Many child welfare agencies use safety and/ or risk assessment instruments to help workers assess families. These tools can provide a structure for assessing current and future harm to the child. However, to be most effective, they should be coupled with a more comprehensive assessment of the family to help engage them in building solutions. Safety and risk assessment instruments are more effective when they are directly connected to service planning and monitoring the ongoing progress of the case. Also find resources specific to the screening and assessment of child trauma. Resources include State and local examples.
A Framework for Safety in Child Welfare (PDF - 493 KB)
National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (2009)
Helps public child welfare agencies establish a best practice standard for safety assessment and intervention flexible enough to address the changing needs and circumstances of families, agencies, communities, and resources.
Risk and Safety Assessment in Child Welfare: Instrument Comparisons (PDF - 263 KB)
University of California, Berkeley, Center for Social Services Research (2005)
Provides current approaches, research evidence for various tools/instruments, descriptions of instruments, and implications for practice. California's efforts to standardize the process across the State are discussed.
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare.,United States. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Young, Nancy K.,Nakashian, Mary.,Yeh, Shaila.,Amatetti, Sharon.
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The Signs of Safety: Child Protection Practice Framework (PDF – 1,218 KB)
Government of Western Australia Department for Child Protection (2011)
Presents the overarching challenge in implanting the Signs of Safety framework—including the principles and disciplines as they affect assessment and planning, safety planning specifically, and working with children—among all child protection staff, from the new and relatively inexperienced to those with substantial experience.
Signs of Safety
The California Evidence- Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (2012)
Provides professionals with a comprehensive risk assessment, child protection framework, and expands the investigation of risk to encompass strengths and signs of safety that can be built upon to stabilize and strengthen the children and their families.
Signs of Safety in Minnesota: Early indicators of successful implementation in Child Protection Agencies (PDF - 176 KB)
Wilder Research (2010)
Highlights the findings related to the implementation Signs of Safety training initiative in Minnesota, one of several a family engagement strategies being implemented in the State, giving child protection practitioners a framework to involve all stakeholders in a child protection case.
Child Protective Services Safety Intervention Standards (PDF - 167 KB)
Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services (2006)
Discusses principles of practice for safety intervention and responsibilities related to access, initial assessment and investigation, and ongoing monitoring. Standards are then provided for assessing child safety in a number of areas.
Child Safety Constructs
Iowa Children's Justice (2010)
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Reviews principles of safety decision-making, the safety assessment, and the family risk assessment and discusses how judges can ensure the safety of children while they are under court jurisdiction.
Oregon Safety Model
Oregon Department of Human Services (2007)
Explains the model for ensuring child safety when providing child welfare services, addressing the difference between present danger and impending danger, protective capacity, conditions for return, safety threats and the safety threshold, and other issues. The report includes an explanation of the facilitator role in child safety meetings, an example of a case plan, and a matrix illustrating the reforms made by the Oregon safety model.
Safety and Risk
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Children and Family Research Center
Includes research and publications focusing on safety and risk assessments in Illinois.