,
reduction in court hearings, child removals, TPR
orders, etc.
• Cost savings/effectiveness
Potential Challenges
• Subsequent reports
• Family does not participate voluntarily
• Insufficiency of service resources
• Inadequate involvement of fathers and
other significant stakeholders
• Communication with/within
community service system
Prospective Benefits
• More children are better protected over time
by engaging more parents in the process of
making sustainable changes
• The rate of subsequent repeat reports to CPS
has been demonstrated to decrease
• Both families and agency child protection
workers are more satisfied with the
outcomes
• Involvement of larger systems of support
• The approach is cost neutral or saves money
over time
Lessons Learned
• There is intrinsic value of family voice -
as partners, guiding service planning
and decision making
• Community partnerships are most
effective ways to protect children
• There is a need to involve families and
community stakeholders early in
process
Lessons Learned
• Communication among/across
jurisdictions is essential - establish
vehicles for regular contact
• Assessment is ongoing and cumulative
as trust builds
• Evaluation matters - bring evaluators in
early and make the investment to do it
well
32
Washington, D.C.
Regional/ County Implementation
Planning/ Considering
Discontinued
Tribal
Screen Out Response
Statewide
Differential Response Implementation
Updated October 31. 2012
Service Types and Needs for
DRS families
• Concrete Services (clothing, food, utility
payment, housing, job training, transportation)
• Parenting Classes
• Domestic Violence services
• Mental Health services
• Substance Abuse treatment
• Counseling (adults and children)
• Home-based services
• Population-specific services (e.g. Spanish-
speaking clients, children with disabilities)
Differential Response
Research and Evaluation
EVALUATION FINDINGS
• Child Safety
– Child safety was not compromised under
differential response systems
– Safety was maintained even when
comparable families were randomly
assigned to tracks
– Increased services to families lowered
recurrence
EVALUATION FINDINGS
• Services to Families
– Services were provided more often to
children and families on the assessment
track
– The number of services received by
families on the assessment track was
greater than on the investigation track
– Services may be provided to families
earlier on the assessment track
– Greater use of community resources was
reported in pilot areas of at least 3 States
EVALUATION FINDINGS
• Family Satisfaction and Engagement
– Families reported satisfaction with the
differential response system in Missouri,
Minnesota, North Carolina and Virginia
– The family’s sense of participation in
decision making increased in several
States
– Workers reported families were more
cooperative and willing to accept services
EVALUATION FINDINGS
• Cost Effectiveness
– Differential response appears to be cost
effective over the long term. (Minnesota
study only)
EVALUATION FINDINGS
• CPS Staff Perspectives and Issues
– CPS staff like the differential response
approach
– Large caseloads and limited resources are
obstacles to differential response
effectiveness
– Training is needed to make
implementation successful
Reduction in Disproportionality
Hawaii results
0.0%
5.0%
10.0%
15.0%
20.0%
25.0%
30.0%
35.0%
40.0%
45.0%
50.0%
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
PercentofInvestigtions
Trends in Placements as a Percentage of
Investigations
White Removals
Native Hawaiian or Part
Hawaiian Removals
Questions?

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FF browser post 123

  • 1. DIFFERENTIAL RESPONSE National Overview Theresa Costello, MA Director National Resource Center for Child Protective Services (NRCCPS) April 17, 2013
  • 2. Defining Differential Response • CPS practice that allows for more than one method of initial response to reports of child abuse and neglect • Also called “dual track”, “multiple track”, or “alternative response”
  • 3. What differential response is NOT… • Differential response has not focused mainly on cases screened out as inappropriate for child protective services; rather it has focused on responding differentially to accepted reports of child maltreatment.
  • 4. History of Child Welfare and the Purpose of Differential Response
  • 5. Purposes of Differential Response and Child Protection  CPS was established to respond to all reports of suspected child maltreatment, but numbers overwhelm available resources  Systems either screen out or do not open for services more than half of reports, yet many children are vulnerable
  • 6. Purposes of Differential Response in Child Welfare  Traditional investigatory practice is often adversarial & alienates parents  DR is a way to respond to more reports (screened in) at an earlier stage by engaging families in a non- adversarial process of linking them to needed services
  • 7. Why Implement Differential Response? Recent Study on CP Investigations :  Do little to reduce risk  Do not result in long- term improvement in family functioning or child behavior  Are associated with increased depression among mothers “Child Protective Services Has Outlived Its Usefulness” Dr. Kristine Campbell, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah Published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Oct. 2010
  • 8. Why Implement Differential Response? “A lot of times the [family] situation calls for the formation of a healing relationship so the very act of going there in an investigatory mode impairs the ability [for workers] to form a meaningful relationship in which parents can be open, ask for and get help” ~Dr. Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph. D Senior Fellow Child Trauma Academy www.childtrauma.org
  • 9. Why Implement Differential Response? Increasingly, concerned citizens and organizations are realizing that the best way to prevent child abuse is to help parents develop the skills and identify the resources they need to understand and meet their children's needs and protect them from harm
  • 10. Why Implement Differential Response? According to National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts (2003), 20 states identified one of 3 purposes as reason for DR system:  child safety (55%)  family preservation or strengthening (45%)  prevention of CA/N (20%)
  • 11. Why Differential Response? • Driven by the desire to…. – Be more flexible in the response to child abuse and neglect reports – Recognize that an adversarial focus is neither needed nor helpful in all cases – Better understand the family issues that lie beneath maltreatment reports – Engage parents more effectively to use services that address their specific needs – Serve more families; majority of traditional investigations do not result in any services being provided
  • 12. Why Differential Response? • Driven by desire to… – Address family needs more quickly; most cases not driven by court intervention, so evidence collection is not necessary – Build family support systems; DRS is often accompanied by greater efforts to identify, build and coordinate formal and non- formal family supports
  • 13. Shared Principles of Traditional CPS and Differential Response • Focus on safety and well-being of the child • Promote permanency within the family whenever possible • Recognize the authority of CPS to make decisions about removal, out of home placement and court involvement, when necessary • Acknowledge that other community services may be more appropriate than CPS in some cases
  • 14. Principles and Assumptions of Differential Response  The circumstances and needs of families differ and so should the response  The majority of reports do not need an adversarial approach or court-ordered interventions  Absent an investigation:  child safety will not be jeopardized  services can be in place more quickly  families will be more motivated to use services
  • 15. Principles and Assumptions of Differential Response  Effective assessment tools can be put in place to assure safety and an informed response  Frontline staff in CPS and other agencies are trained in strength based and collaborative interventions  Only cases of greater severity need to be on state central registry  Cases are monitored sufficiently to change course/paths when situation requires
  • 16. Practice Framework and Assumptions  The primary goal of non investigative approach is child safety  Most families want to address threats to child safety  Most families can be partners in achieving child safety  Families are more than the presenting concerns  Family protective factors can assist in keeping children safe  Families are helped through connections with community services and resources
  • 18. Traditional Child Protection Practice Model Investigation model is rooted in the determination of whether:  A child has been harmed  A child is at risk of being harmed  An individual is culpable for this conduct. Report screened to determine appropriateness of child welfare agency intervention Investigation (Is this a Child in Need of Protective Services?) 1. Safety and Risk Assessments 2. Gathering of Evidence Disposition Re. Child in Need of Protective Services Unsubstantiated Substantiated Category IV Voluntary services recommended Category V No services are needed Category I Removal required Category II Court mandated services required Category III Services are needed
  • 19. Model for Differential Response Report screened to determine appropriateness of child welfare agency intervention Report is screened out. Referral for other community services may be made. Alternative Response Screening 1. Is there an administrative rule requiring that the report be investigated? 2. Are there other factors that would necessitate an investigation? Family Assessment 1. Safety and Risk Assessments 2. Complete assessment of family strengths, needs and resources. Investigation (Is this a Child in Need of Protective Services?) 1. Safety and Risk Assessments 2. Gathering of Evidence Assessment Outcome Disposition Re. Child in Need of Protective Services Family declines needed services Voluntary Services Recommended Services are Needed Agency assesses that services are needed to maintain child safely at home. Unsubstantiated Substantiated No Yes No Yes No Services No services needed Family and agency agree upon services Family declines services Family accepts needed services Category IV Voluntary services recommended Category V No services are needed Category I Removal required Category II Court mandated services required Category III Services are needed Differential Response System focusing on a child in need of protective services and support and engagement of the family.
  • 20. The Core Elements of Differential Response
  • 21. Core Elements of Differential Response 1. Use of two or more discrete responses to reports of maltreatment that are screened in and accepted 2. Assignment to response pathways determined by an array of factors 3. Original response assignments can be changed 4. Ability of families who receive a non-investigatory response to accept or refuse to participate in differential response or to choose the traditional investigatory response
  • 22. Core Elements of Differential Response 5. Establishment of discrete responses codified in statute, policy, protocols 6. After assessment, services are voluntary for families who receive a non- investigatory response (as long as child safety is not compromised) 7. No substantiation of alleged maltreatment and services are offered without formal determination that child maltreatment has occurred 8. Use of central registry is dependent upon type of response
  • 23. Pathways in the Differential Response Continuum • There are at least two categories of response ( SC 3) – Investigation: reports that are immediately recognized as presenting serious safety issues for children/placement more likely/may be criminal charges – Assessment: reports that indicate the child may be in need of protection and the family requires services to better address child and family safety and well being.
  • 24. Factors Determining Response • Statutory limitations • Severity of the allegation • History of past reports • Ability to assure the safety of the child (if safety threats at intake not assigned to assessment) • Willingness and capacity of the parents to participate in services
  • 25. Assessment is the Key • Assessment must be comprehensive- more than simply a risk and safety assessment-understanding underlying family conditions • Must also identify protective factors in family and larger social context that could be mobilized to strengthen family
  • 26. Family Engagement • Family members have significant expertise and whenever possible it is important to engage them in identifying issues and to honor family choices when they do not jeopardize safety • Seek collaboration with family and their formal and informal support system • Whenever possible, eliminate practices that produce resistance such as drop in visits, joint visits with law enforcement, and interviewing child without parental knowledge
  • 27. Evaluation items/progress measures • Child safety • Permanency: subsequent removals and placement • Family satisfaction and cooperation • Family functioning and well-being, skills of individual family members, financial well-being and social support • Services to families • Worker satisfaction • Judicial system: referrals to juvenile/family court, reduction in court hearings, child removals, TPR orders, etc. • Cost savings/effectiveness
  • 28. Potential Challenges • Subsequent reports • Family does not participate voluntarily • Insufficiency of service resources • Inadequate involvement of fathers and other significant stakeholders • Communication with/within community service system
  • 29. Prospective Benefits • More children are better protected over time by engaging more parents in the process of making sustainable changes • The rate of subsequent repeat reports to CPS has been demonstrated to decrease • Both families and agency child protection workers are more satisfied with the outcomes • Involvement of larger systems of support • The approach is cost neutral or saves money over time
  • 30. Lessons Learned • There is intrinsic value of family voice - as partners, guiding service planning and decision making • Community partnerships are most effective ways to protect children • There is a need to involve families and community stakeholders early in process
  • 31. Lessons Learned • Communication among/across jurisdictions is essential - establish vehicles for regular contact • Assessment is ongoing and cumulative as trust builds • Evaluation matters - bring evaluators in early and make the investment to do it well
  • 32. 32 Washington, D.C. Regional/ County Implementation Planning/ Considering Discontinued Tribal Screen Out Response Statewide Differential Response Implementation Updated October 31. 2012
  • 33. Service Types and Needs for DRS families • Concrete Services (clothing, food, utility payment, housing, job training, transportation) • Parenting Classes • Domestic Violence services • Mental Health services • Substance Abuse treatment • Counseling (adults and children) • Home-based services • Population-specific services (e.g. Spanish- speaking clients, children with disabilities)
  • 35. EVALUATION FINDINGS • Child Safety – Child safety was not compromised under differential response systems – Safety was maintained even when comparable families were randomly assigned to tracks – Increased services to families lowered recurrence
  • 36. EVALUATION FINDINGS • Services to Families – Services were provided more often to children and families on the assessment track – The number of services received by families on the assessment track was greater than on the investigation track – Services may be provided to families earlier on the assessment track – Greater use of community resources was reported in pilot areas of at least 3 States
  • 37. EVALUATION FINDINGS • Family Satisfaction and Engagement – Families reported satisfaction with the differential response system in Missouri, Minnesota, North Carolina and Virginia – The family’s sense of participation in decision making increased in several States – Workers reported families were more cooperative and willing to accept services
  • 38. EVALUATION FINDINGS • Cost Effectiveness – Differential response appears to be cost effective over the long term. (Minnesota study only)
  • 39. EVALUATION FINDINGS • CPS Staff Perspectives and Issues – CPS staff like the differential response approach – Large caseloads and limited resources are obstacles to differential response effectiveness – Training is needed to make implementation successful
  • 41. 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 35.0% 40.0% 45.0% 50.0% 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 PercentofInvestigtions Trends in Placements as a Percentage of Investigations White Removals Native Hawaiian or Part Hawaiian Removals

Editor's Notes

  1. Many parents, reporters, and social workers become frustrated with the limited responses available to children and familiesThe CPS “investigation” is perceived as overly accusatory and adversarial as an initial response for many reportsFocus on substantiation and identifying a perpetrator does not contribute to a family’s readiness to engage in servicesThe majority of investigations do not result in any services being providedSince overwhelming majority of cases are not served through court orders, evidence collection is not always needed
  2. Differential Response allows system to move more quickly to address safety needsDifferential response can support families by applying available resources to services rather than investigationsDifferential response is often accompanied by greater efforts to identify, build, and coordinate formal and non-formal services and supportsChildren are safer sooner