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September 2010Vol. 11, No. 7How ACF Determined CFSR Composite Scores

A new report posted on the Children's Bureau website provides background on the ACF decision to use composite scores in the second round of the CFSRs in order to increase objectivity and ensure a data-driven process. The Child and Family Services Review's (CFSR) Use of Composite Scores in a Pragmatic Context discusses:

  • Benefits of using composite scores
  • Use of principal component analysis (PCA) to construct composite scores
  • Data quality
  • Available technical assistance

The article also addresses questions concerning consistency among measures, weighting of data, longitudinal/cohort measures, and specific statistical processes, among others.

Comprehensive appendices provide supporting data, as well as a summary of PCA steps and revised steps for computing the national standards. Tables also provide ranked State permanency composites for each of the four permanency measures and analyses on measuring improvement for each State and permanency measure.

The report concludes that, given the available set of variables, the current set of composite scores provides optimally reliable criteria for evaluating State performance.

To read the full report, visit the CB website: