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March 2014Vol. 15, No. 3Quality Assessments in Child Welfare

Assessment is a fundamental part of child welfare work, from intake to adoption, and is conducted by child protective services (CPS) and other child welfare-related professionals to help ensure that the services provided to children and families are appropriate and beneficial. The December 2013 issue of Practice Notes focuses on conducting quality child welfare work assessments, practitioners' interest in developing their assessment skills and processes, and what is currently being done in North Carolina to strengthen assessments and improve outcomes for children and families.

Articles in this issue highlight the following:
  • The increase in CPS assessments in North Carolina (12 percent in 10 years) at the same time that the number of children in the State declined by 7 percent 
  • The usefulness of a Comprehensive Family Assessment or "umbrella" assessment framework in child welfare, the related Children's Bureau guidelines, and a list of commonly used assessment terms
  • The importance of enhancing family engagement in order to strengthen child welfare assessments, including a list of 12 tips that may help practitioners engage families, the associated barriers to engagement, and national and North Carolina-specific family engagement resources and trainings
  • Examples of North Carolina's system- and agency-level efforts to strengthen assessments
  • Some of the specialized assessments and tools North Carolina child welfare professionals commonly use in their work, including developmental assessments, domestic violence assessment tools, functional assessments, and medical evaluations/physical exams

Practice Notes, 19(1), 2013, produced by the North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Family and Children's Resource Program, is available on the Practice Notes website: