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The Federal Child and Family Services Review Project



The federal government created the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) in response to the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA). The CFSR is an assessment of a state’s performance related to child welfare. All States are assessed in the areas of child protection, foster care, adoption, family connections and independent living services. Much of the CFSR looks at outcomes data and other sources to assess each State’s ability to achieve 1) Safety, 2) Permanency, and 3) Well-being for children and families. Specifically, the CFSR is conducted by the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in collaboration with each state. The CFSR is conducted in two parts: a Statewide Assessment and an Onsite Review.
After the Onsite Review is completed, the Program Improvement Plan (PIP) organization and implementation process officially begins. For any of the outcomes or systemic factors in which the State is determined not to be in substantial conformity, the State must develop and implement a PIP designed to correct the area/s of non-conformity. The determination is made based on the findings of the statewide assessment, onsite review and State data profile in the outcomes and systemic factor areas.

The state implemented the PIP during a two-year period; July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011. As part of the plan, California agreed to meet certain federal outcome benchmarks by a certain time, or face financial sanctions. By the end of the two-year PIP (June 30, 2011), California met all six strategies and action steps associated with each strategy and all 17 data measures.

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Updates

The ACF issued Technical Bulletin #7 on March 14, 2014 and provided a brief summary of processes for initiation of CFSR Round Three. California is scheduled to undergo its CFSR in 2016.

The ACF issued Technical Bulletin #6 on February 4, 2013 and provided a brief summary of Rounds One and Two and direction regarding initiation of CFSR Round Three. Rounds One and Two of the CFSRs took place for all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico during Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 2001-2004 and FFYs 2007-2010 respectively. On April 5, 2011, the Children’s Bureau (CB) published a Federal Register notice (76 FR 18677) soliciting comments from the States, Tribes, and other stakeholders about how the CFSRs might be improved to benefit child and family outcomes. Based on the comments received from the public, the CB revised the process of evaluating the CFSR for Round Three.

The CB strongly encourages States to review the information contained in the Children’s Bureau Information Memorandum regarding establishing and maintaining continuous quality improvement (CQI) systems in State child welfare agencies.

Approved PIP

PIP Kick-off Meeting Materials

Statewide Assessment

California is currently in the 2nd round of Child and Family Service Reviews (CFSR). The initial phase, the Statewide Assessment, was completed in December 2007. The assessment analyzed items of safety, permanency, well-being and systemic factors of the state's child welfare system.

Onsite Review

The onsite review is the second phase of the CFSR and will consist of case reviews in three counties during the week of February 4-8, 2008, as well as local and State level stakeholder interviews. During the onsite review, a combined total of 65 cases will be reviewed. The counties chosen are Los Angeles, Fresno and Santa Clara counties. Los Angeles is a required site as the state's largest metropolitan area and the other sites were chosen based on a representation of State demographics, innovative practices, and their representation of cross-section practice. For further information regarding the selection of the onsite counties, please click here .