In late September, Riverside County launched an extensive review of its Protective Services operations to ensure the county’s practices are in alignment with best practices and meet the county’s mission to protect at-risk children and adults.
The review will examine policies, procedures and practices within the Adult and Children’s Protective Services divisions and will engage legal experts with extensive experience in representing social-services agencies to work with county staff while providing added perspective and analysis. Officials are hopeful the review will provide vital information and recommendations to help strengthen the county’s protective services.
Over the last two years, “The county has worked hard to reduce attrition and add social workers in the last two years. Those measures support efforts by our social workers to protect thousands of children and adults every year,” according to Riverside County Executive Officer George Johnson.
The attrition rate for CPS social workers has been reduced by more than half, from 20 percent in 2016 to 9.2 percent today, while the number of social workers who carry caseloads has increased by 16 percent since 2016.
In 2017, the county’s Child Protective Services hotline received 40,000 calls alleging children were being mistreated. Social workers investigated 34,200 and substantiated allegations in almost 5,000 cases.
A Grand Jury report release in October 2017 criticized county’s Child Protective Services Division for the heavy caseloads carried by the department’s investigative unit.
In addition, the jury found that families were not properly told how to file a complaint and that some social workers lack required training.
That wasn’t the first time the agency was the subject of Grand Jury criticism. In 2000, a grand jury report criticized the agency for being disorganized and allowing employees in different bureaus to run “fiefdoms” with no consistent procedures.
No specific time frame has been set for completion of the current review.