Safety Net Minutes
January 7th, 2010
St. George Attendees
Priscilla Teri Justesen
Salt Lake City Attendees
-See the agenda for information about resources for free computers
-A Women’s Support Group is running in both St. George and Salt Lake (contact Pat and/or Chelsea for information)
Presentation by Patti VanWagoner-
In light of the SN Youth Protocol, Patti VanWagoner provided the Safety Net attendees with information about the role DCFS plays in child welfare. She stated the biggest question she faces is why doesn’t DCFS take a larger role in working with the safety net community? DCFS has a role in keeping families safe in accordance with state law. They are limited and governed by what Utah State laws will allow them to do. DCFS generally does not have enough information to get involved unless a call is made and there is anallegation that a child has been abused, neglected or dependent. It is required that someone report suspected abuse/neglect concerning a person under age 18.
-With information gained from a report, DCFS can do an assessment on 1) immediate safety 2) how to strengthen family
-DCFS has a Family Centered approach. In the event of a removal, they look for other family members who can care for the child.
-DCFS most often gets involved when there is a specific concern about abuse or neglect. Often times the situation may stem from conflict within a family. Their role is often to share community resources to help family functioning.
-What can DCFS do to help youth leaving their family’s lifestyle? Only what state law allows. Some laws have recently been changed to let the community intervene. Now, if you’re aware of a runaway youth you are responsible to notify the child’s parents or the local Youth Services agency within 8 hours. Youth Services are provided by the Division of Juvenile Justice Services, most often through local Receiving Centers. If knowledgeable about abuse, you must notify DCFS.
-It is possible to get parental permission to work with child
-DCFS has the responsibility to get involved in situations where there are concerns of child abuse or domestic violence. They caution that outside of this, they may not be able to step in. One helpful process is developing a team with youth, presenting resources and working to strengthen the family.
-Clarification was made on whether a polygamist family can qualify as a foster care family? The state cannot place children where there are cohabitating adults. However, there is a distinction to be made between being a foster care family and a family caring for child in crisis; this is seen as kinship and there are different requirements. A family does not have to be foster care licensed to be granted preliminary placement (temporary placement). Polygamists families have been used as preliminary placements but children who are in DCFS custody will not be legally placed there as a long term placement unless the family becomes licensed.
-How does DCFS get involved in “Ungovernable Youth”? DCFS usually doesn’t get involved unless there is abuse or in court proceedings, a judge orders DCFS to get involved to moderate behavior.
-What is youth services responsibility? To offer services. They don’t pick up kids or house them. They usually offer counseling and overnight/interim shelter. Youth Services will notify the parents unless there is abuse-at which point DCFS gets involved. They are aware there are allegations made in this circumstance sometimes when the youth doesn’t want to go home with the parents. DCFS will get involved in these situations and gather information from all parties to determine if there is a safety concern.
-You can still be charged with a misdemeanor if you harbor without reporting to parents, DCFS, or juvenile receiving centers.
-If parents give permission for you to work with their child, you MUST document it
-Does a report have to be made if the child is a runaway but staying with their own relatives? Yes. If the parents don’t know where the child is, the youth is still a runaway. Contact police to see if they’ve been identified as a runaway
-Is the SN youth protocol any different than state laws? NO
-It is possible but unknown if youth services will lose funding. It is still in state statute that they are to be in place.
-Who has authority to prevent child from going home? DCFS has this authority ONLY if the home is deemd as unsafe. Law enforcement and court can also have this authority.
-Emancipation is an option for a youth. The Guardian Ad Litem will get involved. Parents are notified. Youth must demonstrate they can function as an adult.
-What types of interventions are in place for children who continue to runaway? Juvenile resources come into play; a youth can become involved with the juvenile court and a Judge can order intervention through DCFS, either in-home services or an out of home placement. . This accounts for 14% of of the youth who enter DCFS custody.
Voting on the Safety Net Youth Protocol took place. Lloyd Pendleton made a motion to vote on accepting the protocol in concept with the intent that edits take place later, David Dye seconded it.
The vote was passed without contest.
-Following the vote there was some discussion on the role this protocol will play. It was clarified that this protocol mandates SN treatment of youth. Accepting the protocol means that SN members will support the use of the protocol. Agency representatives who accepted this vote are not accepting this protocol for themselves of for their agencies.
-This clarification led to a discussion about the role of voting in SN meetings. It highlighted the need to have restrictions on voting power within the SN. It was suggested that we need to narrow voting to a board. Members could be chosen based on their history of attendance. Having a voting party would separate active SN members (who would hold voting power) and inactive members (who tend to only read SN minutes but do not take an active role in SN tasks). It was suggested that the SN have two tiers of membership-those who want to vote versus those who want to be updated. It was also suggested that we moderate membership so there is not an overrepresentation of one particular agency; that we designate each organization and they can choose their representative.
-It was suggested that we review past protocols on voting membership and reassess our current organizational needs, etc.
-Another idea was to have a membership committee, whose purpose would be to ensure balance in the voting body,
-Craig Bunnell will make an organizational template to disperse to a task force to determine our scope. Those on the task force include, Ann Wilde, Paul Murphy, Lloyd Pendleton, Shannon Price, Cindy Trembly, and Chelsea Gambles.
-Pat asked the SN to review the committee goals, mission, and guiding principles and send her or Chelsea suggested changes and feedback as these will be voted on next month
The SN reviewed what was gathered from the focus groups held in the North and the South. Two focus groups were held in each location to discuss needs of the youth and needs of victims. It was discussed how to ensure this feedback gets implemented. Paul Murphy made a motion to ask all SN members to review the feedback and rank the top 3 suggestions to be implemented. Gary Batchelor seconded it. Motion was passed with no contest.
Paul nNoted that this was our most successful webcast, making it likely that it can be done in Colorado City
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