Sunday, January 24, 2016

CPS Reporting and Mandated Reporter Training

In Virginia, there are  different CPS referral reporter sources. Many forms are attorneys, CASA, babysitters, clergy, counselors, court/probation, dentists, Department of Social Services staff, eligibility workers, ex-spouses, parents, neighbors, parole officers, medical professionals, school staff, and a lot of other individuals in the community. While talking with my supervisor in supervision, she informed me that a lot of the mandated reporter training is not touching on the cultural competence piece. 

Being culturally competent is not being of the same race or ethnicity to understand the culture. Cultural Competence is the ability of individuals and systems to respond respectfully and effectively to people of ALL cultures, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and faiths or religions in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, tribes, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each. 

I challenge you to take the Harvard Implicit Test to better understand your personal biases. Being self-aware of any biases can help you to understand yourself better, and have better relationships when  working with clients, families, groups, and communities. As an inspiring macro social work practitioner, I still have to be aware of my biases and work on being culturally competent. 

I wanted to look at the data from the Virginia Child Protective Service Referral Reporter Source Annual Report. This report period is from 7/1/2013- 6/30/2014. 

Here are a few highlights:

In Prince William County, (Northern Region) there were 1,162 reports made from Public Schools and  1,068 referrals made from Law Enforcement and 4,658 total reports made from various sources.

In Richmond City (Central Region), there were 337 reports made from counselor/therapist, and 306 reports made from Law Enforcement. The total number of reports made last fiscal year were 2,425. 

In Loudoun County, (Northern Region) there were 641 referrals made from Public School and 413 referrals made from Law Enforcement. There were a total of 2,319 reports made last fiscal year. 

In Roanoke City (Piedmont Region) there were 376 referrals made from  school staff and 370 reports made from unknown sources. There were a total of 2,155 reports made last fiscal year. 

In Norfolk, (Eastern Region) there were 276 referrals from Law Enforcement, and 229 from unknown sources. There were a total of 1, 997 reports made last fiscal year. 

In the City of Alexandria, (Northern Region)  the highest CPS referrals came from Schools with 277 reports, and Law Enforcement with 243 reports made last fiscal year. The City of Alexandria had 1,133 reports. 

I included Alexandria because I am using them as a comparison. So, we have all this data, and what does it mean? There are a lot of reports being made from law enforcement and public schools. Are public service workers culturally competent and can differentiate between poverty and neglect? Not being aware of other cultures interfere with making reports. What can we do with this data to make our community partners aware of these issues?

How can we raise awareness about poverty, child abuse, and the many stressors of poverty? We have to first present the data, because numbers tell a story that we cannot. We have to have the data to support our argument. We have to find common ground with other people in the community to make them aware of these issues are clients face on a daily basis. I am an advocate for the child, but also for the family. You have to work with the family to help reduce child poverty. You have to look at this issue from a holistic approach, and understand how the systems interrelate with each other. Let's have a discussion. Please post in the comment box below, what you we can do to eliminate these social problems. 

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