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April 2012Vol. 13, No. 3Decision-Making Tools Library for Child Welfare

To offer the most up-to-date tools and resources to the child welfare field, the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services (NRCCPS) recently announced the launch of its online Decision-Making Tools Library. All the items are from State Liaison Officers who currently use them in their child welfare agencies. So far, 18 States and the Virgin Islands have contributed.

Resources in this library are instruments, policies, and procedures that guide child welfare staff in gathering information to make decisions regarding a child's safety, measuring levels of risk and family functioning, assessing the strengths and needs of the child or family, and judging if a case is ready to be closed. The types of tools differ according to each State's child welfare system and represent various stages, from an initial hotline call through case closure. "Not all States use tools for all levels of decision-making," said Kathy Simms, consultant with NRCCPS, "so that is why the number of tools provided varies greatly from State to State."

Among the library's resources are assessments, safety plans, and guidelines for intake and investigation, for example:

  • Maine's Pediatric Symptom Checklist
  • Nebraska's Dependency Screening Tool
  • North Carolina's Structured Intake Policy
  • Ohio's Family Service Plan Review Instructions
  • West Virginia's Protective Capacity Family Assessment

In addition, there are policies and procedures that cover topics such as educational neglect, homeschooling, and needs assessments for children.

The library will update and verify its contents every 6 months and add resources as more States and territories participate.

For more information on the library and how to contribute, contact Kathy Simms at

Visit the website here: