Discussion W5

Please read attachment for instructions for this Discussion. Should be at least 275 words with in-text citations and references. 

Identify Policy Alternatives

For your initial post to this discussion, identify at least three policy alternatives for the problem you identified earlier in the course. The problems are identified in Information from Discussion 1 and Information from Discussion 2 in this attachment below. Read those to understand what is needed and conduct this assignment. The agency is in the U.S. and is the Indiana Department of Child Services.

For each alternative:

Explain what the alternative is, providing an example of how it might be implemented in resolving the problem.

For each alternative, provide insights into the potential perceptions differing groups within the community might have towards this alternative.

For each identified alternative, provide some specific insight into specific aspects of the problem that this alternative will address. Remember, it is unlikely you will be able to implement any practice that will completely eliminate a problem, so when identifying policy alternatives, we need to be clear about what we are trying to achieve with that alternative.

Remember: One alternative must be the status quo.

Discuss the challenges associated with developing alternatives that best meet the needs of the community when a proposed alternative might be in conflict with your own values.

Please support your ideas with recent, scholarly sources that are properly cited and referenced in APA Style.

Information from Discussion 1

The agency I intend to focus my efforts on is the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS). Their mission is to engage with families and collaborate with state, local and community partners to protect children from abuse and neglect and to provide child support services (DCS Mission, Vision, and Values). I want to address the overspending that Indianas DCS does every year. They are 100s of millions of dollars over budget every year. I know this is not just a problem for Indiana, but every state.

One thing that I learned working with this agency is that they want to keep referring services to clients and keep them in the system. If they keep their numbers high on active clients in their system every year and overspend the budgeted money, they will and expect to receive more funds the following fiscal year. DCS is by far the largest department with the greatest budget and amount of employees than any other department in the state of Indiana. As of 2017, Indianas rate of children in out-of-home care was about 13 children for every 1,000 in the state and is over twice the national average. In addition to Indiana having a higher number of children in out-of-home care, Indiana also has a higher-than-average number of children being referred to child protection. In 2016, Indianas rate of referral to child protection, calculated as the number of referrals for every 1,000 children in the states population, was 108.2 compared to a national average of 55.6 (Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services).

References

DCS Mission, Vision, and Values. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2020, from https://www.in.gov/dcs/2370.htm

Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services. (2018, June 18). Retrieved January 22, 2020, from https://www.in.gov/dcs/files/IndianaEvaluationReportCWGFinal.pdf

Information from Discussion 2

What is the specific problem that your organization will be trying to address? Try to be as specific as possible.

My organization will be trying to reduce the spending by the Indiana Department of Child Services to combat child abuse and neglect. There are a number of issues that create this situation that need addressed. One major that needs to be considered is what is causing the high caseloads in the first place and can these things be spearheaded from the front end to help reduce the number of children entering into the system in the first place. Here are a number of things that need evaluated and are cause for concern (Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services.):

Only three states have a higher rate of abuse and neglect referrals than Indiana.

Indiana accepts more abuse and neglect reports than the national average.

Only two states had a higher rate of completed child protection assessments than Indiana.

Despite completing more assessments than almost any state, Indiana substantiated only 15 percent of those assessments.

The rate of abuse and neglect reports grew by almost 63 percent from SFY 13 to SFY 17.

55 percent of removals in 2017 were related to parental substance abuse.

DCS barely misses the federal standard for repeat maltreatment

Indianas rate of children in care is 13.0 (per 1,000 children) compared with the national average of 5.6.

Indianas rate of children entering care is 8 (per 1,000 children) compared with the national rate of 3.6. Nearly 45 percent of family case managers have caseloads above the state standard.

DCS supervision standard is 1 to 7+ compared to the national standard of 1 to 5.

There are 530 children in care on the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) wait list for childcare vouchers.

In SFY 2017, DCS spent $24,933,487 on drug testing/supplies and $4,538,182 on drug treatment.

The number of court-involved cases in DCS is more than double the national average.

How is the specific problem you mentioned tied to the organizational mission?

The problem is tied to DCS mission statement, because they job is to provide services to and protect children from abuse and neglect. If we can reduce the amount of reports by ensuring parents have resources and tools to properly parent their children and deal with everyday life. This can potentially reduce the number of reports and cases DCS receives in the first place and eventually reduce the amount of spending and employees needed to make DCS function as it has. Cases that do need DCS attention after this would be handled in a manner to help put them in a place where they will be no more recurring incidences and remove the cases from the DCS system. It is a complicated and very involve process, but it can be done with the proper training, tools, resources, and policies in place.

How might you frame the problem for the policy analysis to make the scope of it more realistic in a real-world setting?

Problems such as the opioid epidemic have contributed to the increased number of families and children in the DCS case management system. If we were to focus and attack the opioid problem from the doctor prescribing the opioid, to the manufacturers, and finally to the patient taking the opioids we can come up with a solution to combat this and thus reduce the numbers that increased the caseloads of DCS due to this problem. Over reliance on a reactive system that uses child removal as the primary approach to address parental addiction will not serve Indiana or its citizens well over time (Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services.). The idea is to take a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach to these problems.

References

Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services. (2018, June 18). Retrieved January 22, 2020, from https://www.in.gov/dcs/files/IndianaEvaluationReportCWGFinal.pdf

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