The role of supervisors in developing clinical decision-making skills in child protective services (CPS)


Due to the often chaotic and overwhelmed work environment of most CPS units in the state of Tennessee, staff are concerned that critical decisions made throughout the life of any given case are made quickly, with scant information, and with little time given to thoughtful analysis of information that is known. Since the eyes and ears of the frontline case manager are the primary tools in gathering case information, and given that many case managers may have only a few months of experience, we posed the question "how can specific supervisory behaviors better support the work of staff in the field, helping to educate case managers and improve their basic skills of interviewing and observation?" The purpose of this article is to examine the applicability of clinical decision-making as a tool for effective skills building in child protective services supervision. Based on a training intervention methodology designed to teach child protective services supervisors 'best practices' approaches as it relates to evidence based practice, and the opportunity for these skills to be modeled for first line workers, the article presents process data from the specifically designed learning lab (clinical decisionmaking), feedback from supervisors and middle managers regarding implementation (challenges and solution), and a review of the individual learning plans to assess the front line supervisors attitude regarding clinical decisionmaking. © 2007 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work