The Campbell Plan
to Improve Child Welfare in Clark County

(Draft) Version 0.02 — 11/14/05, 11/21/05

Obsolete Page

This is one of many documents that we have "abandoned," at least for the time being. It may not be finished, and the information may be out of date. Any opinions expressed may not reflect our current thinking right now. We have left this document here for whatever use you may get from it, but we haven't had time to refine or support it.

THE CAMPBELL PLAN assumes that the best way to improve child welfare is through existing structures and organizations. This Plan is comprehensive and is intended to promote the long-term welfare of children and families in the abuse/neglect, foster care and juvenile delinquency systems.

  1. Try to beef up the CASA program by aggressively promoting it.

  2. Encourage an improved system for the ongoing evaluation and management of CASA volunteers ("Quality Control"). Work to develop an intelligent, well-educated, vibrant and well-supported volunteer force.

  3. As more CASA volunteers become available, encourage the program to broaden its scope and power, both officially and unofficially. Start assigning CASAs to Juvenile Delinquency cases. Encourage CASAs to develop lasting ties not just to the children they are assigned to but also their families, and encourage them to follow their clients after the case is closed (like an informal Big Brother/Big Sister).

  4. Actively promote third-party foster care agencies (Olive Crest, Trinity, etc.) as an alternative to direct recruiting of foster parents by the county. (These agencies provide additional support to foster parents and provide a protective buffer between the foster parents and the county.)

  5. Work to broaden the profile of foster children who go to third-party agencies. (For example, FastTrack should be available through a third-party agency, not just Special Needs.) Work toward the (unrealistic) goal of all foster placements going through third party agencies.

  6. Develop a "Foster Parent Bill of Rights," stating what a foster parent can reasonably expect from the county. (For example: Phone calls to caseworkers should be returned within two business days.)

  7. Encourage an administrative system within DFS for enforcement of the Bill of Rights. (If some provision of the Bill of Rights is violated, the foster parent should have a phone number they can call within DFS to register a complaint, and the person at the other end of the line should have the power to seek a resolution.)

  8. Encourage foster parents to take a more active CASA-like role in the long-term welfare of their children. They should not just be temporary caretakers but active advocates for their children. When reunification is the plan, encourage foster parents to develop a relationship with the birth parents and to follow the family after reunification.

  9. Encourage both the caseworkers and the Court to pay more attention to foster parents and actively seek their input on decisions concerning the child.

  10. For children whose case plan is heading toward TPR, encourage active progress toward permanent placement even BEFORE termination takes place.

  11. Curb the role of the CAP program and limit it to its original purpose: representing the expressed wishes of older children whose desires are stable enough to be expressed. Force the CAP program to publicly define its mission, personnel standards and appropriate clients, then hold them to it. Stop the assignment of CAPs as CASAs. (If a lawyer should be assigned to look after the "best interests" of younger children, independent of their wishes, it should be done through a separate program.)

  12. Promote greater openness and transparency in the child welfare system, to the maximum extent that is effective and practical. Encourage an active public debate both on policy issues and (when identities are protected) on the handling of individual cases.

  13. Monitor the performance of caseworkers, child advocates, juvenile public defenders and other service providers. Make sure they are connecting well with their clients, are attentive to their needs and have the intellectual capacity to understand the essential issues of each case. Recognize those providers who are performing well, and encourage the departure of those whose personalities are not suited to the task. Offer advice for improvement to providers whose performance raises questions.

  14. Promote any state or county legislation that supports the goals of this Plan or that otherwise serves the long-term interests of children and families in the system.
This document is a DRAFT that is subject to change based on input from others.

Key to Abbreviations: CASA = Court Appointed Special Advocate. CAP = Children's Advocate Program. TPR = Termination of Parental Rights. DFS = Department of Family Services. FastTrack = A program that places infants immediately into homes that are ready to adopt them if the parents' rights are terminated.

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