Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What We Do At Work: Time-Space Intelligence in Child Protective Services

Colette Michelle Street, Student, Human & Organizational Development

What do Child Protective practitioners do at work? What do they think and feel about their day-to-day duties? In the aftermath of various child fatalities in Los Angeles County, the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) is beginning a massive reorganization effort in order to strengthen work processes for keeping children safe. Many of the fatality cases had parents or Caregivers that utilized hostility and sometimes violent behavior toward the social workers, which may have prevented access to and spatial movement within the home environment. In addition, super-polychronicity while conducting home visits creates unnecessary distraction for social workers because of completing administrative tasks that could be addressed by clerical staff. The ability to complete tasks and conduct accurate safety assessments, including their own personal safety, requires social workers to manage chronos time and to remain open for auspicious moments. Thus, the question of inquiry is: When engaging in day-to-day workplace relations, in what ways do Child Protective Services (CPS) practitioners utilize Time-Space Intelligence? Furthermore, what does this mean for the future of child safety, practitioner safety, and Child Protection Practice?

The 11 participants, consisting of three (3) Supervising Children’s Social Workers and eight (8) Children’s Social Workers eagerly provided their voices via a narrative methodology to help the profession expand and create new ideas for CPS practice. Through their voices, the Time-Space Intelligence Assessment Loop for Child Protection © was created. It is a new Framework that incorporates the practitioners’ inductive/intuitive capacities along with empirical evidence.

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