Dear Children and Youth Caseworker and Supervisors,

Thank you so much for taking the time to complete our 2013 follow-up survey. This survey has been created by the Northwest Citizen Review Panel based on the 2011 survey results. As a reminder, this panel is comprised of a group on volunteers who represent the community and who are dedicated to improving child welfare practices in Pennsylvania. The panel covers thirteen counties in Northwest Pennsylvania. The counties include: Erie, Crawford, Warren, McKean, Potter, Elk, Cameron, Mercer, Forest, Venango, and Clarion.

In January and February of this year, the Northwest panel began planning for 2013. One of the reoccurring themes in our planning discussions was that we want to continue to find ways to address the challenges identified by children and youth workers. To that end, we are once again asking for your assistance.

In reviewing the data collected in 2011, we identified eight areas that were consistently identified as challenges. These areas were paperwork, technology, time spent with families, high turnover, providing a positive image of CYF, increasing knowledge of cultural diversity, managing families with multiple children and multiple providers, and improving foster home training. In order to better understand these issues and develop recommendations that will improve the outcomes for children and families, we have created a second survey which asks targeted questions in each area. A hard copy of that survey is attached.

Please note that the survey is designed so that caseworker responses are anonymous and therefore the names and e-mail addresses of participants completing the survey are not captured. This was done so that you can feel comfortable providing honest answers. However, if you are interested in providing your contact information, there is the opportunity to do so at the end of the survey. Should you choose to provide your contact information, please also indicate whether or not you are comfortable with us contacting you for additional information in the future.

In addition to the follow-up survey, we are excited to provide the link to the 2012 Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Annual Child Abuse Report. . As you are aware, Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law addresses the establishment of CRP’s in Pennsylvania (PA). This legislation includes the role of the panels to develop recommendations to the Department of Public Welfare and provides the mandate for the state to provide a written response to their recommendation. This legislation was enacted to support CAPTA compliance; as well as enabled Pennsylvania to be eligible for Children’s Justice Act funding.

For those of you who read last year’s report, you will notice two distinct differences this year.
1. We combined the reports into one report to broaden readership.
2. A separate Legislative Report has been included to provide a review of those items that will require legislative action.

It is very important to note that many of the recommendations were based off of feedback provided from your children and youth caseworkers and supervisors. We reviewed responses from 391 surveys, of that, 28 of the responses were from staff in the Northwest Region.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this survey. It is hoped that caseworkers and supervisors can bring to light some of the biggest challenges faced when working with children and their families. In turn, the panel would like to then look more closely at these issues and to submit recommendations for system improvement that will not only make caseworkers' jobs easier, but improve the services provided to Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens.

1. In which county do you work?