Risky Child Protection Practices Persist
State law changed in 2015 to make child safety the primary purpose of child protection, not family preservation. The Governor's Child Protection Task Force reinforced this with several recommended practice changes including:
Making the first child protection visit unannounced instead of scheduling it in advance
No longer conducting initial interviews of children in the presence of their alleged abusers
Training workers to do fact-finding
However counties and the state Department of Human Services have largely rejected this guidance.
As a result, adults continue to have opportunities to coach and intimidate children before a child protection worker can talk with them. Combined with the lack of training, this leaves workers ill-equipped to get information needed to ensure child safety.
Additional legislation may be needed to require rather than recommend these changes.