DCF, Eckerd roll out Rapid Safety Feedback to protect at-risk children

11:07 AM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- In an effort to give immediate attention to certain high-risk indicators, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) -- along with the lead Community Based Care (CBC) agency in Hillsborough County, Eckerd Community Alternatives -- have deployed Rapid Safety Feedback to quickly identify cases with issues that pose the greatest risk to a child.

Rapid Safety Feedback is a new process designed to flag key risk factors in open child welfare cases that could gravely impact a child's safety.

These factors have been determined based on reviews of other cases where child injuries or tragedies have occurred. Factors include but are not limited to the parents' ages, the presence of a boyfriend in the home, evidence of substance abuse, or previous criminal records.

"We must use what we have learned in the past to inform our practice in the future," Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said. "Although every family is different, using data can help us make better decisions for these children and families, and we are looking to use what has been developed by Eckerd and the Suncoast Region in other parts of the state."

After Eckerd was awarded the contract as the CBC lead agency in Hillsborough County last year, they responded to DCF's request to better monitor risk factors and quickly developed methods to understand gaps in the system. 

By creating a task force to review more than 1,500 cases and through consultation with experts, they were able to create a list of common risk factors. This led to an effort to leverage new technology to flag cases, shorten reviews and get immediate feedback.

DCF is now looking to expand and apply the tool to other areas in the state.

Florida Department of Children and Families

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