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The Georgia Cold Case Project

Table 13. Average Response of Case Managers to Statements on 1-10 Scale (1=completely disagree & 10=completely agree)

Average

Children in DFCS custody are personally involved in their permanency planning Children in DFCS custody are involved with planning their WTLP Children in DFCS custody receive appropriate mental health services Children in DFCS custody who have been sexually abused receive appropriate treatment Teens in DFCS custody receive adequate information about reproductive health issues

6 7 7 7 6

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receive their information through the ILP coordinator and ILP program presentations, 15% are provided this information at a family team meeting, 12% are educated through the courts or CASA, 9% receive this information through their long-term foster care manager, and 8% at WTLP meetings.

Only half of the cold cases that qualified for ILP services have files that document the receipt of ILP services. To help clarify the types of available services, case managers were asked to describe the most common ILP services that teens in their county receive. The responses clearly illustrate that ILP services vary greatly by geographic location. Most case managers work in locations that offer multiple services; 8% indicated that their county either has none or very limited services. The most oft-cited ILP services that children receive are: job readiness (35%), educational assistance (28%), workshops (25%), money management/budgeting (18%), life skills (17%), tuition assistance (14%), skills to cook/clean/maintain a home (11%), and monthly meetings (11%).

File reviews led to the discovery of original identification documents for four teens that aged out of care. Thus the survey inquired if children were typically provided with their original birth certificate and social security card as they age out of care. For 88% of respondents, providing original documents was their typical practice; 12% indicated that this is not something usually provided.

To learn more about the involvement of children in their permanency planning and the receipt of services, case managers were asked to rate statements on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 meant “completely disagree” and 10 meant “completely agree.” Table 13 presents the average response for each statement. The data illustrates that case managers feel children have at least moderate involvement in permanency planning and receive adequate levels of treatment.

Case managers were asked to describe the biggest challenge to achieving permanency for children they face in their jobs (see Table 14). The most commonly cited challenges were large caseloads and a lack of permanency options. Case managers are overwhelmed with too many cases to manage and cannot adequately devote the necessary time required in each case to ensure permanency and the best placement. Large caseloads were often cited as the result of excessive staff turnover. Also noted was the lack of permanency resources for teens and children with special needs. More than one in five respondents (22%) cited conflict between the local and state DFCS offices as a challenge to permanency. This conflict was manifested in many forms, including pressure from the state DFCS office to move kids to

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