Fall 2009 What is a Casework Practice Model?



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Introduction to the
MA Department of Children and Families

Integrated Casework Practice Model (ICPM)

Fall 2009

What is a Casework Practice Model?





  • Defines what we do, how we do it, and why we do it the way we do.




  • Establishes how DCF works internally and partners with families, service providers, and other stakeholders to focus on Safety, Permanency, and Well-being.




  • Links agency values and priorities to daily practice with families.




  • Provides clear, written explanation in agency regulations, policies, and procedures of how services should be provided.




  • Defines effective casework practice, while allowing for appropriate flexibility and professional discretion.




  • Defines the structures, processes and content of casework.



Why are we implementing the ICPM?
Expected Outcomes





  • To improve outcomes for children

    • Stabilize families so that children can safely remain at home

    • Reduce repeat maltreatment of children

    • Promote permanency by stabilizing and strengthening families




  • To improve outcomes for families

    • Strengthen parenting capacities

    • Strengthen engagement and empowerment of families

    • Help families make connections to their communities




  • Effectively target DCF resources

    • Focus on highest risk families

    • Improve timeliness of access to DCF interventions and supports


How Did We Get Here?
External Influences on the ICPM




    • Findings of the 2007 Federal Child and Family Services Review and included in the resulting Program Improvement Plan (PIP).

    • MA Legislation, July 2008: An Act Protecting Children in the Care of the Commonwealth.

    • Nationally Recognized Innovations in Child Welfare Practice.

    • Support from Casey Family Programs.

How Did We Get Here?
ICPM Based on Prior DCF Planning




ICPM Reflects DCF Core Values




    • Family Centered

    • Strength-Based

    • Community Connected

    • Committed to Cultural Competence & Diversity

    • Committed To Continuous Learning & Quality Improvement

ICPM Casework Pathways






ICPM: Key Features




    1. Extended timeframes for Screening and Investigations to allow greater opportunity to gather information from collaterals and determine how best to target DCF resources.




    1. Differential Response to enable DCF to respond to allegations of child abuse and/or neglect based on the unique circumstances of a case and the individual needs/strengths of a family. This includes two tracks: Investigation or Assessment, depending on the severity of the allegation.




3. Use of new research based assessment and planning tools to support consistent clinical practice in assessing danger, safety and risk, and to focus on what families need to keep children safe.




4. Enhanced family and community engagement to provide opportunities for children, families and their support systems to be actively engaged and empowered in decision-making.




What happens when DCF receives a Report of Abuse and/or Neglect (“51A)?

1. The report is screened to determine if the allegation meets the criteria for suspected abuse and/or neglect, if there is immediate danger to the child, and whether DCF involvement is warranted.

  • Families may also be referred for appropriate community services, as needed.

2. If “screened-in,” the report is assigned for either a Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigation or Assessment Response (“51B).

3. A determination is made about whether the child can safely remain at home and whether the family would benefit from continued DCF involvement.

What is the difference between an Investigation and an Assessment?


Determine Whether There Are Danger Factors Impacting Safety of Child

ICPM: What is Not Changing?




    • Focus on Safety, Permanency, and Well-being

    • DCF’s legal authority to investigate reports of abuse and/or neglect

    • Responsibility of Mandated Reporters

    • Respectful engagement of families

We are following well established state and national trends in moving away from a one size fits all approach to child welfare.  Our new Model allows us to focus on the unique needs and strengths of each family, while targeting our resources in the most effective way to keep kids safe and families together.

-- Angelo McClain, Commissioner
MA Department of Children and Families


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