Child & Family Services Review

Child and Family Services Review - Round 3

The Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) is a federal review conducted by the Children’s Bureau of performance-based outcomes for children and families. The review examines the delivery of child welfare services and the outcomes for children and families served by child protective services, foster care, adoption, and other related programs. The review is conducted in partnership with the Children’s Bureau, state child welfare agency staff, and other partners and stakeholders involved in the provision of child welfare services. The reviews have been structured to help states identify strengths as well as areas needing improvement within their agencies and programs. Ultimately, the goal of the reviews is to help states improve child welfare services and achieve the following seven outcomes for families and children who receive services:

  • Children are, first and foremost, protected from abuse and neglect.
  • Children are safely maintained in their homes whenever possible and appropriate.
  • Children have permanency and stability in their living situations.
  • The continuity of family relationships and connections is preserved for families.
Family and Child Well-Being
  • Families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children’s needs.
  • Children receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs.
  • Children receive adequate services to meet their physical and mental health needs.

The Washington Child and Family Services Review is scheduled to occur between April 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018.

The Review Process

The CFSR begins with a statewide assessment which is prepared by the state and provides information on how the state is doing on the safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes and systemic factors. Next is the onsite and/or state led case review of the state’s child welfare program. The onsite or state led case review process includes:

  • Looking at children’s case files and interviewing children, parents, the caseworker, and other people involved in the case.
  • Holding stakeholder interviews with people involved in the child welfare system to look at how the system is working as a whole.

After reviewing all the data and information received, the Children’s Bureau determines how well the state is doing in meeting federal requirements and whether the children and families are having good outcomes. The state develops and implements a Program Improvement Plan to address those areas needing improvement. States must successfully complete their plans to avoid financial penalties.

CFSR State Assessment, February 2018

CFSR Final Report, 2018

Washington's Program Improvement Plan

  • Updated July 2019


In addition to measuring compliance with federal legislation, the review provides an opportunity for states to engage in quality improvement of the services to children and families throughout the state.

This is the third time the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has reviewed state child welfare services using performance-based outcomes. Washington’s review is scheduled for the final review year in Round 3. Once a state completes the review, they have two years to work on a program improvement plan before they are reviewed again.

The review looks at outcomes for children and families in the three main areas of safety, permanency, and family and child well-being.

The review also examines each state's infrastructure or 'system' that supports the delivery of child welfare services. These systemic factors include such things as staff training, evaluation of a state's data systems to track cases, and the state's efforts to license and recruit foster parents.

A final report is developed following the onsite and/or state led case review portion of the review. The report summarizes the state's performance during the specified time period on seven child welfare outcomes pertaining to safety, permanency, and well-being and on seven systemic factors.

Six data outcome measures and information from the case review process and stakeholder interviews result in findings and a determination of whether or not the state achieved conformity with federal requirements and standards. The report also details strengths and areas where improvements are needed.

Yes, all 50 states are reviewed, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.