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DCFAS / CPS: Mental Health Screenings, Referrals, and Services for Children & Non-Minor Dependents

On August 30, 2023, UPE met with the Department about the above policy. The County states this is a new policy that codifies existing practices, which includes filling out the Mental Health Screening Tool each time an Access referral is made.

The Department started by walking us through the policy and informing us that this encompasses two practices: mental health screening and presumptive transfers. The area of the policy that was the biggest concern was how duplicative the Department’s process was for mental health screening. As written, it states that the tool MUST be used when there are mental health issues and when an Access referral is made, as well as document the parent/child’s mental health in the chrono, filling out the tool in the “green tab” and saving it there, and also going into the “health notebook” section of CWS and verifying that the form was used. While the Katie A ACL states that a screening tool must be used, it does not specify what sort of tool that is. The lengthy document that was created is a County document and could feasibly be altered or simplified.

Our team asked if it was possible to have the screening tool automatically create a chrono to save in CWS. The Department replied that CWS does not have the capability to do that. We also asked if it was possible to simplify the tool and add it to the assessment template so the same information did not need to be added in different areas of CWS. The Department said they would “take this back to management” as they are looking at “efficiencies” within the social worker’s workload. We wanted to know if there was a reminder or a trigger in CWS that prompts the social worker to complete the mental health tool if necessary; the Department reported that Safe Measures is the only way to check to see if the tool was used.

Thank you to the participants for your advocacy

Eric Booker and Sarah Singleton

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