Safe and Secure Committee Report
A. Increase the percentage of children in Greene County who are Ready to Learn to 90% by 2024.
B. Children’s Division staff will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary for the collection of information required to make precision safety decisions. Families served by CD will receive interventions tailored to their unique needs from highly qualified, trained and experienced professionals.
GAME CHANGING OBJECTIVES/METRIC(s)
Reduce the rates of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Greene County over the next 10 years among families participating; as compared with the general population.
Decrease the number of reports per 1,000 that are substantiated for abuse and neglect, currently 7.98 per 1,000 in Greene County by 2024.
Among those families accessing the services provided in the pilot projects, we will see a reduction or elimination in number of newborn crisis assessments, substantiated cases of abuse and neglect, and number of children entering foster care by 2024.
1) Mandated Reporter Training for all degrees or disciplines that may interact with children at all institutions of higher learning in Springfield. Additionally, insure that all agencies serving children have “recertification” or continuing education for staff and volunteers on Mandated Reporter Responsibilities.
2) Provide access to a comprehensive system of support services for all families where they live in our community including a home visitation program, safe housing, inclusion in the resources of the neighborhood school and in the neighborhoods, so that support to young families becomes a norm in Springfield, Missouri.
3) It is critical that fast and intensive services be provided once a family enters the system. This requires state of the art services and cutting edge technology, as well as respect for the family. This will increase the effectiveness of Children’s Division workers and decrease the time they currently spend on paperwork. This goal echoes a theme in Victor Vieth’s work, Unto the Third Generation: A Call To End Child Abuse in 120 Years, to increase training and resources available to child welfare workers.
4) Children’s Division and the citizens of Greene County will work together to build an expert workforce. This will require the Division to become a competitive employer, providing conditions where top candidates are recruited and retained. Compensation, benefits, continuing education and worker safety will be a top priority. Frontline employees will work in a location and space that is free from threats and physical barriers. They will be afforded a schedule and workload that promotes their safety and well-being and encourages longevity in the field.
5) The physical environment of the Children’s Division agency will promote family-agency interaction in a welcoming, nonthreatening setting which does not produce additional trauma. Families will have safe space in which they can interact with their children and service providers while practicing parenting activities and skills in a supportive and productive environment.
1) Develop a 3 hour certificated mandated reporter program for institutions of higher learning in our community (OTC, Evangel, MSU, Drury) or 1 credit hour, perhaps using the Language Institute of the Ozarks as a mode. Additionally, develop a certificated mandated reporter on-line course with webinar that would be adopted by agencies working with children.
2) Parents would be offered a home visit from a trained health paraprofessional, then matched with a home visitation model that meets their needs, eligibility, and desires targeting pregnant parents, Jordan Valley Health Center, WIC and OB-GYN’s, following them until the child’s 2nd birthday. A critical component of this pilot will be that the program is offered to all new moms, not simply those identified as high risk for abuse and neglect.
3) Support the expansion of a Springfield model Parents As Teachers to serve all families in our community, connecting with families as early in the pregnancy as possible. Include a Text4Baby component to connect families prior to and after the birth of their baby.
4) Expand programming within the Community School to younger children, perhaps with certain eligibility requirements — Ex.: MOPS, Library program, Cooperative Child Care Program, Wonder Years, Parents’ Day/Night Out, etc.
5) Cutting Edge Technology for Children’s Division field staff to insure intervention at a high level with the goal of reducing time spent on paperwork, providing (100) iPads to frontline staff, and accessing pending app technology that is being developed.
5) Provide a location that could be used to support family visitation and would be safe for families and workers, and begin to transition Children’s Division staff to the facility.