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Guilford County Corrective Action Plan

<br /> <br /> Guilford County Corrective Action Plan | Guilford County, NC <br /> <br />

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Guilford County is implementing a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) as requested by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services (NCDSS).

The CAP outlines the steps Guilford County proposes to take to address findings from a recent review of a December 2022 case involving child fatalities and subsequent review of child protection assessment and permanency planning files. 

Guilford County filed the proposed action plan on June 15, 2023. The state will have up to 10 business days to review the proposed CAP. Any updates to the CAP will be posted to this site.

The CAP focuses on four critical areas:

  • Enhancing the county’s Continuous Quality Improvement process
  • Building staff capacity and enhancing staff training and development 
  • Implementing increased oversight, especially at critical decision points in cases
  • In moderate- to high-risk cases, working with the Courts to support in-home family agreements and court scheduling
    • Developing and implementing out-of-home family agreements with families within 30 days of custody 

Guilford County has already initiated a number of changes to its child protection team and processes: 

Building Staff Capacity: 

  • At the time of review, Guilford County had vacancy rates in Child Protective Services (CPS) as high as 30% and a caseload ratio of 20 cases per CPS social worker. 
  • Currently, there are 2 CPS social worker vacancies out of 131 approved full-time positions. Both vacancies are in the hiring process. This is one of the lowest vacancy rates in Guilford County DSS in recent memory. It is due, in large part, to the Q4 2022 compensation increase by the Board of County Commissioners.
  • It takes a minimum of 6 months to fully onboard a social worker, so staff hired between November 2022 and January 2023 are just now able to take on cases.
  • With the onboarding of new staff and the addition of new CPS teams, Guilford County’s caseload size is now closer to the state’s threshold of 10 cases per CPS social worker.
  • The County added ~20 additional DSS staff in FY2023, including a new cross-functional team located at the Family Justice Centers in Greensboro and High Point (One Supervisor, 2 Adult Protective Services social workers, 3 Child Protective Services social workers, and two general social workers). 
  • In FY2024, the County will implement a new Child Welfare Support and Early Intervention Team:
  • The SEI team will support families who may rise to the attention of child welfare but do not meet the legal threshold for opening an assessment. 
  • The goal is to help strengthen families who come to the early attention of CPS with a goal of providing primary preventive services to reduce and/or address child maltreatment. 
  • By targeting the social determinants of health, which include gaps in parenting skills, poverty, food and housing insecurity, substance abuse, and untreated mental health issues, the team aims to increase the safety and well-being of children, families, and the community.
  • DSS is bringing back recent retirees to support all supervisors with further developing coaching and modeling for staff. 
  • DSS is implementing a re-org of the Children’s Services Division to improve outcomes and processes.

Increased Oversight at Key Decision Points 

  • After-Hours staff will review all CPS history to ensure all children in the home have been identified. 
  • When transitioning a case initiated by after-hours staff, the daytime CPS worker and supervisor will staff the case to ensure next steps are clearly identified.
  • DSS has added the date of the most recent face-to-face contact with all children to the supervisory oversight form to ensure timely contacts with all children are being made. 
  • A 24-hour turnaround of documentation is required for all cases initiated by after-hours staff.

Next steps in the process include: 

  • Obtain final approval from the state of the county’s CAP
  • Initiate actions identified in the CAP
  • Provide the first report on progress to the state, County Commissioners, and the public
  • Continue updates on CAP progress through completion

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