Child and Family Services Review

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The Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) is a federal review of performance-based outcomes for children and families. The review examines the delivery of child welfare services and the outcomes for children and families served by child protective services, foster care, adoption and other related programs.

The Washington Child and Family Services Review was completed in September 2010. Washington's CFSR 2010 Report was released in May 2011.

Program Improvement Plan

Washington developed a Program Improvement Plan to address the areas which the review identified as in need of improvement. The primary strategies of the plan are to:

  1. Implement a new approach to ensure child safety
  2. Increase family engagement
  3. Improve child and family well-being
  4. Increase focus on legal permanency for children
  5. Improve the court case review system
  6. Improve the service array available to children and families

About the Review

Why are these reviews done?

In addition to measuring compliance with federal legislation, the review provides an opportunity for states to engage in quality improvement of the services to children and families throughout the state.

Who conducts the review?

The reviews are conducted by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). During the onsite portion of the review, teams of DHHS staff, consultants and state representatives review a small sample of case records and interview stakeholders.

How often are they done?

This is the second time the federal government has reviewed state child welfare services using performance-based outcomes. DHHS has completed the second round of reviews for each state. Washington was the last state reviewed in Round 2. Once a state completes the review, they have two years to work on a program improvement plan before they are reviewed again.

What does the review look at?

The review looks at outcomes for children and families in the three main areas of safety, permanency, and child and family well-being.

The review also examines each state's infrastructure or 'system' that supports the delivery of child welfare services. These systemic factors include such things as staff training, evaluation of a state's data systems to track cases, and the state's efforts to license and recruit foster parents.

How is the review conducted?

The primary elements of the review include:

  • Statewide data collection and analysis
  • State's assessment
  • Week-long onsite review

The review assesses what is actually happening to children and families who are receiving child welfare services in each state. The review takes many different aspects of child welfare into consideration. A small sample of case records are examined to analyze how the child welfare system responds to help both the child and the family. Children and families are interviewed, as are representatives of other child welfare agencies and the courts.

Is there a report?

A final report is developed following the onsite portion of the review. The report summarizes the state's performance during the specified time period on seven child welfare outcomes pertaining to safety, permanency and well-being and on seven systemic factors.

Six data outcome measures and information from the case review process and stakeholder interviews result in findings and a determination of whether or not the state achieved conformity with federal requirements and standards. The report also details strengths and areas where improvements are needed.

Are all states reviewed?

Yes, all 50 states are reviewed as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

Program Improvement Plan Links

Related Activities

Questions about the CFSR?