New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services works with children and families at the most perilous, challenging moments in life—investigating cases of abuse and neglect, and resolving plans for the safe and supportive care of children. The agency has implemented a wide-ranging set of reforms to strengthen outcomes for children and their families through programming that is evidence-based and anchored in local neighborhoods, and these changes presented significant implications for the day-to-day work requirements of the 2,400 staff at the Division of Child Protection (DCP).
The Administration for Children’s Services engaged Bennett Midland to conduct a complete assessment of the operational practices of the Division and, working in conjunction with the Social Service Employees Union Local 371, develop a new staffing model for ACS DCP. Our team used qualitative and quantitative analyses to produce a comprehensive staffing model and report that described, in detail, the key tasks, activities, and performance factors of all staff titles from caseworker to case manager. Our model measured the amount of time necessary to complete each task required to fulfill regulatory standards and the objectives of the agency’s new child protection policies. The model also calculated the number of active employees needed for each staff title, and proposed recommendations to streamline and align work with national child welfare best practices.
Over the course of ten years, the City of New York has dramatically reduced the number of children in foster care—from nearly 17,000 youth in 2007 to under 9,000 in 2017—leading to historically low caseloads for child welfare workers that are consistent with best practice standards. The agency continues to implement innovative and evidence-based programming to support the needs of youth in foster care, and to bolster the capability of its workforce through cutting edge training.