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October 2004Vol. 5, No. 8Child and Family Services Review Data Released

The Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its report on findings from the initial Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) for 2001 to 2004. This is the first report that includes data from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico regarding States' conformity with Federal standards for child welfare.

The CFSRs are a comprehensive monitoring process that incorporates three phases: (1) a self-assessment by each State of its child welfare system, (2) an onsite assessment of each State's child welfare system by HHS reviewers, and (3) development of a program improvement plan (PIP) by each State to address areas in need of improvement. The CFSRs set outcome goals for the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families, as well as for systemic factors related to child welfare agency operations. Each State is assessed against these outcomes by measuring performance on 45 indicators.

This latest report on the CFSRs includes information on State-level analyses and case-level analyses. State-level data show how many States were in substantial conformity with the outcomes and indicators, common challenges faced by the States, and relationships between systemic factors and outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being. Case-level analyses provide information on cases involving children in foster care and in-home cases reviewed across all States. Analyses also examined key characteristics of these cases (e.g., age of child, race, caseworker visits), as well as the relationships between these characteristics and outcomes and indicators.

Major findings from this latest round of CFSR reports show that:

  • Of the seven outcomes measured by the CFSRs, Well-Being Outcome 2 ("children receive services to meet their educational needs") was met by the highest number of States (16). No States achieved substantial conformity to Well-Being Outcome 1 ("families have enhanced capacity to provide for children's needs") or to Permanency Outcome 1 ("children have permanency and stability in their living situations").
  • States performed better on systemic factors, with more than half of States showing substantial conformity with each of five of the seven factors: (1) Training, (2) Quality Assurance, (3) Statewide Information Systems, (4) Agency Responsiveness to the Community, and (5) Foster and Adoptive Parent Licensing, Recruitment, and Retention.

Currently, most States are in various stages of developing or implementing their PIPs; as of October 1 four States have been determined to have successfully completed the PIP implementation process. When PIP implementation is complete, States will participate in a second round of reviews to measure their progress.

Additional information about the CFSRs, including results and reports, can be found at

Related Item

Read about CFSR results for the first 17 States in the October 2002 issue of Children's Bureau Express in "Results of 2001 Child and Family Services Reviews Released."