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Child Protective Services: A Guide for Caseworkers. 2003
Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children's Bureau. DePanfilis, D., Salus, M. K.|
|Year Published: 2003|
Chapter One: Purpose and Overview
Child protective services (CPS), a division within State and local social services, is at the center of every community's child protection efforts. In most jurisdictions, CPS is the agency mandated by law to conduct an initial assessment or investigation of reports of child abuse and neglect. It also offers services to families and children where maltreatment has occurred or is likely to occur.
CPS does not work alone. Many community professionals—including law enforcement officers, health care providers, mental health professionals, educators, legal and court system personnel, and substitute care providers—are involved in efforts to prevent, identify, investigate, and treat child abuse and neglect. In addition, community-based and faith-based organizations, substance abuse treatment facilities, advocates for victims of domestic violence, extended family members, and concerned citizens, among others, also play important roles in supporting families and keeping children safe from harm. Typically, CPS is the lead agency in coordinating the efforts of the various disciplines working to protect children and to educate the community about the problems of child abuse and neglect.
This manual, Child Protective Services: A Guide for Caseworkers, provides the fundamental information that CPS professionals must know to perform essential casework functions. The manual describes:
- The philosophical basis on which CPS is founded;
- The responsibilities of CPS and its roles and relationships with other community agencies and professionals;
- The nature of the "helping relationship" and use of authority in working with children and families;
- The purposes, key decisions, and practice issues for the following stages of the CPS process:
- The effective documentation of actions in case records and information systems;
- The strategies for casework supervision, training, consultation, and support.
Appendices to this manual include a glossary, sample casework tools, and references to additional publications and organizations with information on child protection.
Child abuse and neglect is a complex problem, and child protection is a challenging responsibility. No single publication can provide all the information needed to promote effective CPS practice, explore all of the relevant issues, or reflect the multitude of policy and practice variations in place across the country. This manual, however, provides a starting point and a solid foundation for casework practice that should be augmented through training, other professional development activities, and experience.
CPS workers are encouraged to read A Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect: The Foundation for Practice. That manual, the first in the series, answers the following 10 questions:
- What are the philosophical tenets of child protection?
- What is child maltreatment?
- What is the scope of the problem?
- What factors contribute to abuse and neglect?
- What are the consequences of abuse and neglect?
- What can be done to prevent abuse and neglect?
- Which laws and policies guide public intervention in child maltreatment?
- What does the child protection process look like?
- Who should be involved in child protection at the community level?
- How can organizations work together to protect children?
This manual, the second in the series, recapitulates some of the most important points of the first manual.
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.