An Essential Intervention Concept
The caregiver protective capacity concept is relatively new to the child welfare/ child protective services (CPS) field having appeared in the literature in the mid90s. Caregiver protective capacity was first introduced as a variable within the definition for child safety. It is an operating concept primarily associated with CPS. We believe that this concept will reform CPS by providing clear focus and direction in assessment and treatment of CPS cases. Already agencies are building their intervention models around the concept of caregiver protective capacities.
The concept of caregiver protective capacities occurs as an essential aspect of safety assessment. The question of the capacity of a person to protect a child serves to determine who CPS will serve. A least intrusive approach results in case plans and remedial services being centered on the enhancement of caregiver protective capacities as required by the Adoption and Safe Families Act.
Finally we have found an intervention concept that is easy for CPS staff to understand and employ.
What Are Caregiver Protective Capacities?
Caregiver protective capacities are personal and parenting characteristics that are specifically and directly associated with protecting one’s young.
Caregiver protective capacities are considered enhanced when a person fully employs cognitive, emotional and behavioral attributes in order to assure a child is safe from threats of severe harm.
Caregiver protective capacities are considered to be diminished when a person cannot or will not exert necessary action and behavior to assure a child is safe from severe harm.
Enhancing diminished caregiver protective capacities should be the primary interest in CPS intervention.
Caregiver Protective Capacity Domains
Specific intellect, knowledge, understanding and perception that results in protective vigilance
Specific feelings, attitudes, and identification with a child and motivation resulting in protective vigilance
Specific action, activity and performance that is consistent with and results in protective vigilance