HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.R. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                     HOUSE RESOLUTION


 1      WHEREAS, Hawaii's child protective agencies are charged with
 2 protecting children from abuse and neglect; and
 4      WHEREAS, several states and county agencies share
 5 responsibility for implementing and administering child
 6 protective services, including the department of human services
 7 (DHS), the department of the attorney general, the family court,
 8 and the four counties' police departments; and
10      WHEREAS, since 1967, DHS has maintained a central registry
11 of reported incidences of alleged child abuse and neglect which
12 is maintained by the department's automated child protective
13 services system (CPSS); and
15      WHEREAS, section 346-14, HRS, makes DHS the lead agency for
16 establishing, extending, and strengthening services for the
17 protection and care of neglected children; and
19      WHEREAS, the Child Protective Act, chapter 587, HRS, makes
20 DHS responsible for investigating reported cases of abuse and
21 neglect, assuming temporary foster custody of children as
22 necessary, and petitioning the family court for child protective
23 cases; and
25      WHEREAS, recent federal reforms have clarified that
26 children's safety is paramount and that permanency planning can
27 take place earlier when certain criteria are met; and
29      WHEREAS, balancing child protection, parental rights, and
30 family unity is an arduous task for agencies entrusted with
31 protecting children from abuse and neglect; and
33      WHEREAS, sufficient controls are needed to reduce the risk
34 of harm and serious consequences that may result from errors in
35 individual judgment, and to ensure that resources designated for
36 child protection are efficiently used to protect children from
37 future harm and to reunite families when appropriate; and

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                                     H.R. NO.           

 1      WHEREAS, the operation of the child protective services
 2 system depends on the efficient and effective communication and
 3 decision-making among the DHS, department of the attorney
 4 general, the family court, and the county police departments; and
 6      WHEREAS, the State Auditor's audit of the child protective
 7 services system, report number 99-5, January 1999, revealed many
 8 problems with the system, including, but not limited to, poor
 9 communication between some of the agencies and policies
10 delineating standards for decision making that were not always
11 followed; and
13      WHEREAS, improvements in eligibility determination are
14 needed to ensure that available federal funds are claimed and
15 administrative reimbursements are accurate; and 
17      WHEREAS, DHS has not established adequate management
18 controls to ensure that foster care payments end when a child
19 leaves a foster home and to prevent overpayments to families
20 receiving general assistance payments when a child is placed in
21 foster care; and
23      WHEREAS, DHS has not sufficiently identified and tracked
24 foster care overpayments; and
26      WHEREAS, child safety, the genesis for needed change in the
27 current child protective services system, demands that
28 improvements be made in communication, decision-making, and
29 services delivery; and 
31      WHEREAS, the key to each of these areas is the need to
32 maintain a reliable central registry of child abuse and neglect
33 reports, and to establish controls to track the provision of
34 services to families and children; and
36      WHEREAS, Utah's Department of Human Services, Division of
37 Child and Family Services, developed a computer-based case
38 management system to help caseworkers, supervisors, and
39 administrators work more efficiently; and
41      WHEREAS, this Utah computer-based case management system,
42 called SAFE, is designed to provide tools for collecting and
43 analyzing information, for tracking records accurately, and to
44 automate the paperwork so that caseworkers can spend more time
45 helping children; and

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                                     H.R. NO.           

 1      WHEREAS, SAFE provides quick access to case information, by
 2 helping workers track action items, and by automating the
 3 processes of filling out case forms, with the goal of reducing
 4 the paperwork burden; and
 6      WHEREAS, Utah's SAFE system, initially released in December
 7 1998, now includes automated CPS Intake with the ability to link
 8 new referrals with all related cases; and
10      WHEREAS, the use of Utah's SAFE, or a similar system, may
11 solve many of Hawaii's current data management problems; now,
12 therefore,
14      BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the
15 Twentieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of
16 2000, that the recommendation of the Hawaii State Auditor's
17 Report to the Governor and the Legislature of the State of
18 Hawaii, Report Number 99-5, January 1999, be adopted in full by
19 the appropriate agencies of the State of Hawaii as soon as
20 reasonably possible so that caseworkers can spend more time
21 helping children and less time on paperwork; and
23      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DHS report its specific
24 progress, including dates of implementation, to the Legislature
25 no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular
26 Session of 2001 and each Regular Session thereafter until all
27 recommendations have be fully implemented; and
29      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the House of Representatives
30 strongly urges that the SAFE system or a comparable data
31 management system that will compile and store all information,
32 alleged, verified, active or inactive, about a child or family in
33 one place; be readily available to the courts, the criminal
34 justice system, hospitals, and others directly involved in the
35 protection of children; and allow each of the disciplines, with
36 their individual expertise, to have immediate access to each
37 others information, be permanently established and implemented by
38 DHS; and
40      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DHS investigate and report on
41 the availability of federal matching funds to help implement this
42 program; and

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                                     H.R. NO.           

 1      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this
 2 Resolution be transmitted to the the Governor, Director of the
 3 Department of Human Services, the Attorney General, the Family
 4 Court, and the four counties' police departments.
 8                         OFFERED BY:______________________________