The Campbell Plan
to Improve Child Welfare in Clark County
(Draft) Version 0.02
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not be finished, and the information may be out of
date.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
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.
Try to beef up the CASA program by aggressively promoting it.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.)
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.)
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
Encourage both the caseworkers and the Court to pay more
attention to foster parents and actively seek their input on
decisions concerning the child.
For children whose case plan is heading toward TPR,
encourage active progress toward permanent placement even
BEFORE termination takes place.
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.)
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.
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.
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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