Nevada County children helped with Structured Decision Making model |

Nevada County children helped with Structured Decision Making model

Submitted to The Union

​In order to provide the best possible service to families and ensure that children in Nevada County are always kept safe, Nevada County Child Protective Services uses an empirically, researched based assessment tool called Structured Decision Making (SDM.)

SDM is used in 54 of the 58 counties in California as well as in 25 states. The SDM system assists CPS workers in meeting their goals to promote the ongoing safety and well-being of children by using structured assessments to improve the consistency and validity of each step in the assessment decision while ensuring accountability and quality controls are observed. The model consists of several assessments that help agencies work to reduce subsequent harm to children and to expedite permanency:

Intake assessment: The screening section of the intake assessment helps child abuse hotline workers determine if the current report requires a child protective services (CPS) investigation response. The response priority section helps workers determine how swiftly an investigation must be initiated for those reports accepted for investigation.

Safety assessment: The assessment helps workers at all points in a case determine if a child may safely remain in the home, with or without a safety plan in place. A second safety assessment, customized for use in foster and substitute care, has also been developed.

Risk assessment: This actuarial assessment estimates the likelihood of future harm to children in the household, and assists investigation workers in determining which cases should be continued for ongoing services and which may be closed at the end of an investigation.

Family strengths and needs assessment: The FSNA informs case planning by structuring the worker's assessment of family caregivers and all children across a common set of domains of family functioning. For the case plan, priority areas of need are chosen as the focus of efforts to improve family functioning and child safety.

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Risk reassessment: For families receiving in-home services, the actuarial risk reassessment helps the ongoing service worker determine when risk has been reduced sufficiently that the case may be recommended for closure.

Reunification assessment: For families with a child in out-of-home care with a goal of reunification, this assessment helps the worker determine when a child may safely be returned to the home, or when a change in permanency goal should be considered. The assessment has three sections that focus on risk, caregiver-child visitation, and safety.

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency views the SDM model as a vital component of a child welfare practice model that also includes engagement and solution-focused approaches to working with families, as well as evaluation and quality improvement activities. The SDM model offers an elegant, comprehensive way to incorporate research and consistency into key child welfare decisions.

Holiday Cheer — 2014

The Senior Outreach Nurses are seeking help for the holidays. Starting on Monday, Dec. 8, gift bags will be assembled and prepared for delivery to approximately 150 homebound seniors as part of the Senior Outreach Nurses' Holiday Cheer program. These bags will include small gift items, treats and home-baked cookies, and for some, much-needed groceries.

Donations that can be made:

­­­Lap robes, socks (regular & for diabetics), slippers

Note pads, stationery, stamps

2015 Calendars


Razors, after shave, shaving cream

Cash to be used to fill in the blanks

A plate of assorted home-baked cookies will be included with each gift bag. Baked goods are also welcome (clearly marked with or without sugar). Call Karen Holt at 478-5829 to sign-up or for more information.

Drop these items off at the RSVP office starting now, or any time before Thursday, Dec. 4, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The RSVP office is located at 471 Sutton Way, Suite 202, Grass Valley (upstairs from Incredible Pets), 530-271-0255. Help is needed to assemble the gift bags Monday, Dec. 8 through Thursday, Dec. 11. Contact Donna Kearns at 530-477-7196 to volunteer.

There's also a need for delivery drivers. Contact Donna Kearns at 530-477-7196 to help.

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