Ohio Summit on Children Working Together for Our Future

Child and Family Services Review

The Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) is the federal government's review of state child welfare systems.  It is not an event; it is an ongoing process.  Ohio now is in Round 2 of the CFSR.  To learn more about the process and Ohio's performance on Round 1 see the 2008 Children, Families and the Courts: Ohio Bulletin article on the Child and Family Services Review found at: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Boards/familyCourts/vol4_1.pdf.

The Child and Family Services Review examines the delivery of all child welfare services including child protective services, foster care, adoption, family preservation and family support, and independent living.  The CFSR looks at outcomes for children and families in three areas:

The CFSR also looks at how each state supports and could improve the delivery of child welfare services through staff training, computer systems, policy and practice changes, and the recruitment and training of foster parents.  It determines if states are complying with federal laws and provides states the chance to improve the quality of the services and programs for children, youth, and families.

While there is considerable conversation regarding the choice of measurements used in the CFSR process, there is little discussion regarding the desirability of these outcomes.   A safe environment without risk of harm, a permanent home, and a condition of  well-being are concepts that  all communities hold as common goals for children and families.

The CFSR takes a point-in-time look at how successful the state has been in achieving these outcomes for the children who have come to the attention of the public child welfare agency.  It presents a composite picture that is reflective of systemic functioning, which includes a range of services, programs and agencies.  It is shortsighted to regard it simply as a measurement of the child welfare agency's effectiveness.

Ohio is unable to make progress towards meeting performance measurements without the active participation of the community stakeholders that are represented on the Summit county and state planning teams.  In the same way that all share responsibility for improvement, all stakeholders also ultimately bear the brunt of any fiscal penalties that are incurred by the state as a result of its performance in the CFSR.

There are three parts to the Child and Family Services Review.

For additional information regarding the CFSR process, refer to: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/cfsr-fact-sheet

Each state completes a self analysis of its child protective services, foster care and adoption programs.  The state compares its performance on specified safety and permanency outcomes to national standards established by the federal Department of Health and Human Service's Administration for Children and Families.

Ohio submitted its Statewide Self Assessment on June 6, 2008.  The document highlights on-going collaborative efforts among ODJFS, the Supreme Court of Ohio, local partners, service providers, youth, and family advocates to improve local practices impacting the children they mutually serve. Some of the key initiatives featured included the Advisory Committee on Children, Families and the Courts, the Ohio Summit on Children, Alternative Response, Unified Family Drug Courts, Beyond the Numbers, and Child Protection Mediation Programs.

Download the Ohio Statewide Self Assessment

The On-site Review of the state child welfare program is conducted by a federal-state team in three counties.  By federal rule, one of the sites must be the county that is home to the state's largest metropolitan subdivision.  The other two are jointly selected by the state and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This team evaluates the state's performance by:

Ohio's Round 2 On-Site Review was conducted on August 18-22, 2008 in Franklin County, Ohio's largest metropolitan subdivision, and in Lorain and Belmont Counties.  During this process, federal/state team members interviewed youth, family members, court representatives, service providers, caseworkers and other local stakeholders.  In addition, sixty-five cases were reviewed for compliance with federal child welfare requirements.

Ohio has been verbally informed that it did not meet substantial compliance with federal Child and Family Services Review measurements.

(OH CFSR Data Profile 2008-10-09.pdf).Written notification is expected Spring 2009.  Ohio will have 90 days after the receipt of this notice to submit a Program Improvement Plan that sets out the state's strategy for moving the state to conformance with federal measurements.

Download the Ohio Child and Family Services Review Data Profile

Download a detailed explanation of the federal CFSR Child Welfare Outcomes and Measures and Understanding the CFSR Review Periods and the Permanency Measures

If a state does not meet federal requirements for any areas of the CFSR, it must develop an improvement plan.  The Program Improvement Plan must be submitted by ODJFS within 90 days of receipt of the CFSR final report.  States are strongly encouraged to involve the court system and other key community members in developing and carrying out the PIP.

Fiscal penalties will be levied against states that do not meet federal standards.  For Ohio, penalties could exceed $9 million for failing this second round of the CFSR.

Data analysis to assist county teams with planning efforts is available on the Data Analysis Page.  This page will be frequently updated to include new analysis as well as up to date information for the existing data.  Each analysis is accompanied by a document that explains how to use the data files and suggested questions to discuss with the local planning team.

Access the Data Analysis Page