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Safe Children – Strong, Supported Families: Differential Response

DHS Child Welfare: FAQ of the week4/16/2014

​From: DHS Child Welfare Director Lois Ann Day

To: All DHS Child Welfare Staff & Oregon Stakeholders
Question: Can't we get a “decision tree” or a “flow chart” to show us how the alternative response track works and how it’s different from our traditional CPS response? I think it would help us better understand how the new alternative response is supposed to work if we could walk through the process.
Answer: I couldn’t agree more. I am a very visual person, and every time I talk to others about DR, I look for the white board!  We have been working on a decision tree model for months. Today I can say they are ready. One shows the decision flow for the Traditional Response Track, and the other shows the decision flow for the Alternative Response Track.
Please print these out and share with your co-workers.
Remember, both tracks start with a screened in report of abuse or neglect, categories that are defined by statute. Once the decision is made that DHS will respond to an allegation of abuse or neglect, screeners will determine the type of response, either alternative or traditional. This is an additional step to our existing process and is guided by the Track Assignment Tool we covered last week. Our DR training will cover this information in depth, but these flow charts give everyone a chance to visualize the concrete process for each kind of response.
I encourage everyone to use these charts in unit, branch and community meetings as a way to talk about the three essential parts of our initiative and to walk through the decisions that need to be made:
  1. Fidelity of our practice to the Oregon Safety Model;
  2. Contracting with Strengthening, Preserving and Reunifying Families support services; and
  3. Implementation of Oregon’s DR model with both Alternative and Traditional tracks.
Just as every family is unique, the department's approach needs to be flexible enough to serve the family’s needs. Families can more successfully resolve issues when they take an active role in crafting the solution and where they have the opportunity to partner with child welfare and their community in the identification of services and supports needed.
I think we have created a strong, flexible model that will allow us to better protect children and better serve families. We are rapidly moving to the beginning of our staged implementation in Lane, Klamath and Lake Counties, and all the work and planning we’ve done is beginning to come together to create Safe Children -- Strong, Supported Families.
Take care,
~ Lois
DHS Child Welfare: DR Bulletin4/11/2014

From: DHS Child Welfare Director Lois Ann Day

To: All DHS Child Welfare Staff & Oregon Stakeholders

Screening and Track Assignment Tool

Here is another installment in the Differential Response Bulletin. Every other week, I’ll provide the latest, up-to-date information on topics related to Oregon’s planning and implementation of Differential Response.
Today I want to talk about one of the most critical parts of our implementation of Differential Response: Screening of reports of abuse and neglect to ensure families are referred to the correct track. Of course, screening is always critical in child welfare cases. It is the first stage of the department’s safety intervention model, and is the point where we receive initial reports of alleged child abuse and neglect. Our work begins with the screening process.
Differential Response allows for a different approach on screened in reports of abuse or neglect, which are defined by statute. Once the decision is made that DHS must respond to an allegation of abuse or neglect, screeners will determine the type of response, either alternative or traditional. This is an additional step to our existing process which is guided by a "track assignment tool" developed by the Screening and Eligibility Subcommittee (listed below).
The purpose of the tool is to clearly differentiate between families needing a traditional response (generally those with more severe reports of abuse or neglect, as guided by the tool) and families who could benefit from an alternative response, those with less severe reports of abuse or neglect.
It’s an important decision that will impact children, families and workers, so we need to make sure the initial assignment is as accurate as it can be. We’ve been working on the Track Assignment Tool for over a year, and we looked at several other DR states’ tools to help inform us. The track assignment tool was tested by 13 out of the 16 districts. From that test period, we gathered in our development extensive information and feedback, made changes to the track assignment tool, and then retested it in the implementation districts. A few more changes were made as a result.
The Track Assignment Tool is now complete, and information gathered during the testing phase is being included in the screening curriculum for training screening staff in the DR implementing counties (Lake, Klamath and Lane).
Solid screening and track assignment decisions are the beginning of our involvement with families and it is important we be consistent and accurate with our practices.  I want to thank the members of the Screening & Eligibility Subcommittee for their work.
Take care.
~ Lois
Screening & Eligibility Subcommittee:
Deena Loughary – Chair;
Karen Gibbs; Miriam Green;
Angela Ward; Heather Higgs;
Sonya Faulkner; Amanda Fromdahl;
Abigail Carroll; Kirby Crawford
Oregon Child Wefare: FAQ of the Week4/2/2014

​To: All DHS Child Welfare Staff & Oregon Stakeholders

From: DHS Child Welfare Director Lois Ann Day​
Question: What are the roles of a Provider and Child Welfare Worker for both the alternative and traditional tracks under Differential Response?
Answer: The Provider and Child Welfare Roles Subcommittee recently completed their work. The group, made up of Community Partners, Child Welfare and Self-Sufficiency staff developed clear definitions of roles and expectations of Provider and Child Welfare staff under Differential Response (DR). The final plan nicely outlines the interaction between workers, partners and families. I have attached the step-by-step guide created by the subcommittee for your convenience.
It is important to note again that collaboration is at the center of our work in Child Welfare. Together we will develop supportive relationships with each other and the families we are serving. To facilitate this, training will be provided to child welfare staff and providers to help foster common understanding of our roles in this work.
The goal of DR is to insure child safety and maintain children at home whenever possible. Creating connections for families in the community is an important component of this effort. The parent voice is also a critical element of keeping children safe.  Our ability to collaborate with families in creating and maintaining safety of their children is directly related to our collective success. To accomplish this, we identify the parent as the expert of the family and work closely with them to make decisions. The role of the CPS worker and Provider is to facilitate collaboration and be the partner the family needs to achieve child safety and community connection.
The CPS worker’s primary role is to ensure child safety by completing a comprehensive safety assessment, and to identify the presence or absence of moderate to high needs in the family. As laid out in the guide the subcommittee created, the worker will engage in several activities to make this determination.
The role of the provider is to assist in identifying service needs the family has and to then assist them in accessing services in the community. The provider will also be responsible for completing the strengths and needs assessment on those families identified as having moderate to high needs with safe children. Several provider specific activities are included in the summary document the subcommittee created to fulfill this role.
With a little over a month until families begin being served through the differentiated system in Klamath, Lake and Lane Counties, I understand the healthy anxiety being felt in the field regarding DR and your roles and responsibilities. We will continue to provide you with the information you need to be successful in this very important work. Please continue to read our weekly messages and stay tuned for training announcements.
On a different but very important topic, we have posted the Differential Response rule changes and they are open for comment.  Please take a moment to look at these.  We need your comments and observations.
As always, please send me your questions and thoughts as we move through this system change.  I look forward to hearing from you.
Take care,
Provider and Child Welfare Roles Subcommittee:
Ashley Woodcock, Community Provider
Ruth Taylor, Community Provider
Paula Warr, Child Protective Services Supervisor
Chris Phillips, DHS, Child Welfare Program
Lawrence Piper, DHS, Self-sufficiency Programs
Leslie Johnson, Resource Development manager
Larry Merritt, Human Resources
Jeremy Player, District 11 Manager
Phillip Blea, Community Provider
Dana Torrey, DR/Child Safety Consultant
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