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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Mar. 28, 2007

DHSS Contact: Susan Morgan, Cell (907) 632-6107, (907) 269-4996
Sherry Hill, (907) 465-1618, Cell (907) 321-2838

Reports evaluating OCS internal operations released

HESS hearings this week examine results of consultant review of agency

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( Juneau, Alaska) ─ Today the head of the Office of Children’s Services, Tammy Sandoval, addressed the Senate Health, Education and Social Services Committee to discuss OCS system improvements and challenges. The presentation included a summary of a consultant evaluation of OCS operations, at which time the reports were released to the public, as part of the department’s continued efforts to be open and transparent.

In 2006, the Department of Health and Social Services contracted with an outside consultant, ACTION for Child Protection, Inc., to study and evaluate internal operations of the Office of Children’s Services.

“In recent years, OCS has made significant progress in changing internal operations to better meet the challenges of child protection in Alaska,” said Sandoval.

Those changes include developing and implementing a new child protection information management system (ORCA), training staff in and implementing a new safety assessment model for child abuse investigations, and successfully completing a Program Improvement Plan (PIP) with federal partners.

“It was important to have an outside consultant evaluate those functions within OCS that need further improvements,” DHSS Commissioner Karleen Jackson said.

The consultant evaluated the operations of the Office of Children’s Services within four functions: organizational structure, community relationships, effectiveness of policy and procedures, and training curriculum.

Sandoval has met with groups including the Citizen Review Panel, members of OCS staff, and today the Alaska Legislature to discuss the findings of the reports.

“OCS has already been on a path of continuing system reform,” Sandoval said. “These reports give us further guidelines for the direction OCS should go in the future.”

The reports are available on-line at http://hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Publications/2007_consultant/ .

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Fact Sheet: Alaska Office of Children's Services evaluated , (PDF 100KB)