Differential response is the option to assign an investigation or a family assessment when a child protective services hotline registers a report of child abuse or neglect.
Rather than initiating an investigation for all screened-in reports, differential response offers an opportunity for caseworkers to, after employing safety and risk assessments, engage families and develop a tailored service plan to reduce risk and enhance safety and well-being.
Differential response offers flexibility that can reduce racial disproportionality and disparity in child welfare. This approach encourages jurisdictions to partner with community-based resources, including concrete supports for families in which serious safety issues are not present. This allows caseworkers to focus more time on families with greater needs.
Learn more about successful strategies and approaches that disentangle poverty from neglect, promote family-centered healing, and support meaningful partnership and engagement with families.
Adjust the filters below to refine your list of resources.
Can’t find what you need in the filtered results? Try searching our Library catalog to access a large selection of peer-reviewed journal articles, evaluation reports, Children’s Bureau grant materials, research studies, and more.
Differential Response: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals
Find information on the practice of differential response in responding to child welfare cases, review various approaches to support children and families, and explore recent State implementation efforts that highlight this practice in the field.
Child Welfare Practice to Address Racial Disproportionality and Disparity
Explore factors that contribute to racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system. The publication also outlines strategies to assist professionals with addressing these issues and decision-making along the continuum.
Family Engagement: Partnering With Families to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes
Find information on the foundational elements of the family engagement approach, followed by strategies and promising practices for implementing it for frontline caseworkers who directly engage families to promote safety, permanency, and well-being.
Separating Poverty From Neglect in Child Welfare
Explore the overlap among families experiencing poverty and those reported to the child welfare system for neglect, the societal context within which poverty and neglect exist, and strategies for preventing and addressing both poverty and neglect.
Learn about alternative response, also known as differential response. In this strategy, lower risk cases receive a more supportive, service-oriented, and strengths-focused approach, as opposed to the traditional assessment and intervention process. ...Read More
What is Differential Response?
Read about differential response, an alternative to traditional investigations in child welfare that focuses on partnering with families to provide services that meet their needs while increasing their access to supports and services.