The County of Riverside released a summary of findings from an independent review of the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) Children’s Services Division (CSD). The public report also details how DPSS is enhancing and expanding safeguards to protect children from abuse and neglect.
The county’s Executive Office requested the review last year to ensure DPSS’ Children’s Services Division is following policies and practices that lead to safer outcomes for children, while reducing risks from future third-party claims and lawsuits.
“Protecting children is our first priority,” said Riverside County CEO George Johnson. “Our goal throughout this stringent process of external review and self-analysis is to emerge as a leader in best practices for children and families at risk.”
Special outside counsel conducted the review to analyze CSD’s practices and policies along with claims and lawsuits filed between 2008 and 2018. The independent review concluded that Riverside County’s children’s division had experienced similar claims as other counties in California.
Riverside County has taken steps to advance excellence throughout children’s services and the overarching social services system, including ensuring appropriate decision-making as well as quality assurance and accountability. Veteran county administrator, Sarah Mack, was tapped to lead a multi-agency social services department of more than 3,800 employees.
“The initiatives we have undertaken are part of an ongoing commitment from department leaders, social workers, supervisors and County Counsel, to strengthen families and protect children from abuse and neglect,” Mack said. “As long as there is a child at risk in Riverside County, our work and our continuous focus on improvement will never stop.”