DCFS Needs Portal - Assessing Service Requests and Gaps for Child Welfare Families

The UCLA Spatial Analysis lab has released a new research brief, "Assessing Service Requests and Gaps for Child Welfare Families" based on data from the DCFS Needs Portal.

The DCFS Needs Portal is an innovative web-based intervention for DCFS caseworkers, service providers, and community partners. The primary focus of the Needs Portal is to reduce the length of time families are involved in the child welfare system by providing services more efficiently and effectively. We found that family well-being services e.g., (job training and placement, child care) ,when requested by caseworkers without any other service categories, received the fewest number of comments per caseworker request for services.  Anytime psychosocial categories (e.g., counseling, anger management, parenting classes) were request (alone or in combination with basic needs or well-being services) these tickets received about two times the number of comments than those requesting basic needs or well-being services.  About 1 in 6 families involved in the child welfare system needed housing services.

Well-being services (e.g. job training) may promote long-term functioning ; however, the least number of service requests and service provider comments were in this category. Caseworkers may be focused on providing basic needs for families rather than linking to services that may increase self sufficiency in the long term. The few requests submitted received the lowest number of comments from service providers and may represent an area of service need not being adequately addressed by current community agencies in the Portal.

The full brief can be found at: http://www.uclaspatialanalysislab.com/sites/default/files/files/NeedsPor...

The DCFS Needs Portal is funded by grants from the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) and the Ralph M. Parsons foundation.