Child Protective Services Report





Child Protective Services Report

I was privileged to have gotten an opportunity to work for the Department of Child Protective Services. I have had passion to try and ensure that children stay in loving homes where they are accorded the love that they need. Since time immemorial, there have often been cases of child abuse but unlike in the past when they could not be protected, things are now a little bit different. Child protective services is among the agency that have been created. With child abuse cases became rife in America, the government found the need to protect the children from cases of abuse and neglect. the system is quite complex and it varies from state to state. Child services collaborates with other entities such as; community based organisations and private child welfare agencies. Whereby they are able to accord services such as; parenting skill classes, rehabilitation, foster care, domestic violence, housing and employment assistance. This report generally looks at my experience at the Child Protective services including the skills that I did pick up there.

The first thing that I learnt was that Children Protective Agency is generally responsible for the general social welfare of the children. There was a team that were required to follow up on cases of children abuse that were reported. Social welfare services were mandated to remove neglected and abused children from their guardians and the streets. These children were later on placed with other families and orphanages. Child Protective Services normally, receives and investigates reports of possible child neglect and abuse. It also provides services for affected families, who are in need for protection and care for their children. Child services is also tasked with arranging for living arrangements with, foster families or next of kin. Child protection services also provides arrangement for adoption, permanent family relations for kids living foster care and adoption. As mentioned above the welfare services is tasked with various duties. In case of possible child abuse or neglect, the concerned individual can issue a report. CPS case workers receive the reports and they are screened in or out. Screening in happens when there is sufficient evidence of child abuse or neglect, therefore warranting an investigation. Screening out is undertaken if the evidence presented does not meet a states legal definition of child abuse or neglect. In such instance the social worker can refer to the person who initially reported the case or the community for assistance. After screening case workers respond, however the response time varies and is dependent on the type of alleged maltreatment. Case workers may interrogate the people in contact with the child, they can also speak with the child solely or with a caregiver present this is dependent on the child’s age. Given the amount of risk a child who is believed to be in immediate danger can be moved to safer accommodations. In some states if the risk is considered low CPS case workers focus on identifying support and services that the family will need, rather than collecting evidence for conviction.

Another role that the Child protective services are tasked with is that they ensure that guardians who are found guilty of child abuse and neglect are offered support by; ensuring they undergo treatment services and ensure that they also undergo services mandated by juvenile courts. In low risk cases caregivers are provide with in-home services and support; child care, parent education, counselling and so on. However, in high risk cases, police are called upon to investigate and may file charges in a court of law. Perpetrators of child abuse are placed on a state maltreatment registry, when there is confirmation of child abuse, these registries are confidential. However, for professions that involves working with children, the registry can be used to perform background checks. CPS workers are mandated to follow standard procedures when responding to cases of child maltreatment. CPS workers are guide by basic philosophical tenets; a permanent home is the safest place for a child to grow. CPS case worker’s efforts are more effective if the affected party is involved.During my internship I was also able to learn of the connection between child protective services and the foster care system. Foster care is whereby a child is placed with another family for a while and this family or the caregiver needs to be approved by the government. Placement of children is done by the government and is arranged by social services agency, parents or caregivers that are selected are then compensated for expenses. The parent although is the primary caregiver meaning they offer day-to-day care to the family, the state through the court as well as chill protective agency act as “in loco parentis” meaning they get to make the major decisions that may affect the child. For child protective services, I was able to find out how they liaise with the foster care system to ensure children who are placed in the system are treated well. The foster care system is one institution that is often viewed in bad eye. This is because most people are often aware of the mistreatment that children in the foster care go through including the physical abuse, emotional, sexual abuse. Child Protective Services is tasked with ensuring that the children in these homes get out and are taken to homes where they are loved and given the care that they deserve.

While at the internship, there were cases that I really got to study. One was the Gabriel Fernandez case. Gabriel Fernandez case is among the most looked at case and how Child Protective Services failed the boy. Typically, Child Protective Services are often tasked with following up cases that may involve a child being harmed this may include calls from the school teacher or the neighbors. When such distress calls come in, the social workers are often dispatched so that they can go and interview the child or siblings and remove the children from the said home. Gabriel’s teacher had tried making several calls explaining that the boy was being hurt but nothing seemed to have taken place. Gabriel’s case was not the only case that may have such issues, there are a few other cases where children who were harmed had tried seeking for help from Child Protection Services but it seems they were never able to get this help. One key issue that I related as to why such cases happened was because of the many cases that are reported but the officers are not as many. The Department of Child Protective Services often mandates that all accidents that affect dependent of children be reported. For most caseworkers, they try looking into cases of children who cannot have access to the outside world as they are more vulnerable to abuse. Children who are of school going age, most social workers often believe or at least have faith that the teachers or the neighbors may be able to notice the abuse and report it. With most CPS being understaffed, at times a caseworker may lose track of a certain child. For Gabriel’s case, it was quite unfortunate because even the software used to calculate a child’s likelihood of abuse had proved that Gabriel was likely to be abused yet no steps were taken. Encountering such cases made me scared if ever I will ever be in such a position. I was however encouraged with steps CPS were taking in trying to ensure caseworkers were not overloaded with work and thus such cases are not as common as the past.

A child’s behavior and their upbringing was also a lesson that I learnt and was able to experience firsthand. Children from foster care or those who have undergone abuse are likely to portray delinquency because of what they have gone through especially those that have been abused. Lack of a permanent home can be frustrating for a child as they need stability in their life. Abuse that the child experience, lack of affection and love as well as multiple moves create impetus for delinquency. Some children get into drugs as a way to cope with what they are feeling including use of alcohol, cocaine, heroin among other drugs. Some of the foster youth may also get easily recruited into gangs as they may find a sense of belonging from these gangs. Due to violence inflicted on them, they too may tend to be violent or even bullies in school as measure to try and protect themselves. There have been organizations that have come up to try and help foster care children that have been through abuse by providing counselling and support in order to help them not to get into juvenile delinquency or the life of crime.

The child protective services just like any other entity is faced with its own share of challenges. The institution is faced with an increase in caseloads and intricate social problems, this is all summed up by the agency not being able to maintain a skilled workforce. Cases of absence of good record keeping, hindrance the maintenance of useful case data. Service delivery is also hindered due to the stigma associated with child abuse. Difference in beliefs and necessary approach to be taken by both service providers and family, proves to be a challenge. However, CPS workers are tasked with ensuring the safety of children. The main aim being finding safe permanent residence for affected children. It is key to note that CPS job can be quite stressful and there are high chances of burn out, however it is quite rewarding.

The experience was generally a good experience. I worked under people who had the passion and the zeal that would ensure that the children get the best care from the homes that they leave in. Although I had learnt a few things theoretically such as challenges faced by children and importance of CPS in protecting them, challenges in foster care, and challenges in CPS, getting to experience them first hand and coming up with solutions was an amazing experience. By the end of the internship I had acquired problem solving, critical thinking, team work and leadership skills all which I know will be vital as I embark on my career.