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Knowledge And Perceptions About Public Child Protection Agencies:

While most participants had heard of child protection services, very few knew what the agency actually does, other than to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. Many said that what information they have comes from the media and that it is usually negative. However, if there had not been any negative media, attention in their communities, they had little interest in what the agency does. Even so, participants did have some ideas and perceptions about the agency.

·       They (agency staff) have no time for prevention.

·       Child protection agencies offer parenting classes, recommendations on which parent the child of divorced parents should live with, battered women shelters, after-school programs, and day care referrals. (Note that public child protection agencies usually do not directly provide these services, except possibly providing parenting classes and day care referrals for agency clients.)

·       Agencies are under-funded, caseloads are too high, there is too much paper work, and caseworkers are underpaid.

·       Agencies are really understaffed and quality is probably low because they don’t have enough staff to handle all the problems.

Participants who had contact with caseworkers, whether through their job or because of situations in their own lives, generally gave caseworkers fairly high ratings, although they believe caseworkers give advance notification of visits to birth, kinship, foster, and adoptive families and do not think they should always do that.

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