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February 2015Vol. 16, No. 1Comprehensive Family Assessments Grants Synthesis

A recent publication from Child Welfare Information Gateway summarizes the Children's Bureau's recent work in relation to comprehensive family assessments (CFAs) in child welfare. As a result of Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR) findings indicating a connection between CFAs and positive child and family outcomes, the Children's Bureau supported the development of Comprehensive Family Assessment Guidelines. The guidelines explore the nature of CFA and its relationship to other agency operations.

To move the guidelines into practice, the Children's Bureau funded a cluster of 5-year discretionary grants in 2007 to develop, implement, and evaluate CFAs in the child welfare arena. Information Gateway's CFA brief includes individual synopses of the five Children's Bureau CFA grant projects, with links to specific project information, grantee reports, and resources.

According to the CFA guidelines, "Comprehensive family assessment [CFA] is recommended when it is determined that the child welfare agency is responsible for serving the family. Such assessment goes beyond the investigation to permit the identification and provision of services that are specifically targeted to address the family's needs and problems and insure the child's safety, well-being, and permanency."

To access the guidelines, visit To learn more about the Using Comprehensive Family Assessments to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes project, visit and read Comprehensive Family Assessment: A Brief Synthesis at (263 KB).