Are Child Welfare Reforms Actually Happening?
In 2015 the Governor's Child Protection Task Force recommended reforms in three areas:
- Structural improvements such as developing a Child Protection Training Academy
- Practice changes, e.g. requiring agreement from the County Attorney before workers can close cases where parents are uncooperative
- Transparency/Accountability reports, including how many times individual children are reported
We know that counties rejected some changes, notably to stop interviewing children in front of their alleged abusers.
More positively, screened-in maltreatment reports increased 25%. This suggests that counties are heeding the new statutory requirement to follow state screening standards.
Two years later however, little information is available about the status of most Task Force recommendations.
To remedy this, the Department of Human Services should issue a report describing their current efforts and future plans for implementing these reforms.