Child protective services (CPS) staff must decide whether abuse or neglect has occurred, what services may help alleviate the concerns that brought the family to the attention of CPS, whether to recommend the case move to ongoing services, and whether children should be removed from their homes for their safety. An overview of assessments, tools, and frameworks are provided to assist CPS staff with decision-making. Resources include State and local examples.
Child Welfare Decision Making
American Humane Association
Provides a monograph summarizing a general conceptual framework for decision-making in child welfare and provides a platform for creating research questions and interpreting research findings.
The CPS Safety Intervention System (PDF - 68 KB)
Action for Child Protection
Provides an overview, key concepts, principles, and a framework to clearly communicate standards for practice and decision-making and to provide education and guidance for child protective services (CPS) staff and leaders.
New England Safety and Risk Assessments
Casey Family Programs (2011)
Discusses the process and results of a project to improve practices in which child welfare agencies and local communities assess child safety and determine what risk factors may lead to abuse or neglect. The report explores changes individuals made in seven key areas of practice, such as cultural responsiveness to constituent involvement, use of assessment tools, and decision-making.
Analyze Information for Decision-Making (PDF - 201 KB)
Florida's Center for the Advancement of Child Welfare Practice
Provides a checklist of considerations when conducting a child welfare investigation and providing a safety response.
An Expert Review of Curriculum In Support of Practice and Decision Making During Investigation (PDF - 33 KB)
ACTION for Child Protection & Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (2007)
Presents the results of a review of the Alaska Office of Children's Services training curriculum for new employees to evaluate the extent to which staff development and competency building contribute to effective practice and decision-making associated with safety intervention and investigation and makes recommendations for improvement.