If you follow our blog (or read the news) then you know that CPS is in trouble. A recent audit revealed that mismanagement, errors and poor case outcomes are not occasional issues, but daily norms at CPS. Hundreds of investigations not handled. Thousands of children left in seriously abusive situations, or pulled from loving families where there was insufficient evidence to support claims of abuse. All in all, it’s a mess. So what are they going to do to fix it?
The agency says they’ve already begun work on fixing issues.
At a recent House Oversight Committee Hearing, Stacie Bladen, deputy director of field operations for MDHHS Children’s Services Agency, explained the agency’s plans moving forward. Here’s a basic breakdown of what CPS is claiming they plan to implement (or already have started implementing) to help the agency achieve more favorable outcomes for Michigan’s kids in future.
Changes at CPS include:
- A computer-based checklist is being developed for workers to track the progress of their cases. The checklist will also help ensure that workers follow protocol and document their cases properly. Supervisors will also be able to access a worker’s checklist and keep tabs on what they’re doing.
- The agency plans to review all of the assessments that were incorrectly done before, fixing errors that resulted in people incorrectly being put on the central registry of identified child abusers in Michigan.
- With regard to cases that were closed prematurely because agency workers believed they weren’t allowed to request extensions beyond 30 day deadlines. The agency aims to make sure that all workers know that extensions are available.
- The agency also says they recognize that there are issues within their office that could be solved, if only they knew what the problems were sooner. Conducting exit interviews with outgoing staff will help them identify problems that need to be addressed.
- Another factor the agency says is a contributing issue is worker stress. They plan to launch an initiative to help CPS workers manage their stress.
- The agency also plans to work on the central registry, updating it, and making sure that protocol sare followed when adding names to the registry.
- Also, in future the agency plans to require that two separate supervisors approve a request to close an investigation early, just to ensure that few cases slip through the cracks.
- New trainings will be created for future CPS workers, to ensure that they are doing what needs to be done, right from the start, and don’t start out with poor training or bad work habits.
- The agency also plans to develop a new quality improvement program that targets issues that were identified in the audit.
Will these changes make a difference at CPS?
In truth, only time will tell. The agency has come under fire before this, and promised changes haven’t made much difference. So we have no way of knowing whether or not these changes will make the agency more successful in the future. What we do know is that one issue they failed to address in their checklist that we believe needs to be addressed is attitude – treating a parent as if they’re guilty before you have any evidence to support that theory isn’t legal, and isn’t acceptable.
Families should be protected, and children need their parents!
So until CPS workers start working with families and not against them, we will keep on fighting to protect parents who have been falsely accused or misunderstood by CPS. If you or a loved one have been accused of child abuse or neglect by CPS, call the skilled CPS defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. WE’re here to help you!