The District of Columbia's Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) has a history of serious performance problems. A court case in 1989 set in motion sweeping efforts to improve the District's child welfare system. Since then, CFSA has worked to meet performance requirements ordered by the U.S. District Court. However, recent reports by the court monitor show that CFSA is not meeting performance requirements on many measures. To update Congress, we assessed (1) whether CFSA is likely to meet requirements by December 2006; (2) what factors, if any, hinder the agency from meeting requirements; (3) how CFSA is monitoring its progress; and (4) the extent to which CFSA has implemented initiatives to achieve unmet requirements. To conduct this work, we reviewed reports by CFSA and the court monitor and interviewed stakeholders, including the court monitor and CFSA managers, supervisors, and caseworkers.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Executive Office of the Mayor||1. To improve CFSA's ability to serve the District's children and to help meet court-ordered requirements, the Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct CFSA to provide caseworkers with specialized training to help them develop the skills needed to address the complexities of their caseloads.|
|Executive Office of the Mayor||2. To improve CFSA's ability to serve the District's children and to help meet court-ordered requirements, the Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct CFSA to explore options for increasing the pool of providers for mental health, medical, and dental services.|