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permanency under timelines that case managers did not view as reasonable for all children, to the regular changing of policies and priorities from the state DFCS office that impede the ability of case managers to effectively do their job. The third most cited response was a lack of quality services available for children, parents and prospective adoptive parents (21%). Deficiencies in a variety of areas were noted, but most notable was the lack of quality mental health services.

Table 14. DFCS Survey: What is the Biggest Challenge that You Personally Face in Your Job in Achieving Permanency for Children in DFCS Custody?*

Staff turnover/caseloads too large to devote ample time to each case Not enough permanency options for teens and children with special needs Conflict/pressure/changing priorities/unreasonable goals from State DFCS office Lack of services/funding for services needed by children & families Court process/delays/barriers Not enough quality placement resources/adoptive homes Entering info into SHINES is time consuming – takes CM away from other critical duties Parents not diligently working their case plans/lack of parental accountability

  • *

    multiple responses possible

When asked to consider system-wide, as opposed to personal, challenges the responses look similar (see Table 15). More than one-quarter of case managers believe that practices at the state level of DFCS pose a major challenge to achieving permanency for kids. Many examples were provided, ranging from outdated policies, pressure on local offices to “keep their numbers down” which can result in hasty placements, and a glut of mandated meetings and trainings which keep case managers out of the field working with children and families. Large caseloads and a lack of permanency options for special needs children surfaced again.

27% 27% 22% 21% 15% 11% 6% 6%

Table 15. DFCS Survey: What do You See as the Biggest Challenges System-Wide to Achieving Permanency for Children in Georgia’s Foster Care System?*

Conflict/pressure/changing priorities/unreasonable goals from State DFCS office Staff turnover/caseloads too large to devote ample time to each case Not enough permanency options for teens and children with special needs Lack of services/funding for services needed by children & families Not enough quality placement resources/adoptive homes Lack of funding to DFCS Court process/delays/barriers Parents not diligently working their case plans/lack of parental accountability

  • *

    multiple responses possible

26% 22% 21% 19% 15% 12% 10% 8%

Special Assistant Attorney General (SAAG) Survey

Timeliness of hearings and adequacy of court orders were key areas of interest during cold case file reviews, so the SAAG survey inquired about

June 2010

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