AN ACT TO PROHIBIT COUNTY DEPARTMENTS OF SOCIAL SERVICES FROM IMPLEMENTING CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES INTAKE SCREENING CRITERIA THAT IS MORE STRINGENT OR LENIENT THAN, OR IN ADDITION TO, STATE POLICY AND TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO MAKE VARIOUS POLICY CHANGES AS A MEANS TO IMPROVE THE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES INTAKE SCREENING PROCESS, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM EVALUATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE.
Enacts GS 7B-300.1 to prohibit county departments of social services from supplementing child protective services intake screening criteria with additional or more stringent county policy than State policy.
Mandates the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Social Services (DSS) to implement a rapid consultation system with counties in making decisions regarding the safety of children, including a devoted telephone line for county workers or supervisors to request DSS consultation. Requires at least two DSS staffers to consult with the county department within 24 hours of receipt of a request. Directs DSS to implement the rapid consultation system by June 30, 2021, and submit a report on its implementation to the specified NCGA committee by December 31, 2021.
Additionally, directs DSS to periodically assess county departments of social services’ workers and supervisors’ comprehension and correct implementation of State policy and their training needs regarding screening of reports of alleged child maltreatment. Specifies assessment techniques to be used and directs DSS to require retraining when necessary. Further directs DSS to increase the frequency of intake training, develop an intermediate intake screening course, and require county workers and supervisors to complete intake screening training at least every three years. Requires DSS to implement the assessment and training requirements by December 31, 2020, and submit a report on its use of the requirements to the specified NCGA committee by June 30, 2021.
Directs DSS to revise the child protective services structured intake form that is used by county departments of social services to screen reports of alleged child maltreatment. In consultation with the Children’s Research Center or a similar organization, requires DSS to revise the form to ensure it continues to meet federal and State requirements and provides consistency for use statewide. Requires DSS to recertify the structured form every five years, continue to consult with the Children’s Research Center or a similar organization when State policy changes require modifications to the structured intake form. Establishes biennial reporting requirements, beginning July 30, 2020, for DSS to report to the specified NCGA committee on its revision process until revisions are complete.
Mandates that DSS implement statistically valid program monitoring for county intake screening procedures and establish measurable performance benchmarks that can be applied to all counties. Requires DSS to perform county data reviews for intake screening at least annually beginning no later than December 31, 2024. Provides parameters for performance review sampling and monitoring. Establishes an annual reporting requirement, beginning June 30, 2021, and ending December 31, 2024, for DSS to report to the specified NCGA committee its progress toward improved monitoring and continuous quality improvement.
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