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Child protective services: Situations reported and system response [microform]
Bib ID 3283734
Format MicroformMicroform, BookBook
Lawrence Karski, Ruth Margaret
Description 316 p. 
ISBN 0591527545

The study examines child maltreatment reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) and agency response in one large urban California county. Data consist of worker interviews and case file review of three case-sets (n = 566 cases): cases screened out at intake, cases investigated and closed, and cases referred to the court unit. The child maltreatment reported occurred in the context of social problems (such as drug abuse and housing problems), and the majority of families were in poverty with African American children overrepresented according to their proportion in the county population. Workers respond to reports within the context of a street-level bureaucracy which mandates the use of a risk assessment tool to prioritize cases. Tensions exist among a case processing orientation, the caseworker's professional orientation, and a legal orientation arising from the unit's court referral function.

Different types of abuse receive differential treatment with cases of sexual abuse prioritized. For physical abuse and neglect cases, the likelihood of investigation increases with direct evidence in the report, and receipt of Aid for Families with Dependent Children (only for younger children in cases of physical abuse). Additionally, the odds of investigating a physical abuse report increase for younger children when an injury is alleged; for neglect reports the odds increase when there are prior investigated reports and there is not a custody dispute. Three factors increase the likelihood that a case will be referred to the court unit: a lack of cooperation with the agency, a lack of family support, and substantiation of the abuse. Many children come to the attention of CPS on multiple occasions but do not receive services which indicates the need for change at the agency. The basis of a service approach already exists at the agency.

Adoption of this approach would entail a change in orientation, an increase in resources, and an integration of CPS with other family services such as support services for drug-abusing parents. More fundamental changes would involve a reorientation of the system to a comprehensive social service approach, where parental support services are seen as necessary, and are made available, for all families.



Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 58-08, Section: A, page: 3308.

Chair: Neil Gilbert.

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of California, Berkeley, 1997.

Reproduction Microfiche. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International. 
Subjects Social Work.  |  Sociology, Public and Social Welfare.
Other authors/contributors University of California, Berkeley


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