Academic journal article Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

An Analysis of Accountability on the Performance of the Florida Department of Children and Families, 2006-2010

Academic journal article Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

An Analysis of Accountability on the Performance of the Florida Department of Children and Families, 2006-2010

Article excerpt

Abstract

Using Romzek and Dubnick's 1987 model of accountability, this study evaluates the accountability of performance of Florida's Department of Children and Families, during 2006-2010. A case study method using quantitative and qualitative measures was employed to assess organizational structure and accountability of performance. While performance is not optimal, findings suggest that Florida's Department of Children and Families continues to make positive strides in the wake of shrinking funding.

Keywords

child welfare, accountability, child abuse, child neglect, organizational structure, performance measurement

Introduction

In 2010, the child population in the United States was 75,512,062; of these, 753,655 were identified as victims of abuse (Children's Bureau, 2011). The population of Florida in 2010 was 18,801,631. Based on calls to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), the number of investigations related to possible child abuse and neglect increased 6.7%, from 176,581 to 188,528, between 2009 and 2011 (Florida Department of Children and Families, 2011). Among the 4,121,704 children living in Florida in 2011, 51,555 were victims of child abuse and neglect, 19,156 lived in foster care, 3,711 were adopted from foster care, and 150,391 were raised by their grandparents (Children's Defense Fund, 2011; Florida DCF, 2011). Between 2006 and 2010, the number of calls for suspected child abuse and neglect declined from 313,228 to 284,330; however, the number of calls increased between 2010 and 2011 to 313,307 (Florida DCF, 2011). In 2010, DCF responded to 193,339 referrals for suspected child abuse and neglect, and conducted 151,361 investigations that resulted in 33,162 substantiated cases (28.54%). This was the third highest number of investigations nationally, after California and New York (Children's Bureau, 2011). The Florida DCF employed 192 intake and screening workers, and 1,748 investigative workers, for a total of 1940 workers. This was the fifth largest number of intake and screening and investigative workers among the 47 states that reported this information (Children's Bureau, 2011). The average response time between the referral and commencement of an investigation was nine hours, the best response time among the 36 states that reported this information in 2010 (Children's Bureau, 2011). The number of children victimized through abuse and neglect in Florida was above the national average in 2007, but remained below the national average between 2008 and 2010 (see Table 1). Florida was among the poorest performing states, in terms of maltreatment occurrence and absence of recurrence of maltreatment while in foster care. There was improvement between 2006 and 2007, but performance has dipped since, placing Florida among the bottom 20% in 2010.

In 2010, there were 1,537 child abuse and neglect related fatalities in the U.S., representing a rate of 2.07 per 100,000 children; (11.71%) of those deaths occurred in Florida, at a rate of 4.44, the second highest rate behind 2.22 in Texas (Children's Bureau, 2011). In 2010, Florida reported 58 (32.2%) deaths among families that received preservation services, and two deaths among families that had received reunification services within the last 5 years (Children's Bureau, 2011). The number of child fatalities in Florida remained high between 2006 and 2010, ranking as the second or third highest, at times twice the national average (see Table 2). Between 2001 and 2010, there was a 32% decrease in the number of children entering foster care, but an increase in the number of foster home placements available, and an increase in the number of adoptions. However, over 106,000 child abuse or neglect victims have been identified with nearly, 35,000 children in foster care at a time. In addition, an increase from 163 reported instances of child deaths as a result of abuse or neglect in 2007 to 201 reported cases in 2008 (Children's Campaign, 2011, p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.