Family-centered assessment is a process designed to gain a greater understanding of how a family's strengths, needs, and resources affect a child's safety, permanency, and well-being. The assessment should be strengths-based, culturally sensitive, individualized, and developed in partnership with the family. The strengths identified will provide the foundation upon which the family can make changes.
Use the following resources to learn more about family-centered assessment, including State and local examples.
Child and Family Services Reviews (2017)
Provides an overview of a comprehensive family assessment in child welfare as well as identifies the questions that should be addressed throughout the assessment process. This section is part of the Understanding the Child Welfare System online training and also includes information on safety and risk and case planning.
Navigating Assessment Tools for Family Support and Strengthening Tools [Webinar]
National Family Support Network, FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (2017)
Compares the FRIENDS Program Assessment, Standards of Quality Program Assessment, and Strengthening Families Program Assessment tools. The webinar also presents the standards of quality for family strengthening and support developed by the California Network of Family Strengthening Networks.
Family Assessment Form
Children's Bureau of Southern California
Offers information on a tool for assessing families, planning services, and evaluating results. Includes a free software trial and documentation on reliability and validity.
Family Centered Strengths and Risks Assessment Interview and Documentation Guide (PDF - 86 KB)
Arizona Department of Child Safety (2016)
Identifies questions that should be asked of a caregiver and a child when there has been an allegation of child abuse or neglect. The guide includes questions on a variety of topics, including parental history of child abuse or neglect, recognition of the problem and motivation to change, economic resources of the family, family social support system, and family stress.
Minnesota’s Best Practices for Family Assessment and Family Investigation (PDF - 1,180 KB)
Minnesota Department of Human Services (2016)
Provides direction as to protocols mandated by State statutes and recommended as best practices for local child welfare agencies to promote standards for child protection practice related to assessment and investigation.
North Carolina Family Assessment Scales (NCFAS)
National Family Preservation Network
Briefly describes and offers research reports and samples for tools to assess family functioning in the context of strengths and needs. The website includes materials for both the NCFAS-General Services and NCFAS-Reunification tools.
Using Comprehensive Family Assessment to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes (PDF - 1,040 KB)
Ramsey County Community Human Services Department (2014)
Highlights the activities and accomplishments of a federally funded project designed to develop a comprehensive family assessment model to be used in Ramsey County, Minnesota. The model was designed to determine whether a child is safe or unsafe, which parental behaviors need to be changed, and how to target the most appropriate interventions to lead to the desired behavioral changes.