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State report: County child protective services improved

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services has realized a significant improvement since 2008, according to a report issued by the Syracuse Regional Office of the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.

The last review performed in Oswego County was in 2008. A total of 38 cases were chosen randomly and reviewed.

“Oswego County Child Protective Services Caseworkers responded immediately and gathered sufficient information to assess safety within 24 hours in 97 percent of the cases reviewed,” the report states. “Sufficient information was gathered to assess safety within 7 days in 97 percent of the cases reviewed, and sufficient information was gathered to assess safety at determination in 95 percent of the cases reviewed.

“Caseworkers also made home visits in each case reviewed and often home visits were made to several different locations, including the homes of the noncustodial parents, in order to assess safety of children in various households,” it continued. “Caseworkers made diligent efforts to speak with all noncustodial parents, often face to face. Additionally, caseworkers conducted and documented thorough interviews with children, including efforts to engage and interview very young children.”

Caseworker interviews included detailed documentation of the child’s appearance, hygiene, and affect. The report concluded that sufficient information was gathered to determine all the allegations in 100 percent of the cases reviewed.

“Caseworkers fully explored alleged injuries to children and all appropriate collateral contacts were made in 89 percent of the cases reviewed,” the report states.

“Lastly, staff appropriately assessed the need for services in 89 percent of the cases reviewed and often appropriately referred to community based services to help families meet their needs. It was also noted that documentation throughout the case was thorough, detailed, and included institutional or historical information the district had regarding the family.”

The report noted that the most notable strength of Oswego County Child Protective Services was the significant improvement in case  practice since the 2008 review.

In 2008, caseworkers were  gathering sufficient information to assess safety within 24 hours in 50 percent of the cases reviewed, as compared to the 2012 review of 97 percent.

In 2008, caseworkers made all appropriate collateral contacts in 33 percent of the cases reviewed, compared to 89 percent in the 2012 review.

Casework activity was commensurate with case circumstances in 23 percent of the cases reviewed in 2008, compared to 95 percent in the 2012 review.

Recommended and/or required actions were made in the report.

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