Enhancing the Safety of Children in Foster Care and Family Support Programs: Automated Critical Incident Reporting

By Brenner, Eliot; Freundlich, Madelyn | Child Welfare, May/June 2006 | Go to article overview

Enhancing the Safety of Children in Foster Care and Family Support Programs: Automated Critical Incident Reporting


Brenner, Eliot, Freundlich, Madelyn, Child Welfare


The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 has made child safety an explicit focus in child welfare. The authors describe an automated critical incident reporting program designed for use in foster care and family-support programs. The program, which is based in Lotus Notes and uses e-mail to route incident reports from direct service staff to supervisors and administrators, facilitates timely clinical oversight and risk management and ensures the security of clients' protected health information. The authors present data collected using the program to illustrate how it can be used to monitor abuse and neglect allegations in a foster care program. A survey of users found that the program saved time, was easy to use, and helped manage critical incident reports.

The Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997 has made child safety a more explicit focus in child welfare. Policy and practice now place a greater emphasis on assessing the effectiveness of child protective services in responding to reports of child maltreatment and on ensuring the safety of children in foster care (Fitzgerald, Bailey, & Litton, 2003). Although protecting children in foster care has been an issue of concern, researchers have collected little data about the scope of this problem or the specific situations that compromise children's safety while in outof-home care. The federal Child and Family Service Reviews have improved data collection on this issue to some extent (Administration for Children and Families, 2003).

The literature, however, addressing how child welfare agencies should monitor and ensure the safety and well-being of children in foster care continues to be extremely limited. In particular, little attention has been given to the role of critical incident reporting in monitoring and ensuring positive outcomes related to children's safety while in foster care. The absence of attention to this issue is surprising, given the requirements of the Council on Accreditation, which accredits more than 1,400 social service and behavioral health organizations that monitor and address incidents, accidents, and grievances (Council on Accreditation, 2004).

This article describes an automated critical incident reporting system casey Family Services has developed and implemented. casey Family Services, the direct service arm of the Annie E. casey Foundation, is a multiservice child welfare agency based in New Haven, Connecticut, which provides foster care and other child welfare services through 15 offices in the six New England states and Baltimore, Maryland. casey developed its critical incident reporting system to respond to and effectively address the safety of children in foster care and family support programs, as well as to promote the well-being and permanency of children under the agency's care. This article reviews the very limited literature in the area of critical incident reporting; discusses the importance of automating critical incident reporting; describes the casey system; presents survey data suggesting that the system is user-friendly, saves time, and helps staff manage incident reports; and discusses how the agency uses data from the automated system to improve services and outcomes for the children in its care.

Literature Review

The literature on continuous quality improvement identifies the safety of the service environment as a key category of program quality (Brown, 2001), and it makes clear that mechanisms are needed to evaluate the safety of clients and develop appropriate responses when their safety is compromised (Gambrill & Shlonsky, 2001; Pecora, seeling, Zirps, & Davis, 1996). Nonetheless, the literature that addresses these mechanisms in child welfare in general and critical incident reporting in particular has been limited. To the extent that the literature has described the use of critical incident reporting, the principal focus has not been on the safety of children in foster care, but on such issues as infant abduction (Rabun, 1996) and personal risks to social workers (Griffin, 1995).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Enhancing the Safety of Children in Foster Care and Family Support Programs: Automated Critical Incident Reporting
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.