"[We have] carefully reviewed the New York State Office of Children and Family Services report and find that it echoes the findings of the county's own investigation," said Karen R. Garber, program coordinator for the Nassau County Department of Social Services (NCDSS).
"As a result of the county's findings, the department of social services
has been proactive in improving service delivery and has done so in a transparent manner."
The department, said Garber, has established a Behavioral Health Unit to assist in identifying and coordinating assessments and services for families who are in crisis due to mental health and/or substance abuse issues; instituted a Children & Family Quality Case Review Team, which will randomly review cases to assess the quality of casework; and added a CPS "Case of the Week" that reviews selected cases with input from multiple county departments.
said Nassau's Department of Social Services caseworkers have been provided wireless computers to access relevant case information while making field visits; offering refresher training and new training for caseworkers, including conducting training jointly with the police department; and convening interagency discussions to improve information-sharing between departments.
According to Garber, Nassau proactively supported the New York State legislation for CPS to obtain criminal records of subjects of a report, which was signed by Governor David Paterson in September 2008, and checks all new CPS intakes through the Nassau County Swift Justice database.
"Nassau County Department of Social Services
is in the process of preparing a written corrective action plan, which will be submitted to NYS Office of Children and Family Services," said Garber
, adding that it will include "items that have already been implemented, such as making timely safety assessments and clearly documenting all casework interventions."