The Division of Children and Family
Services: Vision and Direction
Patricia L. Rideout JD, Administrator
May 14, 2013
 The purpose of the Cuyahoga County
Division of Children and Family Services is
to assure that children at risk of abuse or
neglect are protected and nurtured within
a family and with the support of the
Family to Family Core Principles
 A child’s safety is paramount
 Children belong in families
 Families need strong communities
 Public child welfare systems need partnerships
with the community and with other systems to
achieve strong outcomes for children
Vision of CCDCFS
We will improve the lives of
children as a result of our
attention, care and support.
What we do…
 Receive and investigate referrals of abuse/neglect
 23,539 calls , 15,578 calls screened in for investigation (2012)
 Provide ongoing services to strengthen families – while
children are at home (75%) or in care (25%)
 Current caseloads: Ave. # of new investigations per month=
13.5, Ave. Ongoing caseload= 15.1
 Provide adoption services if children can’t be reunified or
placed in alternative permanent family settings
 155 Adoptive placements and 137 Adoption Finalizations
 Provide independent living preparation
 465 youth served, 15 youth aged out per mo.(2012)
Workflow Diagram
Who we are…DCFS organization
DCFS Strategic Planning Process
 Our last agency plan was in 2009
 While waiting to secure a consultant, engaged in
“Early Strategic Planning”
Now developing a formal 3 year plan with the help of
JRS Associates
Plan to finalize this summer
Plan will reflect our continuing commitment to a
practice model based on Family to Family
Today’s presentation: an informal report on
recent/current efforts
An Overview of Our Vision, Based
on Cornerstones of Our Work
Well being
For each of 3 cornerstones…
What are some of the key
What are some of the strategic
initiatives we’re doing/planning
1. Safety
 Key Indicators include:
◦ Repeat referrals, repeat substantiations, re-
opening of cases, re-entries into care
◦ Incidents while children in care
◦ High level goals: increase quality of
investigations and Team Decisionmaking
1. Safety: Strategic Initiatives
 Investigations backlog cleanup: over 94% (1,068) of
overdue investigations were cleaned up between Oct. 2011April 2012
Investigative Consultants (retired detectives)
ECMH Coordinator onsite
Improved Team Decision Making model fidelity: eg Family
Facilitator approach
Supported Visits Initiative
Trauma Focused Interventions (Defending Childhood)
Child Advocacy Center
Enhancement of Support Services unit
◦ New clinical consultation arm
 Crisis intervention for parent-teen conflict:
 Assessment pilot
 Plans for use of Applewood Academy for Youth
 Continued discussions w/ Court, ADAMHS, DD re: more
effective response than Intent to Grant process
 Creation of Multi System Youth unit within Case Review
 Supported Visits initiative: to ensure quality parent
education in context of better parent-child visits
 Revision of Minor Parents protocols
 Human Trafficking: enhanced screening protocols and
staff training
2. Permanency
 Key indicators include:
 Length of stay in out of home care/time to reunification,
adoption or guardianship
 Stable reunification
 Permanent family connections for youth who ‘age out’
without reunification/other family
Permanency: Strategic Initiatives
 Family Tree Initiative to ensure early ID
 Family Search and Engagement: enhancing our own
staff skills; Family Finding via TVN; Accurint software
 Child Centered Recruitment: enhancing our own staff
skills; 5 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters
 Deep analysis of cases of our longest stayers
 Visits project: to ensure every child in care has at
least a weekly visit w/ parents and siblings
 Partners for Forever Families (PFFF): federal “diligent
recruitment” grant with many strategies, including
Karamu play and Ambassador Program
 Residential Reviews process
 Development of clinical consultation arm in our
Support Services area
3. Well-Being
 Newest focus and least defined/mandated/regulated
 Ensuring safety and achieving permanency are
necessary but not sufficient to well- being
 Research: Adverse effects of maltreatment are
concentrated in behavioral, social, and emotional
 Negative impacts across lifespan
 Direct tie to current efforts to make all our work
Recommended federal strategies
 Re-think our most commonly provided services:
counseling, parenting classes, and life skills training
 Use functional assessment: assess multiple aspects of
child’s social-emotional functioning, using
developmentally appropriate tools, including trauma
 Better use available assessment tools for parents too
Federal recs, cont’d.
 Develop capacity to integrate new research,
implement new practices without compromising
ongoing efforts
 Use interventions that are known to be effective or
have promising results (TFCBT, MST, PCIT—all
available here)
 De-scale programs that aren’t showing results; shift
resources to proven or promising practices
 Workforce development, training for partners outside
child welfare; engage judiciary and courts
Well-being, continued
 Key indicators based on well-being framework:
1. Cognitive functioning: eg school success, employment
2. Physical health
3. Behavioral/emotional functioning: mental health
issues, reliance on psychotropic meds
4. Social functioning: healthy relationships, IL skills
Well-being: Strategic Initiatives
 Outcome Referrals initiative: to assess impact of out
of home care and lead to outcome-focused
contracting for board and care; pilot underway
 Development of automated placement matching and
monitoring system to ensure better fit for each child
(RFP underway)
 Establishment of DCFS Resource Specialists in 31
different specialty areas
Older Youth programming
◦ Monthly director’s meeting: establishment of agency youth
coordination council; external assessment of older youth
programming by NRCYD, summer 2013
TAG (Teen Advocate Group)
Independent Living life skills education
Connecting the Dots partnership with Workforce Investment Act
(WIA), including summer employment program, and Big Brothers
Big Sisters volunteer mentor program with a goal of 125
youth/mentor matches over the next 3 years
Family search and engagement strategies to assure permanent
family connections
Mentoring- 28 youth are currently matched with a Permanency
Champion through Adoption Network Cleveland
Well-being initiatives, cont’d.
 Juvenile Court collaboration efforts:
 Crossover Youth Initiative
 Continued discussions of mandated custody cases
 Health care for foster children:
 In place soon:
Health Care Coordinator
Contract for 2d opinions on psychotropic meds
Care coordination partnership w/ Metro Health
 Staff re-education on chronic child health issues such as
asthma and diabetes
Well-being initiatives, cont’d.
 Improved services and supports:
 Differential Response: target October 2014
 Overhaul of our Semi Annual Review process
 Continuing p’ship with ADAHMHS Board, including
clinicians at TDM meetings
Well-being initiatives, cont’d.
 Educational improvements
Strengthening partnerships w/ CMSD and inner ring
Much more to do here
 Homelessness prevention:
 Partnership with IIC/others on NEST vision, to
support child welfare families at risk of or
experiencing homelessness
 Older youth: discussions with Jim Casey Youth
Opportunities Initiative
Well-being initiatives, cont’d.
 Race equity: disproportionality in
placement and outcomes; links to poverty
◦ Consultant guiding revival of agency work
group, to engage community next
◦ Presentations on NIS-R research and
other developments in this area, last fall,
in p’ship w/ CWRU
Workplace Culture
 We must ensure an environment that
supports staff and motivates them to
engage in initiatives
 Doing more with less despite challenges:
 less staff/workload impacts (loss of
transportation unit, START Advocates, etc)
 no pay increases for NBU
Putting Tools in Staff’s Hands
 New worker classes, have filled 92 vacancies since May
2012, 12 in class now; plans to conduct quarterly
hiring/training of SWs
 Performance Management Unit
◦ Leadership around self evaluation, quality
improvement, County- and AgencyStat
 New clinical consultation arm of Support Services
 Technology
◦ New phones, blackberries, tablets, Accurint
Tools for Staff, cont’d.
 Functional Workload Analysis: partnership w/ FCCS
and PCSAO to establish workload recs; early results
any day
 Strategic Planning with broad staff input
 New transportation unit to serve county foster and kin
homes and ensure weekly visits
 Increased Visits Initiative: weekly visit expectations of
network providers via board and care contracts
More tools for staff
 External partnerships and efforts
◦ 14 Community Collaboratives
◦ Improved public system relationships
◦ Universities and Foundations (eg Schubert Center cosponsorships; Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family
Programs, local foundations)
◦ Positive Media: Channel 5/Danita Harris and Wednesday’s
Child series; Plain Dealer series
◦ Board and Care provider partners: engagement around issues
of importance to staff, eg increased and higher quality visits,
improved clinical interventions, trauma informed care
Staff Workgroups
◦ On nagging issues…
◦ Agency forms
◦ SACWIS data requirements
◦ Release of records
◦ Multi System Kids
◦ Learning from successful workers’ strategies
◦ Keeping Siblings Connected
On continuous agency improvement areas…
 Wellness Committee
 Race Equity
 Fatherhood Initiative
 Etc.
…and a few more tools
 Foundation Support:
◦ Casey Family Programs and Annie E. Casey: technical
assistance via consultation, training
◦ Local foundations: pending grants to support many
 Team Decisionmaking Fidelity Project: AECF selection of
DCFS to support its evidence-based initiative
 Responsive training: data entry, family search &
engagement, TDM track
 Monthly e-newsletter, director forums, etc.
 New Communications Specialist Donisha Greene
Many Challenges Remain…
 A few examples:
◦ In-home services cases (case plans, contacts, monitoring)
◦ Communication
◦ Moving support services contracts to outcome focus
◦ Youth transitions
◦ County FHs: day care and respite support for employed
parents, leadership development for FP Association
◦ OCWTP: E-Track, ITNA
◦ SACWIS data entry and report reliability
◦ Career Ladder/leadership development for staff: creation of a
“passionate work culture”
◦ START rebuilding
A Bright Future

Patricia Rideout Presentation (May 2013)