Each year, the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) selects a handful of issues to study through its Program Evaluation Division. Child Protection Screening is one of seven issues selected for evaluation this year.
The OLA is a nonpartisan office within the legislative branch. "The office's principal goal is to provide the Legislature, agencies, and the public with audit and evaluation reports that are accurate, objective, timely, and useful. Through its reports, the office seeks to strengthen accountability and promote good management in government."
Their studies are likely to draw significant attention to each of the issues selected this year. Child Protection Screening will be under a spotlight and the OLA findings often have the capacity to prompt changes. The report is definitely something to watch for when released.
The Background Paper is a snapshot into the CPS system and Minnesota's Family Assessment process. It's a quick read - just one page - and a preview of the issues that the evaluation might address. Wondering why Child Protection Screening caught the OLA's attention? Surely, a number of reasons - maybe this statistic had something to do with it:
"'Screened out' cases represented 67% of Minnesota's maltreatment allegations in
fiscal year 2009, compared with 38% nationally."
Whether that stat is a good or a troubling one is a question the OLA will likely dive into. Other possible evaluation questions include:
- Variation across counties
- Legal guidance
- Department of Human Service oversight