More Details on Changes to CFSR Data Elements

The Children’s Bureau (CB) continues to provide details and solicit comments on the third round of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). On Monday, April 28th CB sponsored a conference call to describe some of the changes that will be implemented as states embark on this review. The following highlights were discussed on the call and can be found in the CFSR guidance and proposed rule.

  • State success will be judged against a national standard instead of previous reviews that made assessments based on a state reaching the 75th percentile of states. The national standard will also be an attempt to build in factors unique to states.
  • In terms of child maltreatment the review will assess all children that are screened in for a report of child abuse and neglect instead of just children who are substantiated as victims. The review will then look at the instances when children were reported again within a 12 month period. States have an initial screen of child abuse reports and then determine whether a child is substantiated as abused or neglected. Some states use of differential response means a child is either determined as a “victim” or “non-victim.” This new standard would consider all children screened in to better assess reoccurring maltreatment.
  • Another data change for the CFSR is the use of entry cohorts, or looking at those children that enter care rather than assessing children who leave or children at a point in time. (The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) determines the annual foster care statistic with a point in time count at the end of the federal fiscal year.)
  • The CFSRs will also assess permanency in a different way by examining data not just on children leaving foster care for reunification but also leaving foster care for adoption and subsidized guardianships.
  • The CB will also start to examine children who have been in foster care for two years in an effort to have a better assessment of some long term foster care placements.

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