Bill S6343-2013

Relates to staff qualifications for supervisory and non-supervisory child protective services workers

Relates to staff qualifications for supervisory and non-supervisory child protective services workers.

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  • Jan 15, 2014: REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6343

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to staff qualifications for non-supervisory and supervisory child protective services workers

PURPOSE:

To require that child protective services workers and their supervisors are formally trained in the fields of social work, psychology and/or counseling in order to better prepare them to handle cases involving significant and severe mental health, substance abuse and criminal issues.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: amends paragraphs (a) of subdivision 4 of section 421 of the social services law to require that child protective services caseworkers have at least a baccalaureate degree in social work, Psychology, counseling and/or experience in law enforcement, counseling or work with mental health or cognitively impaired persons and children. Requirements would not apply to individuals hired before the enactment of this act.

Section 1: also amends paragraph (b) of subdivision 4 of section 421 of the social services law to require that child protective services supervisors have at least a baccalaureate degree in social work, psychology, counseling and/or experience in law enforcement, counseling or work with mental health or cognitively impaired persons and children. Requirements would not apply to individuals hired before the enactment of this act.

Section 2: sets the effective date for this act.

JUSTIFICATION:

Determining whether a child has been abused or neglected, and developing a plan to protect that child who may be in imminent risk or harm, is an exceptionally difficult task to assign to any one person. This is especially the case when that individual is not formally trained in the fields of social work, psychology or counseling, which provide substantial training to deal with mental health, substance abuse, and criminal issues that often arise in CPS cases.

Many experts in the field agree that the generalized training regarding investigations and form work is inadequate preparation to deal with the real-world, severe issues that arise in a child protection case. Initial and ongoing training on trauma and the sociological and psychological effects of persistent and generational poverty, working with the mentally or cognitively impaired, experience working with addiction and chemical dependency issues, and domestic violence is necessary to go into this challenging line of work.

Requiring our county caseworkers and their supervisors to have academic backgrounds in these fields will allow for more thorough and meaningful investigations and ensure the people doing this job are the kind of people who want to build a career around social work. We

entrust these individuals to make some of the most complicated and often irrevocable decisions regarding the safety of New York State's children. Ensuring they have the expertise and relevant background experience to consider all facets of their investigation before making a decision is an important step towards improving our child protection system throughout New York State.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 6343 A. 8429 S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y January 15, 2014 ___________
IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. KENNEDY -- read twice and ordered print- ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. PEOPLES-STOKES -- read once and referred to the Committee on Children and Families AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to staff qualifica- tions for non-supervisory and supervisory child protective services workers THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subdivision 4 of section 421 of the social services law, paragraph (a) as amended and paragraph (b) as added by chapter 525 of the laws of 2006, are amended to read as follows: (a) after consultation with the local child protective services, promulgate regulations relating to staff qualifications for non-supervi- sory child protective services workers, prescribing [any] AT LEAST A baccalaureate or equivalent college degree IN SOCIAL WORK, PSYCHOLOGY, COUNSELING and/or relevant [human service] experience IN LAW ENFORCE- MENT, COUNSELING OR WORK WITH MENTAL HEALTH OR COGNITIVELY IMPAIRED PERSONS AND CHILDREN as requirements. Such requirements shall not apply to persons currently employed by such child protective services who were hired before [January first, nineteen hundred eighty-six] THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHAPTER OF THE LAWS OF TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN THAT AMENDED THIS PARAGRAPH. (b) after consultation with the local child protective services, promulgate regulations relating to staff qualifications for those assigned to be supervisors of child protective services[, prescribing any baccalaureate or equivalent college degree and/or relevant human services experience as requirements]. Provided, however, that such regu- lations shall at a minimum provide that those assigned to be supervisors of child protective services have [either a baccalaureate] AT LEAST A MASTER'S degree [or three] IN SOCIAL WORK, PSYCHOLOGY, COUNSELING AND/OR
TEN years of relevant work experience in [a human services field] LAW ENFORCEMENT, COUNSELING OR WORK WITH MENTAL HEALTH OR COGNITIVELY IMPAIRED PERSONS AND CHILDREN. Such requirements shall not apply to persons currently assigned to be a child protective services supervisor who were hired before [December first, two thousand six] THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHAPTER OF THE LAWS OF TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN THAT AMENDED THIS PARAGRAPH. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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