Supervisor Manual

Welcome to the New Supervisor Manual! This manual was created to help new supervisors understand the technical aspects of supervision as well as to house resources and job aids. This manual is the product of a collaborative effort between the Kempe Center, county supervisors, and the Division of Child Welfare staff. In each section, you will find a description of the supervisor responsibility, the corresponding Volume 7 references, if applicable, and associated Trails screenshots, if applicable, to help guide you through the Trails navigation of that particular responsibility or other related resources.

One of the most important things you will be watching for in your workers is secondary trauma and/or burnout. Too often the signs of these are missed or not addressed. Colorado has an abundance of resources to help our child welfare workforce around these issues. Be sure to save these links so you have quick and easy access to them whenever needed.

A trauma experienced firsthand leads to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while a secondary trauma (or a series of them) can lead to vicarious trauma. The most significant difference between secondary trauma and PTSD is that with secondary trauma you are a step away from the actual trauma, but the symptoms may mirror each type. These conditions are related and intertwined, and, like the conditions themselves, the interventions for each are slightly different

Risk factors that might make a worker more vulnerable to experiencing secondary trauma and/or burnout include the following:

  • Lack of social support
  • Childhood suffering
  • Unbalanced professional and personal life
  • Repeated exposure to the facts of a case
  • Identification with the victim
  • Mission failure
  • Impotence and helplessness
  • Inability or difficulty in asking for help

Workers need you, their supervisor, to help watch for signs of secondary trauma and burnout and to provide resources and support in getting the help they need to continue to do their job in a successful and healthy way.

Resources

The CDHS Memo Series began in February 2016. The series is used by CHDS to streamline and clarify policies and expectations of county partners. This is the formal method of communication used by CDHS with all 64 counties. Previously, counties were notified of changes through the Dear Director or Agency Letters. There was often a significant delay in the information trickling down to the supervisor and worker level.

As of July 2020, there are two types of memos sent out to counties:

  • Operation memo: Provides more specific guidance to counties on how to apply a statue or rule, and neither expands such obligations nor creates new ones. Provides detailed instructions or clarifications for counties to operationalize a new or existing federal law or a new or existing state or federal rule. It also informs counties how the department will measure performance compliance, may help resolve conflicting practices or interpretations of statute or rule, may cover administration issues (such as documentation, reporting, database functionality), or help ensure clear and uniform administration of department-supervised programs across counties. (Note: The old policy memo is now consolidated with the operation memo.)
  • Information memo: Provides important information for counties that is strictly informational and timely and does not speak to rules or regulations. Examples include announcements of grants or the posting of a Request for Proposals.

Sign up for the Memo Series here

Screenshots

As part of your new leadership role, you may be responsible for checking your county’s inbox in Trails. This is where your county receives referrals, assessments, and cases from other counties. It’s important that you check with your county to learn the protocol for checking the inbox and that you ensure it’s checked consistently every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Volume 7 outlines the protocol that should be followed when counties send referrals/assessments/cases to one another, and transferring via Trails is only part of that process. However, checking your county’s inbox consistently every day will ensure no referral/assessment/case is ever left unanswered if any part of that process breaks down.

Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.102.3 TRANSFER OF HOTLINE RESPONSIBILITIES [Eff. 8/1/17]

When the Hotline County Connection Center or another county department enters a report of child abuse and/or neglect into the state automated case management system on behalf of another county department, it shall transfer the referral to the appropriate responsible county department through the state automated case management system within two (2) hours after the call is completed. The method for notification is as follows:

  1. When a referral is sent during regular business hours, notification shall be through telephone call, voicemail, e-mail, text, or other emerging technology, and shall be documented in the state automated case management system; or,
  2. When a referral is sent outside of regular business hours, notification shall be through personal contact to a person who is the appropriate county department representative, and shall be documented in the state automated case management system.

Trails Screenshots

As a new supervisor, your approval on your workers’ assessments and cases is required in multiple areas in Trails. These areas/tasks cannot be accessed/completed in Trails without supervisory credentials. The areas/tasks include but are not limited to the following:

  • Accepting a referral for assessment
  • Closing/transferring an assessment/case
  • Approving a finding
  • Restricting an assessment/case
  • Approving 90-Day Reviews, Service Authorizations, etc.
  • Accepting referrals sent by other counties to your inbox

 Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.103.10 DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS – WHEN SUPERVISOR APPROVAL IS REQUIRED [Eff. 1/1/15]

  1. All referrals including the information gathered pursuant to Sections 7.103.1 and 7.103.2 shall be entered into the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the next business day following receipt of the referral.
  2. The initial review shall be documented in the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the next business day following receipt of the referral. The supervisor is to ensure that the review and the documentation have occurred.
  3. The decision to screen out a referral for further action shall be documented in the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the following business day that the decision is made. This shall include an explanation of the reasons why no further action was needed. The determination to screen out a referral for further action must be approved by a supervisor.
  4. All RED Team decisions shall be approved by a supervisor by the end of the calendar day and documented in the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the next business day.

Trails Screenshots

Attending and, at times, facilitating RED (Review, Evaluate, Direct) Team will be one of your new duties as a new leader in child welfare. It’s important to be grounded in the purpose of RED Team and what tools we use to meet those purposes. RED Team is a collaborative process we use to review referrals to answer three questions:

  1. What is the alleged abuse and/or neglect in this referral?
  2. Does the alleged abuse and/or neglect meet criteria for agency response?
  3. What response time is warranted?

As a supervisor in RED Team, it is your duty to help facilitate impactful, culturally competent, and family-centered discussions that use the Agency Response Guide to answer the three questions. The purpose of RED Team is never to reach a disposition of whether or not abuse or neglect occurred, but only to answer the questions above (and additional information for DR counties; see Agency Response Guide).

Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.103.10 DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS – WHEN SUPERVISOR APPROVAL IS REQUIRED [Eff. 1/1/15]

  1. All referrals including the information gathered pursuant to Sections 7.103.1 and 7.103.2 shall be entered into the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the next business day following receipt of the referral.
  2. The initial review shall be documented in the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the next business day following receipt of the referral. The supervisor is to ensure that the review and the documentation have occurred.
  3. The decision to screen out a referral for further action shall be documented in the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the following business day that the decision is made. This shall include an explanation of the reasons why no further action was needed. The determination to screen out a referral for further action must be approved by a supervisor.
  4. All RED Team decisions shall be approved by a supervisor by the end of the calendar day and documented in the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the next business day.

 

7.103.71 Red Teams

  1. County departments shall implement a process utilizing the Red Team framework to review referrals with:
  2. Child welfare history that includes three (3) or more assessments within the past year regarding the household members in the current referral;
  3. Narrative that identifies the alleged victim child(ren)/youth as a child/youth with a vulnerability as defined in section 7.000.2;
  4. Two (2) or more screened out non-duplicative referrals with no assessment in the prior twelve (12) months; and/or
  5. Criminal history that includes felony and/or misdemeanor convictions related to child abuse and/or neglect, including crimes of violence, domestic violence, and/or unlawful sexual behavior regarding the household members in the current referral.
  6. County departments practicing Differential Response shall utilize the RED Team process for track assignment decisions when considering the Family Assessment Response (FAR) track on assessments requiring three (3) calendar or five (5) business day response times.
  7. The Red Team process is not required for review of the following exceptions: 1. Referrals necessitating an immediate response; 2. Referrals necessitating a response prior to the next business day; 3. Referrals alleging institutional abuse and/or neglect; or 4. Referrals alleging youth in conflict. D. County departments may choose to utilize the RED team process for the above exceptions.
  8. The RED team process shall be documented in the framework. The documentation shall reflect the discussion and justification for the decisions.
  9. All RED team decisions shall be approved by a certified supervisor by the end of the calendar day and documented in the comprehensive child welfare information system by the end of the next business day.

Trails Screenshots

If you’re part of a Differential Response (DR) county, then you’ll be helping make decisions in RED Team as to whether or not a referral will be assigned as High-Risk Assessment or Family Assessment Response. This will be done using the criteria in the Agency Response Guide. If you’re not in a DR county, you will still use the Agency Response Guide to make decisions in RED Team regarding referral criteria. Additionally, if you are part of a DR county, there are specific trainings you will attend to learn about those processes/practices.

Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.103.8 DIFFERENTIAL RESPONSE [Eff. 1/1/15]

  1. County departments that implement Differential Response shall utilize the RED Team framework to review referrals, determine response times, and determine the appropriate track assignment in accordance with the approved RED Team process.
  2. High Risk Assessment (HRA) is mandatory for a child fatality, near fatality, or egregious incident determined to be the result of abuse and/or neglect, institutional abuse, and intrafamilial sexual abuse. RED Teams may use discretion to assign a High Risk Assessment (HRA) based on the following factors: present danger, multiple previous referrals, and/or presenting case characteristics such as type of alleged maltreatment paired with high vulnerability of the alleged victim.
  3. The Family Assessment Response (FAR) is for referrals with low to moderate risk. RED teams may use discretion to assign the Family Assessment Response (FAR) in assessments alleging a child fatality, near fatality, or egregious incident. If it is determined that a child fatality, near fatality or egregious incident is the result of abuse and/or neglect, the track shall be changed to a High Risk Assessment. Institutional abuse or intrafamilial sexual abuse shall not be assigned the Family Assessment Response (FAR).

Trails Screenshots

If you’re part of a county that has implemented Differential Response, then there will be times that you and your worker make the decision to change tracks from a FAR (Family Assessment Response) to an HRA (High-Risk Assessment). This change only goes one way: you cannot change from an HRA to a FAR. Once your county determines that there are concerns that cannot be addressed through a FAR, then your county may change tracks to an HRA if that assessment is still within the initial 60 days. If safety cannot be maintained after 60 days of FAR involvement, then a case shall be opened and/or a D&N may be filed at that point.

Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.104 Intrafamilial, Institutional, And Third-Party Abuse And/Or Neglect Assessments [Eff 3/1/18]

  1. For county departments implementing Differential Response, in the first sixty (60) calendar days of a Family Assessment Response (FAR), upon supervisory approval, the caseworker may change tracks to a High Risk Assessment (HRA) to assess, attain or maintain child(ren)/youth safety due to lack of cooperation or additional information gathered during the assessment, or if requested to do so by the person(s) alleged to be responsible for the abuse and/or neglect.
  2. For county departments implementing Differential Response, if at any point safety cannot be sustained in a Family Assessment Response (FAR), the caseworker, with approval from the supervisor, shall open a case and/or request court orders.

Trails Screenshots

 As a supervisor, it is important for you to help workers understand the impact that a founded finding of abuse and/or neglect may have on a family and how to explain how to initiate the appeals process, should the family wish to pursue that option. The person identified as responsible for the abuse/neglect has only 90 days from the date the notification letter is printed from Trails to initiate an appeal; it is imperative that workers are able to clearly explain this to families.

Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.104.15 Notice [Eff. 3/1/18]

  1. When the assessment results in a finding of founded abuse and/or neglect, county departments shall provide additional notice as described below:
  2. County departments shall notify the person found responsible for child abuse and/or neglect of the finding by first-class mail to the responsible person’s last known mailing address, using a form approved by the State Department. County departments shall retain a copy of the notice in the case file showing the date of mailing. The notice shall include the following information:
  3. The type and severity level of the abuse and/or neglect, the date the referral was made to the county department, which county department completed the assessment, the date the county department made the finding in the state automated case management system, and information concerning persons or agencies that have access to the information.
  4. The circumstances under which information contained in the state automated case management system will be provided to other individuals or agencies.
  5. How to access the county’s dispute resolution process. County departments are authorized to offer a county dispute resolution process to persons alleged to be responsible for abuse and/or neglect.
  6. The right of the person found to be responsible for abuse and/or neglects to request a state level appeal as set forth in Sections 7.111 through 7.112. The county department shall provide the State Department approved appeal form to the person found to be responsible for abuse and/or neglect.
  7. Notice that the scope of the appeal is limited to challenges that the finding(s) are not supported by a preponderance of the evidence or that the actions found to be abuse and/or neglect do not meet the legal definitions of abuse and/or neglect. The State Department will be responsible for defending the determination at the state level fair hearing.
  8. A full explanation of all alternatives and deadlines contained in Sections 7.111 through 7.112.

Trails Screenshots

Some of the most important documents you’ll be reviewing and signing off on are the safety assessment tools and safety plans completed by your workers. The safety assessment tool is completed with every family we come into contact with in the intake phase of family involvement. There are multiple additional times during the ongoing phase when the tool may or must be completed. As a leader, it is essential that you understand how this tool works, how to engage families with this tool, and how to have impactful conversations with your workers to help build value around the tool. Some key questions to consider:

  • How will I ensure my workers have an understanding of how to engage families with this tool? (Discuss in supervision, shadow them in the field, etc.)
  • How can I be sure to incorporate questions about the tool’s use into each case staffing/supervision session to create accountability around its use?
  • How will I get my own questions about the tool answered? (It’s okay to have them!)

 

Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.104.131 Timing [Eff. 3/1/18]

  1. The Colorado Family Safety Assessment tool shall be approved in the state automated case management system by a certified supervisor as soon as possible and no later than fourteen (14) calendar days from the date the alleged victim child(ren)/youth was interviewed or observed.

 

7.107.18 Timing and Documentation [Eff.1/1/17]

  1. If the child(ren)/youth is determined to be in current or impending danger, the safety assessment, safety plan, or decision to initiate human or social services custody shall be reviewed and approved through contact with a supervisor as soon as possible and no later than twenty-four (24) hours from the interview or observation with the alleged victim child(ren)/youth. Supervisor contact and approval shall be documented in the state automated case management system within fourteen (14) calendar days of the alleged victim child(ren)/youth interview or observation.

Trails Screenshots

Volume 7 does not give any direction regarding a supervisor’s specific role in family meetings. Therefore, it is important that as a leader, you decide how you want to show up in this role. Here are some key questions to consider when it comes to family meetings:

  • What are the group agreements I want my workers to be sure to bring up with the facilitator/family in the room?
  • What alliance/agreements do I want to create with my worker prior to the meeting? (How do they need/want me to show up for them during the meeting?)
  • How will I be sure my workers are aware of when Volume 7 requires a family meeting to be held?

Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.107.23 Risk Analysis [Eff. 1/1/17]

If the risk assessment score is high, the county shall document reasonable efforts to hold a family engagement meeting to discuss next steps with the family.

7.107.24 Timing and Documentation [Eff. 1/1/17]

  1. Family Engagement Meetings shall be documented in the framework in the state automated case management system. 

Trails Screenshots

An important part of your leadership role is the consistent and impactful review of your team’s cases. Even if you’re not an ongoing supervisor, your workers may still carry an occasional ongoing case, so it’s important that you understand the 90-Day Review process. This is an ongoing process that happens in partnership between the supervisor and the ongoing worker. It is a chance for you both to review what has been happening in the last 90 days of the case and what progress with the treatment plan objectives has or hasn’t occurred in that time. It is important to note that this review is meant to happen together, not individually. Some key questions to consider in your leadership role as it pertains to 90-Day Reviews:

  • How will I ensure my workers understand this process?
  • How will I help my team create value around the 90-Day Review and not just see it as another form of paperwork?
  • How will I clearly communicate my expectations and reasoning around partnering with my workers on the 90-Day Review process?

Volume 7 (Relevant Sections)

7.301.3 FAMILY SERVICES PLAN REVIEW AND UPDATES

  1. The treatment/prevention plan shall be reviewed in conference with the caseworker and the supervisor. Documentation by the caseworker and approval by the supervisor shall be entered in the state automated case management system within 90 calendar days from the initial treatment/prevention plan and then within 90 calendar days from the prior review and thereafter. The court report, when entered in the state automated case management system, or six month administrative review of children in out of home placement, may substitute for a 90 day review. The conference shall address:
  2. The Safety needs of the child to include: if a new referral was received how it was managed, and if a new assessment was completed a summary of the outcome;
  3. The appropriateness of the child’s current residence and how it meets the child’s needs;
  4. Whether the child, parents, family members and placement providers if applicable, are receiving the specific services mandated by the family services plan, and services are appropriate, time frames are current and progress is being made towards the specific objectives identified in the plan;
  5. Identification of the barriers hindering the progress and how the are being addressed. What strengths are being used to mitigate barriers;
  6. Appropriateness of the child’s permanency goal, time frames to achieve permanency and efforts to finalize a permanent plan;
  7. Summary of initial and ongoing family search and engagement efforts and steps taken to develop ongoing supports. These efforts shall continue per section 7.304.52, C, 1-4.

 

Trails Screenshots

As a leader, one of your most important roles will be supporting your workers in being prepared for the many tasks they have to complete in their work with families. Counties have many different processes in place to help do this. Some counties implement specific policies and procedures related to worker preparation for certain tasks, and others leave it more open to each supervisor to decide how they wish to do it for their individual teams. Below are some tips to help prepare workers for court/review processes and quick links to specific sections in Volume 7 related to some formal review processes.

Court

Find out what processes/timeframes your courts and county have in place for submitting reports, treatment plans, etc., by speaking with your own supervisor and/or peers.

Administrative Review Division (ARD) Website

https://cdhs.colorado.gov/ARD

 

7.106.1 EGREGIOUS INCIDENTS OF ABUSE AND/OR NEGLECT, NEAR FATALITIES, OR CHILD FATALITIES [Eff. 1/1/15]  

7.106.13 Reporting to the State [Eff. 9/1/2018]

7.106.14 State Review of an Incident of Egregious Abuse or Neglect, Near Fatality or Fatality of a Child [Eff. 1/1/15]

7.106.15 CASE SPECIFIC REVIEW REPORT [Eff. 1/1/15]

7.106.16 CHILD FATALITY REVIEW TEAM ANNUAL REPORT [Eff. 1/1/15]

ROM was established in 2014 in response to the Failed to Death media investigation, as part of the governor’s Safe Kids, Strong Families 2.0 initiative, with a goal of creating more transparency with constituents regarding child welfare services. There are two versions: a county-viewable version, which has worker, case, and county-specific data, and a public-facing version, where the community can see child welfare data (e.g., how many referrals were received and assigned, how many children were removed). Data equity was also a goal of establishing ROM— counties of all sizes have the same level of access. ROM gets its information directly from Trails and uploads once per week.

ROM can be utilized as a supervisory tool to help supervisors and caseworkers alike monitor outcomes, identify trends, themes, or biases in practice, measure progress toward goals, and so forth.

Access the Colorado ROM Reports.  

Resources

ROM Tutorial handout

Random Moment Sampling is used to measure time spent by the county social/human services department providing direct services. This information is used for federal funding reimbursement. Since the sampling is random, some individuals may be selected multiple times while others not at all. As a supervisor, it is important to encourage staff to be honest and accurate when completing a sample and help them understand how it impacts funding.

Resources