At the time SB 370 was enacted, there was no centralized statewide system that allowed State or county child welfare workers to share information. Each county had its own locally designed method of managing cases which ranged from manual, paper-file systems to computer-based systems. The different systems made information sharing inefficient and time-consuming.
The CWS/CMS is a personal computer (PC)-based, Windows application that links all 58 counties and the State to a common database. The CWS/CMS is an automated, online client management database that tracks each case from initial contact through termination of services.
The CWS/CMS has eleven functional components designed to reflect the processes employed by child welfare workers in investigating, servicing and managing a child welfare case. Combined, these eleven components automate the many phases and programmatic functions of CWS. The eleven components and their functions are as follows:
In August of 1997, the CDSS formed the CMS Support Branch within the Children and Family Services Division to bring a programmatic and policy perspective to bear on the resolution of issues that arose as CWS/CMS was implemented and became operational. In 2019, the CMS Support Branch was renamed to the Child Welfare System (CWS) Branch. The CWS Branch is part of the CFSD, and it is a program partner within Child Welfare Digital Services. This branch is responsible for the oversight of the maintenance and operation of CWS/CMS and the development and implementation of California Automated Response and Engagement System referred to as CWS-CARES. The CWS-CARES is the new system that will eventually replace CWS/CMS. The branch's primary function is to ensure compliance of Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System requirements and that the CWS-CARES is developed with an outcomes-focused approach to significantly improve the timely delivery of services and supports for children, youth, and families. The CWS Branch has 6 main areas of focus: fiscal services, business requirements, program policy, administrative support, and service management of the Licensing, Case Management, Resource Management, Financial Management and Data Management service areas.
Training is critical to the development of a skilled child welfare workforce and to achieving outcomes of safety, permanency, and well-being for children and their families. It is also key to worker retention.
Use the following resources to find curricula and related training materials for a variety of audiences, including lists of national and State training organizations and schools of social work. For more information and resources spanning the continuum of child welfare, explore the web sections under Related web sections or contact our information support specialists or librarians.
CapLEARNChild Welfare Capacity Building CollaborativeProvides an online learning management system, CapLEARN, that delivers training around a variety of issues related to child welfare practice. Register for free access to courses.
Child Welfare Training ToolkitNational Center on Substance Abuse and Child WelfareProvides learning opportunities and baseline knowledge on substance use and mental health problems among families involved in the child welfare system, facilitates cross-systems work, and incorporates cultural awareness and competency in child welfare practice.
NCWWI Online Learning PortalNational Child Welfare Workforce InstituteOffers interactive, online trainings to child welfare professionals to build skills in leadership, workforce development, and change implementation. A free account may be required to participate in some trainings.
Choose from a variety of free and low-cost online courses that count as training hours for professional development for child care programs. Courses specifically for CDA Training and CDA Renewal are also available. Learn more at Agrilife.
This book highlights seventeen management and delivery solutions that public child welfare and early childhood agencies are using to overcome the operational barriers that often undercut attempts to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and their families. Throughout the country, there are remarkable cases of public agencies improving practices and outcomes when leadership and technical capacity are aligned.
By 2022, the Family First Prevention Services Act will be providing more than $180 million a year to help state and local governments make investments in preventative efforts that could turn this vision a reality.2 However, this transformation will succeed only if public child welfare, early childhood, and other family support systems overcome the operational barriers that often undercut attempts to improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families.
From these and other examples, the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL) has identified seventeen management and delivery solutions that governments are using to improve results for children and families. These strategies reflect lessons from our hands-on engagements helping jurisdictions design and implement strategies to overcome performance challenges, as well as innovations we have learned about from other communities. We have written this solutions book in the hope that these approaches will spread more rapidly.
In 2017, there were 4.1 million allegations of child maltreatment reported in the U.S., yet research indicates that a large share of the children who experience maltreatment never receive official attention.17 In most states, no one is responsible for analyzing whether the child well-being system as a whole is reaching the entire population of children and families requiring protection or support. In annual data released by many state child welfare agencies, the first table often shows trends over time in reports of alleged child maltreatment. If this trend is downward, it is interpreted as progress. But reports of maltreatment can decline either because maltreatment declines or because reporting rates decline. When reporting improvement campaigns do occur, they can contribute to the disproportionate interactions experienced by families of color.
While many jurisdictions have mechanisms to preference contract bids from minority-owned businesses, this mechanism is often not applicable to contracts for child welfare services, as most providers are nonprofit organizations that, by definition, do not have individual owners.
NEICE also benefits states and their staff! NEICE allows child welfare workers to communicate and provide timely updates to courts, relevant private service providers, and families. NEICE reduces paperwork and contributes to faster decision making, reducing the time children and family wait for placements.
Additionally, NEICE improves accountability and transparency of all parties involved in the child welfare process (caseworkers, compact administrators, attorneys, judges, Court Appointed Special Advocates [CASA], etc.).
This option allows the state to connect its child welfare information system DIRECTLY to NEICE, which operates as an information exchange between states. NEICE users create and process ICPC cases through the state's child welfare information system. When the caseworker submits the ICPC placement request, the case and placement request are transported through NEICE as a secure clearinghouse directly to the receiving state. This option requires more front-end work by the state's information technology team to modify its child welfare information system to allow workers to build and send ICPC cases and placement information directly from the system (unless this capacity already exists). This potentially carries higher initial costs, but as users work in their child welfare information system full-time, there is no need to train in a new system, and there is no duplicate entry. This option is consistent with CCWIS requirements.
Children involved in child welfare systems, including foster care, and those who have run away from home are at increased risk for human trafficking because of their potentially unstable living situations, disrupted connection with family and friends, prior abuse and neglect, and emotional vulnerability.
OFCO intervenes and tries to solve problems when a state agency's action or inaction is unauthorized or unreasonable. OFCOP also makes recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature and agency officials to improve the child welfare system.
Our child welfare units conduct investigations and family assessments, provide in-home case management, and administer foster care and adoption services. We recognize that some segments of our population, adult and children, are vulnerable and require services to assist and protect them.
The Children's Commission releases and maintains a Texas Child Welfare Law Bench Book (Bench Book) which outlines the state and federal statutory requirements, as well as topical sections, for judges handling child welfare cases. The Bench Cards provide high-level legal and topical information through at-a-glance, easy-to-use checklists that outline relevant laws at the various stages of a child welfare case as well as by topic (e.g., education).
While the Bench Book was originally designed for and is primarily used by judges, many attorneys and other child welfare stakeholders may also find it to be informative and helpful. Although the Commission has a limited number of printed copies for distribution to judges, the Bench Book is available at no cost using the links below for digital access and download.
If you are a Texas judge responsible for handling child welfare cases and interested in receiving a printed copy of the Texas Child Welfare Law Bench Book, please send your request to email@example.com. Please note, limited printed copies may be available.
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