Safety and Risk

Each year since 1997, the Children and Family Research Center has completed an evaluation that examines some aspect of the relationship between safety assessment and maltreatment recurrence in Illinois.

Child safety is the paramount concern of the public child welfare system. In Illinois, a series of tragic deaths in the early 1990s among children involved in the child welfare system led to increased attention to incidents of severe maltreatment and prompted the Illinois legislature to turn a critical eye to the safety of children involved in DCFS investigations. Public Act 88-614 required that DCFS develop a standardized Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (known as the CERAP) and submit an annual evaluation to the Illinois General Assembly that examines the reliability and validity of the protocol.

Each year since 1997, the Children and Family Research Center has completed an evaluation that examines some aspect of the relationship between safety assessment and maltreatment recurrence in Illinois. The earliest evaluations focused on pinpointing the effect of CERAP implementation on child safety by examining historical group comparisons of children who were investigated prior to or subsequent to CERAP implementation. Evaluation results were consistent with the conclusion that the CERAP had a demonstrable impact on short-term maltreatment recurrence rates. More recent evaluations have examined the association between safety assessment use in the field and maltreatment recurrence, finding that safety re-assessment at the conclusion of the investigation is associated with lower rates of maltreatment recurrence.

The Center's research on the effectiveness of safety assessment in Illinois has evolved into a larger program of research examining the child, family, case, and organizational characteristics associated with a child's risk of maltreatment recurrence. Other areas of recent research include current studies of families that are chronically-reported to Child Protective Services, and a randomized control trial examining the effectiveness of Differential Response on child safety.



May 2016 / Research Brief / Safety

Understanding Child Death Review in Illinois

Tamara Fuller, Michael T. Braun, and Saijun Zhang

This research brief, the first in a series that highlights the important work of the Illinois Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs), provides an introduction to child death review in Illinois. The brief discusses the circumstances in which the CDRTs will review a child’s death, the review process, and the impact of child death reviews.

May 2016 / Research Brief / Safety

Examining Child Deaths in Illinois: Highlights from the Child Death Review Team Annual Report

Saijun Zhang, Tamara Fuller, and Michael T. Braun

This research brief, the second in a series that highlights the important work of the Illinois Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs), highlights key findings from the most recent CDRT annual report, which is written by the CFRC. It presents summary information about child deaths in Illinois examined by demographic characteristics such as age and race, as well as by manner and category of death.

May 2016 / Research Brief / Safety

Trends in Illinois Child Deaths Between 2004 and 2013

Tamara Fuller, Michael T. Braun, and Saijun Zhang

This research brief, the third in a series that highlights the important work of the Illinois Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs), uses historical data to describe trends in child deaths in Illinois from 2004 to 2013. The brief describes trends in total child deaths and trends in the number of deaths by child age, race, manner of death, and category of death.

May 2015 / Report / Child Welfare Practice, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY2015 Annual Evaluation

Yu-ling Chiu, Martin Nieto, Satomi Wakita, and Tamara Fuller

The Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) is a safety assessment protocol used in child protection investigations and child welfare services in Illinois. Workers utilize the protocol at specified milestones throughout the life of an investigation or child welfare case to help focus their decision-making to determine whether a child is safe or unsafe, and if unsafe, decide what actions must be taken to assure their safety. The current report examines CERAP use among placement cases in order to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the compliance rate of CERAP assessment at each of the following milestones for placement cases:
    • Within 5 working days after a worker receives a new or transferred case, when there are other children in the home of origin?
    • Every 90 calendar days from the case opening date?
    • Within 24 hours prior to return a child home?
    • Within 5 working days after a child is returned home and every month thereafter until the family case is closed?
  2. Do compliance rates vary by region?
  3. What is the relationship between the safety decision of the CERAP completed every 90 calendar days from the case opening date and reunification date?

Oct 2013 / Report / Child Welfare Practice, Differential Response, Program Evaluation, Safety

Differential Response in Illinois: Final Evaluation Report

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto, and Saijun Zhang

In December 2009, the State of Illinois was selected by the National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services (QIC-DR) as one of three sites to implement and evaluate Differential Response (DR). This report presents the final findings of the outcome evaluation and cost analysis, which compared the newly implemented family assessment child protective services (CPS) response (known as "DR" in Illinois) to the traditional investigation response to answer three research questions: 1) How is the assessment response different from the investigation response in terms of family engagement, caseworker practice, and services provided? 2) Are children whose families receive an assessment response as safe as or safer than children whose families receive an investigation? 3) What are the cost and funding implications to the child protection agency of the implementation and maintenance of a differential response approach? The report provides an overview of the development and proliferation of Differential Response over the past two decades, summarizes previous research, and provides descriptions of both the traditional investigation response (IR) and the new differential response (DR). A description of the research design and data collection instruments is offered. Findings are presented that compare the two CPS responses (IR and DR) with regard to parent engagement and satisfaction; service provision; child safety and family well-being; and costs per-case.

Mar 2013 / Journal Publication / Safety

Didn't We Just See You? Time to Recurrence Among Frequently Encountered Families in CPS

Saijun Zhang, Tamara Fuller, and Martin Nieto

In child protection services, multiple maltreatment recurrences, or chronic maltreatment, has been a concern drawing increased attention because of its persistent harm to the children and the need to consider more ef- fective intervention strategies to meet its unique needs. Timing has been an important issue in understanding the pattern of chronic maltreatment. No existing research has examined the influence of the interval between previous maltreatment incidents on future recurrences. The current study uses state administrative data to conduct longitudinal analyses to examine how the interval between previous maltreatment incidents is asso- ciated with the likelihood of future maltreatment occurrence among children who encountered multiple maltreatment recurrences. The findings suggest that short intervals are associated with increased likelihood of encountering a future recurrence, while controlling various covariates. The findings suggest the possibility of including the interval between previous maltreatment incidents as an indicator for child maltreatment risk assessment, and the need for developing responsive intervention strategies to stop the trend of chronic maltreatment.

Zhang, S., Fuller, T., & Nieto, M (2013). Didn't we just see you? Time to recurrence among frequently encountered families in CPS. Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 883–889.
Jan 2013 / Presentation / Safety

The Pattern of Chronic Maltreatment: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis

Saijun Zhang, Tamara Fuller

Chronic child maltreatment, which typically refers to three and more maltreatment incidents associated with a child or family, has gained increasing concerns because of its persistent harm to the children and its disproportional consumption of child welfare resources. Using data from the Illinois child welfare administrative dataset, the study analyzed 2,781 children who had at least two re-reports of child abuse and neglect during the two year observational period from July 1st 2009 to June 30th 2011. The two year period was divided into four 6-month consecutive observation sessions. Maltreatment reports were summed within each session for each child, which yielded a repeated measure of maltreatment count every 6 months. Mplus 7 was used for the Latent Growth Curve Modeling estimation. The results show a declining slope (change rate) of maltreatment counts over time, and identify a series of covariates affecting the slope. The findings have useful implication for child welfare policy and practice concerning chronic maltreatment issues.

Apr 2012 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol FY12 Annual Evaluation: Safety Plan Analysis

Tamara Fuller and Martin Nieto

Despite their central importance in safety assessment and intervention, no research has examined the content of safety plans, or the relationship of safety plan type to investigation characteristics and investigation outcomes. The current study was conducted to answer the following questions: 1) Do safety plans include each of the elements that are required according to CERAP policy and procedures? Are some elements included more frequently than others? 2) What types of safety plans do workers develop during child protection investigations? 3) Do the safety plans developed by investigators vary by family or case characteristics? 4) Is there a relationship between the type of safety plan and child safety? The current evaluation provides an in-depth examination of safety plans written by Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators, develops a typology of the most commonly occurring safety plans, and examines the relationships between the safety plans and case characteristics as well as between safety plans and maltreatment recurrence.

Jan 2012 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2010 Report

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Jan 2012 / Research Brief / Safety

Ongoing Safety Assessment and Maltreatment Recurrence

Tamara L. Fuller and Martin Nieto

This research brief summarizes the results of an evaluation of the use of a safety assessment instrument, known as the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol or CERAP, on rates of maltreatment recurrence in Illinois. Findings indicate that although most Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators complete a safety assessment at the initiation of the investigation, less than half complete a follow-up safety assessment at the conclusion of the investigation, even if conditions in the household led the investigator to conclude that household conditions were unsafe. Additional safety assessment at the conclusion of the investigation was associated with lower recurrence rates in the 6-month period following the initial maltreatment report date.

Apr 2011 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY11 Annual Evaluation

Tamara Fuller and Martin Nieto

Findings from past evaluation have indicated that CERAP completion beyond the first investigation milestone ranges from moderate to poor. Significant changes to safety assessment practice are scheduled to occur in 2012 with the implementation of the enhanced safety model. Implementation of the new assessment practices may benefit from a better understanding of how investigators and caseworkers are currently using the CERAP safety assessment tool. The current study therefore examines trends in CERAP completion in investigation and intact family cases.

Sep 2010 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2009 Report

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Jun 2010 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy, Safety

Substantiation: Current Knowledge and Policy Options

Theodore P. Cross, Brett Drake, Tamera L. Fuller & Martin Nieto

The decision to substantiate a report of child maltreatment is one of the most important in the the child welfare field, but the latest knowledge about what underlies the decision to substantiate and how it relates to future outcomes is not widely known. This workshop--led by authors of a special section on substantiation in the journal Child Maltreatment -- provided an overview of current research on substantiation and discusses its meaning for policy. Data suggest that the substantiation decision is usually based on a combination of the harm the child is thought to have experienced and the evidence for maltreatment, although this model does not fit well in a small proportion of cases. Most worrisome are the 9% of child protective cases in which children reportedly suffered moderate to severe harm but the case was not substantiated. The workshop reviews the mixed evidence for the validity of substantiation and discusses the debate on substantiation as a gatekeeper for decision-making and a method of measuring child maltreatment. (Presented at the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) 18th Annual National Colloquium, New Orleans, LA, June 23-26, 2010)

Apr 2010 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY10 Annual Evaluation

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto

Previous evaluations of the safety assessment instrument used in Illinois, the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP), have found a strong and consistent relationship between safety re-assessment and lower rates of maltreatment recurrence among children initially assessed as unsafe at the initial stage of the investigation. Not all investigated households require additional safety assessment, however. If a case is completed quickly -- in less than 30 days -- safety re-assessment is not required. The current report re-examines worker compliance with safety re-assessment at the conclusion of the investigation, and also explores whether the relationship between re-assessment and lower rates of maltreatment recurrence extends to investigations closed within 30 days.

Jan 2010 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy, Safety

Rethinking Child Protective Services Substantiation: Research Perspectives on Evolving Policy

John Fluke, Brett Drake, Theodore P. Cross, Tamera L. Fuller, Martin Nieto, & Barbra Fallon

The substantiation decision in child maltreatment investigations can have an important effect on service delivery, court actions, and judgments about caregivers, and underlies many statistical reports of child victimization. Only recently, however, has an empirical knowledge base on substantiation begun to be developed. This workshop summarized the latest research on substantiation to provide participants with knowledge about conceptual developments, important methodological advancements leading to new insights, and important implications for practice and policy. In addition, the workshop introduced issues that have been the subject of disagreement and sharp discussions within the research community in the field such as the validity of substantiation as a category, its value as a guide to intervention, and its role in understanding the CPS system. (Presented at the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) National Conference, Washington, DC, January 24, 2010.)

Sep 2009 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2008 Report

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Apr 2009 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY09 Annual Evaluation

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto

Previous evaluations of the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) have found a consistent and significant relationship between CERAP re-assessment, particularly at the conclusion of the investigation, and lower rates of maltreatment recurrence among children initially assessed as "unsafe" at the initial stages of their investigation. Concerns were raised by DCFS about the validity of this finding because there are circumstances in which a CERAP assessment at the conclusion of the investigation is not required, even among cases found to be "unsafe" in the initial CERAP assessment. The main purpose of this FY09 CERAP evaluation is to re-examine the relationship between safety re-assessment and maltreatment recurrence using the correct population of cases that most closely resembles CERAP use in the field. By ruling out possible alternative explanations for the results, we can bolster our confidence that this relationship is valid and may have important implications for Department policy and practice.

Mar 2009 / Report / Safety

License Status of Kinship Foster Parents and the Safety of Children in Their Care

Martin Nieto, Tamara Fuller, Mark Testa

The 2008 Conditions of Children report raised a" warning sign" regarding the safety of children in care. In recent years, children in kinship foster care had become more likely to experience maltreatment recurrence while in care compared to those in traditional foster care, a reversal of previous trends. The Center conducted a series of analyses to examine the following questions in response to the finding: 1. Are licensed kinship foster homes safer than unlicensed kinship foster homes? How does each of these compare to licensed traditional foster homes? 2. Is the relationship between placement type (kin or non-kin), license status, and safety accounted for by differences in demographic or case characteristics such as child's age, child's race, number of other children in the home, or regional location?

Jan 2009 / Journal Publication

Substantiation and Maltreatment Re-Reporting: A Propensity Score Analysis

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto

Although it is a widely used indicator, the use of substantiation in child welfare practice and research is not without critics. Much of this criticism concerns the ability of the substantiation disposition to distinguish between child protective services (CPS) investigations in which maltreatment occurs or does not occur. This study examined the relationship between substantiation and maltreatment rereporting using an analytic technique known as propensity score matching (PSM). Children with initially substantiated maltreatment reports were at significantly higher risk for rereporting than those with initially unsubstantiated reports, even after matching the two groups on propensity scores based on several demographic and case characteristics. Although additional study using PSM on other samples is warranted, this evidence supports the predictive validity of the substantiation disposition and its continued use as one factor to consider when allocating limited post-investigation services.

Fuller, T., & Nieto, M. (2009). Substantiation and maltreatment re-reporting: A propensity score analysis. Child Maltreatment, 14, 27-37.
Sep 2008 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2007 Report

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Sep 2008 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY08 Annual Evaluation

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto

Recent concerns related to Illinois' failure to meet the national standard for maltreatment recurrence in the federal Child and Family Service Review (CFSR) have prompted some to question the utility of the safety assessment protocol (the CERAP) that has been in use in Illinois since 1995. By changing the safety outcome examined in the current CERAP evaluation to match that used in the federal CFSR (i.e., 6-month maltreatment recurrence rather than the 60-day recurrence used in previous reports), we can begin to examine the relationship between CERAP use in the field, other child protective services practices, and maltreatment recurrence. The current evaluation attempted to provide useful information for the Department's efforts of reform in this area by answering the following questions: 1) Does maltreatment recurrence as defined in the CFSR vary by region in Illinois? 2) If so, can regional differences in investigation practices be identified as possible points of policy reform? And 3) Are these regional differences in practice related in a reliable way to maltreatment recurrence?

Oct 2007 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY07 Annual Evaluation

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto

This report analyzes the impact of the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) implementation on the safety of children investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for abuse and neglect. A series of analyses were completed to examine CERAP effectiveness: 1) trend analysis of 60-day maltreatment recurrence rates from 1986-2006; 2) trend analysis of 6-month maltreatment recurrence rates from 1986-2006; 3) an examination of CERAP use by child protection investigators (CPI); 4) comparisons of recurrence rates between investigation cases categorized as "safe" and "unsafe" by child protective services (CPS) workers in the field, and 5) comparisons of recurrence rates among safe and unsafe households with and without a second CERAP assessment.

Sep 2007 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2006 Report

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Sep 2006 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2005 Report

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Apr 2006 / Report / Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY06 Annual Evaluation

Tamara Fuller & Martin Nieto

This report analyzes the impact of Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) implementation on the safety of children investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for abuse and neglect. Child safety is assessed using data from DCFS' Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) and defined as the occurrence/nonoccurrence of an indicated allegation of maltreatment within 60 days of an initial investigation. The current analysis examined recurrence rates in investigations with safety decisions of "safe" versus "unsafe." Rates are examined separately for investigations of moderate physical abuse, severe physical abuse, and sexual abuse.

Jun 2005 / Report / Safety

Individual and Contextual Contributors to Child Maltreatment Reporting: Analysis of Data from the Illinois Families Study

Alan Puckett

Using combined survey, administrative, and census data, this study analyzed household- and community-level variables to determine their relationships with the occurrence of child maltreatment reports among a sample of 1091 low-income households in six Illinois counties. The study sought to determine which factors were most strongly related to the occurrence of reports, and whether the likelihood of reports varied according to a family's relative "visibility" in their neighborhood.

Apr 2005 / Report / Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY05 Annual Evaluation

Tamara Fuller & Martin Nieto

This report analyzes the impact of Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) implementation on the safety of children investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for abuse and neglect. Child safety is assessed using data from DCFS' Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) and defined as the occurrence/nonoccurrence of an indicated allegation of maltreatment within 60 days of an initial investigation. The current analysis examined recurrence rates in investigations with safety decisions of "safe" versus "unsafe."

Jan 2005 / Journal Publication / Safety

Child Safety at Reunification: A Case-Control Study of Maltreatment Recurrence Following Return Home from Substitute Care

Tamara Fuller

The study examined the factors that predict short-term (i.e., within 60 days) maltreatment recurrence among 174 families with children returning home from their first stay in substitute care. From a variety of child, caretaker, placement, family environment, and service provision characteristics, seven variables uniquely added to the prediction of maltrement: 1) child age, 2) caretaker mental illness, 3) number of placements, 4) type of placemnet, 5) length of time in placement, 6) number of children in the home at reunification, and 7) the interaction between household structure at reunification and the presence of siblings returned home with the index child. The implications of these findings for child welfare practice and future research are discussed in detail.

Fuller, T.L. (2005). Child safety at reunification: A case-control study of maltreatment recurrence following return home from substitute care. Children and Youth Services Review, 27 1293-1306.
Apr 2004 / Report / Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: Impact on Short-Term Recurrence Rates (FY04)

Tamara Fuller & Martin Nieto

This report analyzes the impact of Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) implementation on the safety of children investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for abuse and neglect. Child safety is assessed using data from DCFS' Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) and defined as the occurrence/nonoccurrence of an indicated allegation of maltreatment within 60 days of an initial investigation. The current analysis builds upon the results of previous reports, and confirms that maltreatment recurrence rates continue their overall decline in Illinois.

Jul 2003 / Journal Publication / Substance Use

Predicting Maltreatment Recurrence Among CPS Cases with Alcohol and Other Drug Involvement

Tamara Fuller, Susan Wells

Evidence suggests that the number of Child Protective Services (CPS) cases involving families with alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems is increasing, which presents unique challenges to CPS workers who must be able to determine how a parent's substance use affects their child's safety. The current study examined the factors that are predictive of short-term (e.g. within 60 days) maltreatment recurrence among CPS cases with AOD involvement. Data was collected from 95 indicated investigations that involved caretaker AOD use as part of the maltreatment allegation. Analyses revealed that four factors were related to an increased risk of short-term maltreatment recurrence: 1) the safety assessment factor involving caretaker AOD use checked "yes;" 2) a high risk assessment rating for caretaker criminal behavior; 3) no police involvement during the investigation; and 4) families headed by single, African-American women. The implications of these findings for CPS practice are discussed in detail.

Fuller, T.L., & Wells, S.J. (2003). Predicting maltreatment recurrence among CPS cases with alcohol and other drug involvement. Children and Youth Services Review, 25, 553-569.
May 2003 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: Impact on Short-term Recurrence Rates (FY03)

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto, Mark Testa, Philip Garnier

This report analyzes the impact of Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) implementation on the safety of children investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for abuse and neglect. Child safety is assessed using data from DCFS' Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) and defined as the occurrence/nonoccurrence of an indicated allegation of maltreatment within 60 days of an initial investigation. The current analysis builds upon the results of previous reports, and confirms that maltreatment recurrence rates continue their overall decline in Illinois. Additional analyses of maltreatment recurrence rates were done for children who were physically abused, and children with multiple maltreatment reports.

Mar 2002 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol Evaluation: Impact on Short-term Recurrence Rates - Year Six

Martin Nieto, Philip Garnier

This report analyzes the impact of Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) implementation on the safety of children investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for abuse and neglect. For this study safety, is assessed using data from DCFS' Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS). Safety is defined in terms of the occurrence/nonoccurrence of an indicated allegation of maltreatment within 60 days of an initial investigation. The current analysis builds upon the results of previous years' reports that found declining recurrence rates over the five years since the CERAP was first implemented.

Mar 2002 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety

Report on Child Safety and Permanency in Illinois for Fiscal Year 2001

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety and permanence. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by race and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Oct 2001 / Report / Safety

Child Maltreatment in Out of Home Care: What Do We Know Now?

Gail Tittle, John Poertner, Philip Garnier

This study replicates a previous study, "Child Maltreatment in Foster Care: A Study of Retrospective Reporting," and attempts to identify the degree to which retrospective reports might be counted in a safety indicator of abuse and neglect of children in out of home care. The results of this and the previous study indicate that current recurrence rates significantly over estimate the amount of child abuse and neglect incidents for children in out of home care. It is hoped that this study will provide a clearer picture of the level, circumstances, and types of child maltreatment that occur within the foster care system.

Aug 2001 / Journal Publication / Program Evaluation, Safety

Reducing Recurrence in Child Protective Services: Impact of a Targeted Safety Protocol

John Fluke, Myles Edwards, Marian Bussey, Susan Wells, Will Johnson

Statewide implementation of a child safety assessment protocol by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in 1995 is assessed to determine its impact on near-term recurrence of child maltreatment. Literature on the use of risk and safety assessment as a decision-making tool supports the DCFS's approach. The literature on the use of recurrence as a summative measure for evaluation is described. Survival analysis is used with an administrative data set of 400,000 children reported to DCFS between October 1994 and November 1997. An ex-post facto design tests the hypothesis that the use of the protocol cannot be ruled out as an explanation for the observed decline in recurrence following implementation. Several alternative hypotheses are tested: change in use of protective custody, other concurrent changes in state policy, and the concurrent experience of other states. The impact of the protocol to reduce recurrence was not ruled out.

Fluke, J., Edwards, M., Bussey, M., Wells, S., & Johnson, W. (2001). Reducing recurrence in child protective services: Impact of a targeted safety protocol. Child Maltreatment, 6 207-218.
Jul 2001 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol Evaluation: Impact on Short-term Recurrence Rates - Year Five

Martin Nieto, Philip Garnier

This report analyzes the impact of Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) implementation on the safety of children investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for abuse and neglect. For this study safety, is assessed using data from DCFS' Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS). Safety is defined in terms of the occurrence/nonoccurrence of an indicated allegation of maltreatment within 60 days of an initial investigation. The current analysis builds upon the results of previous years' reports that found declining recurrence rates over the four years since the CERAP was first implemented.

May 2001 / Report / Safety

Child Maltreatment in Foster Care: A Study of Retrospective Reporting

Gail Tittle, John Poertner, Philip Garnier

Children who are maltreated by their birth families are often removed from these families by the state to protect them from further harm. However, while under the care of the state, some foster children receive further harm. There is anecdotal evidence that some of the maltreatment attributed to foster care may, in fact, be retrospective events that occurred before the child entered care. This study attempts to identify the degree to which retrospective reports might be counted in a safety indicator of abuse and neglect of children in foster care.

Apr 2001 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety

Report on Child Safety and Permanency in Illinois for Fiscal Year 2000

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety and permanence. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by race and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Apr 2001 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY2001 Implementation Evaluation

Tamara Fuller, John Poertner

The fourth in a series of annual evaluations of the Illinois CERAP, this study examined caseworker compliance with CERAP safety assessment requirements at the investigation milestone (e.g., within 24 hours after the investigator first sees the alleged victim). Information regarding CERAP completion at this milestone, as well as completion of each of the four CERAP sections, was collected.

Jan 2001 / Journal Publication / Safety

Predictors of Maltreatment Recurrence at Two Milestones in the Life of a Case

Tamara Fuller, Susan Wells, Ed Cotton

This article reports the findings from two studies that examined the usefulness of the Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) for predicting short-term maltreatment recurrence. The CERAP is a safety assessment tool designed to guide worker decision-making throughout the life of a case and is completed at several critical case milestones. Two milestones were chosen - within 24 hours after the CPS investigator sees the alleged victim and within five days of case opening (for services to intact families) - for analysis in separate studies. For each study, a case control design was used in which a sample of families who experienced an indicated report of maltreatment recurrence within 60 days of CERAP completion were compared to a sample of families who did not experience maltreatment recurrence. Information from the CERAP was examined, as well as other case characteristics that have been shown to be predictive of recurrence, such as type and severity of abuse, number of previous indicated reports, and number of services provided.

Fuller, T.L., Wells, S.J., & Cotton, E.E. (2001). Predictors of maltreatment recurrence at two milestones in the life of a case. Children and Youth Services Review, 23, 49-78.
Nov 2000 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety

Report on Child Safety and Permanency in Illinois for Fiscal Year 1999

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety and permanence. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by race and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Oct 2000 / Journal Publication / Safety

Using Administrative Data to Assess Child Safety in Out-of-Home Care

Philip Garnier, John Poertner

This article describes efforts to produce useful safety measures from administrative data. A measure similar to that proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is presented and compared to a measure that takes into account the length of time children are in placement. These measures are also reported for out-of-home care placement types. The challenges posed in constructing such measures from extant data are discussed.

Garnier, P.C.., & Poertner, J. (2000). Using administrative data to assess child safety in out-of-home care. Child Welfare, 79, 597-613.
Jul 2000 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol Evaluation: Impact on Short-term Recurrence Rates - Year Four

Philip Garnier, Martin Nieto

This report is an update of the April 15, 1999 CERAP evaluation prepared by the American Humane Association. Data on the safety of children investigated by DCFS, as reflected in the Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) from December 1, 1995 through November 30, 1999, is included. The first section presents simple frequency counts, while the second presents an event-history analysis of changes in short-term maltreatment recurrence rates from the year before the first implementation of CERAP through the four years following implementation.

Jul 1999 / Journal Publication / Safety

How Safe Are Out-of-Home Placements

John Poertner, Marian Bussey, John Fluke

A primary reason to place children in an alternative living arrangement is to protect them from abuse or neglect. However, few studies exist that examine the safety of substitute care. This paper reports the results of a study of the rate of abuse and neglect for substitute care for a large state public child welfare agency using the existing management information systems. Findings include that the percent of indicated reports of abuse and neglect for children in out-of-home care ranged from a low of 1.7% to a high of 2.3% over a five year period. Re-abuse rates are also reported by type of substitute care placement and are examined by age of child, type of abuse and perpetrator relationship for each type of out-of-home placement. Results of this study contribute to the emerging literature on the safety of substitute care.

Poertner, J., Bussey, M., & Fluke, J. (1999). How safe are out-of-home placements? Children and Youth Services Review, 21, 549-563.
Apr 1999 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol Evaluation: Impact on Short-term Recurrence Rates - Year Three

John Fluke, Myles Edwards, Marian Bussey

This report is the third of the annual evaluations of the Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP). Using IDCFS administrative data, the short-erm (i.e., within 60 days) maltreatment recurrence rates for children investigated by IDCFS are compared for the year immediately prior to CERAP implementation and the three years post-implementation.

Apr 1999 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP): FY99 Implementation Evaluation

Tamara Fuller, Susan Wells

This study is the second in a series of annual evaluations of the implementation of Illinois' Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP). Caseworker compliance with CERAP safety assessment requirements was examined for three milestones in the life of a case: 1) within 24 hours after the investigator first sees the alleged victim, 2) within 5 working days after case opening, and 3) immediately prior to closing a service case.

Feb 1999 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety

Report on Child Safety and Permanency in Illinois for Fiscal Year 1998

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety and permanence. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by race and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Aug 1998 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: A Technical Report Concerning the Implementation and Validation of the Protocol

Tamara Fuller, Susan Wells

This report summarizes ongoing research regarding implementation and validation of the CERAP and focuses on 1) review of case records for intact and substitute care cases, with analysis of CERAP use by follow-up caseworkers; 2) examination of reduction in recurrences of abuse and neglect for children already reported; and 3) comparison of cases where abuse or neglect recurred with those where there were no subsequent indicated reports.

Apr 1997 / Report / Program Evaluation, Safety

Outcome Evaluation: Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol Safety Assessment Technical Report

John Fluke, Myles Edwards, Will Johnson

This is the first of the annual evaluation of the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP), a safety assessment protocol implemented by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in 1996. This evaluation compares the rate of short-term maltreatment recurrence during the year prior to CERAP implementation with the rate in the year following implementation. Alternative explanations for the results are ruled out through additional analyses.




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