Bradley social services get mixed review
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Feb 14, 2013 | 1296 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In Home Tennessee
ROXANNE WOOTEN, from left, Eloise Waters and Emily McComb were several Bradley County representatives at the In Home Tennessee meeting for Bradley, Polk, and McMinn counties Wednesday morning. Banner Photo, DELANEY WALKER
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Department of Children’s Services employees met Wednesday with representatives from agencies in Bradley, Polk and McMinn counties to discuss last October’s service array assessment.

“In Home Tennessee is about enhancing the services we already have and enhancing the good work we already do,” said Crystal Parker, representative from the Office of Child Safety in DCS.

The assessment broke down services offered by the three counties. Representatives from nonprofit organizations, social services and law enforcement were asked to rate the services. Each was judged on a scale from “always good” to “poor.”

DCS employees compiled the data and created committees to handle the process. Representatives from the three counties listened to a two-hour presentation on the data collected.

According to Elaine Hong, project lead, a major issue for McMinn and Polk counties is transportation. She said Bradley did not have the same problem.

Compiled data revealed Bradley County’s trouble spots in need of improvement.

Despite scoring “sometimes good” in a majority of the Life Skills Training and Household Management category, Bradley representatives listed the cultural responsiveness of the services as “poor.”

In addition, every category under Family Visitation Services, Centers and Locations of Kinship Care received a “poor” rating.

Respite Care for Parents also received a resounding “poor.”

These two areas will be addressed on a broad level through three workgroups: Respite Care for Parents, Visitation Centers and Absent Parent.

Hong said needs were seen for all three services across the board. According to the compiled research, Bradley is not the only one with a poor rating in the family visitation services and respite care for parents. Groups across the region — Hamilton, Franklin and Rhea — expressed their services as either “not applicable” or “poor.”

Representatives believed both categories reached less than 25 percent of the population.

A majority of Bradley’s representatives marked the services as “sometimes good,” “often good” and “always good.”

According to Bradley’s representatives, roughly 50 to 75 percent of the population have access to the services.

Emily McComb from United Way praised the assessment.

“I think this research is awesome. It is great to have things broken down, not just how is something doing in general, but how they are doing internally and at relating to other groups,” McComb said.

“It is really helpful to see how much of the population is able to get to these services.”

Roxanne Wooten from the Bradley County Health Department agreed.

“Anytime you break down silence between agencies, you come out with a better product,” Wooten said.

She said she is appreciative of the services offered in Bradley County.

“I think we are very fortunate in Bradley Count to have tremendous resources compared to other counties,” Wooten said.

Committees created post-service array assessments including Communication; Practice; Service Array; and Evaluation.

Hong said it is a part of the Service Array committee’s job to address partnerships and work out barriers. They began by pooling information together. The next step was to place the information in a workable form.

“It is our responsibility to make sure this collaboration does not die off,” Hong said.

More information can be found by contacting Hong at elaine.hong@tn.gov.