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April 2022Vol. 23, No. 3Applying Safety Science to Critical Incident Reviews

A recent strategy brief from Casey Family Programs explores the movement toward applying safety science to critical incident reviews (CIRs). Safety science involves using scientific methods of learning and investigation to understand, manage, and assess safety. When applied to CIRs in a child welfare context, this means using an evidence- and research-based approach to improve response and prevention practices. It is a high-level approach that promotes overall systemic accountability and applies systemic methods of learning and investigation. Without a safety science approach, child welfare agencies may take reactive actions to a child fatality or other tragic event, such as firing a leader, which often does not contribute to preventing future incidents.

The National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS), a collaborative founded by Casey Family Programs and child welfare agencies from 11 jurisdictions, is advocating to normalize this safety science approach to CIRs. The strategy brief includes takeaways from four NPCS jurisdictions that implemented the approach.