A Long Road Ahead

Update on the Arkansas Child Welfare System

By Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families

July 1, 2006

Summary

This report examines the performance of the Arkansas child welfare system from January 2005 to March 2006 across a variety of key indicators related to child safety, family support and reunification.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Child wefare performance improving — but still falling short

Following a staffing crisis in 2004, Arkansas Department of Health and Human Service has hired more family service workers to help provide support to children and families in the child welfare system. While performance outcomes have improved somewhat, on many measures the state still falls well short of its goals. More work needs to be done to ensure that children are safe and that families working toward reunification are well supported for success.

Findings & Stats

Family Service Worker Vacancies

Worker Vacancies

The vacancy rate for family service worker positions in Arkansas in 2004 was 23% — more than double the average rate in 2002. By 2006, vacancies had dropped to 16%.

Timely Visits

Timely Visits

The percentage of children seen by an investigator within 72 hours of a report of maltreatment declined steadily from 2000 to 2006.

Family Needs Assessment

Family Needs Assessment

The percentage of protective service cases in which a family needs assessment was completed within 30 days consistently fell well below DCFS's goal of 80%.

Home Visits

Monthly Caseworker Visits

In 2006, more than half (56%) of children in Arkansas' child welfare system received no monthly home visits from their caseworker.

Statements & Quotations