Onsite Review Team

The CFSR Onsite Review Team comprises both Federal and State staff, with trained consultant reviewers supplementing the Federal component of the team. Federal staff, in consultation with State agency officials, select the Federal and consultant reviewers. State agency officials, in consultation with Federal staff, choose the State Review Team members, who may be State agency staff or external representatives.

The overall review team is divided into four local site teams that are based at three sites around the State. Two of these teams are located at the State's major metro site, and one team is located at each of the other two sites. Each of these local site teams is comprised of a group of Local Site Leaders who work with and coordinate the reviewers

Overseeing and coordinating among all four local site teams are a group of Team Leaders. These Team Leaders include Federal and State representatives whose job it is to coordinate the entire review week and prepare the Friday exit conference

Generally speaking, all members of the Onsite Review Team are expected to:

  • Work as partners regardless of affiliation
  • Fully participate in the review process
  • Maintain a professional demeanor at all times
  • Maintain confidentiality of case-specific information
  • Treat all review team members with respect and as valued team members
  • Complete all activities thoroughly and promptly
  • Be available for all review activities unless, for example, an interview conflicts with a debriefing session, and the Federal Local Site Leader has approved the absence in advance
  • Talk to the Federal Local Site Leader to determine whether other tasks need attention
  • Respect the team leadership and discuss any differences of opinion with the Federal Local Site Leaders in private
  • Set a positive example for other review team members
  • Be prepared to work extended hours

The Federal Review Team also may include Children’s Bureau Regional Office staff from Regions other than the one responsible for the State being reviewed and State child welfare staff from States other than the State being reviewed. These are referred to as cross-State participants.

Local Site Leaders

There will be typically between four and six Local Site Leaders (or, simply, Site Leaders) allocated to each local site team. These individuals conduct stakeholder interviews with local stakeholders, and they support reviewers by answering questions regarding the instrument, assisting in case reviews as necessary, and conducting quality assurance of completed instruments. The Local Site Leaders also assist in preparing the Thursday local site exit conference and collaborate with the Team Leaders to prepare for the Friday statewide exit conference.

There are three types of Site Leaders who will be present at each local site: NRT Local Site Leaders, Federal Local Site Leaders, and State Local Site Leaders. Each site will have one NRT and State Local Site Leader who share overall leadership responsibilities, and two or more Federal Local Site Leaders who assist the NRT and State Local Site Leaders. 

NRT Local Site Leader

NRT Local Site Leaders are Federal representatives from the National Review Team (NRT). There are four NRT Local Site Leaders assigned to each State Review Team. Of these, one is assigned to each local site team (one at each of the metropolitan sites and one at each of the two local sites) to provide, in collaboration with the State Local Site Leader, overall leadership for the local site.

In addition to general leadership responsibilities that include overseeing and coordinating site activities, ensuring that daily time and task requirements are met, and problem-solving, specific duties of the NRT Local Site Leader during the review week include:


Federal Local Site Leader

Federal Local Site Leaders are Federal representatives who assist in providing leadership at each local site. There will usually be eight Federal Local Site Leaders assigned to each State's review team, and they will be equally distributed among the four local sites. In some cases, the individuals filling these roles may be high-performing and specially trained consultants who have served on multiple CFSRs and received special, advanced training designed to prepare them for leadership roles.

While the specific duties of Federal Local Site Leaders will vary from site to site, they generally will be expected to:

State Local Site Leader

State Local Site Leaders are State agency representatives who serve as the State’s lead representative for the review team at each of the three local sites. There are four State Local Site Leaders on each State's review team, so that each local site will have one State Local Site Leader of its own (one at each of the two metropolitan sites and one each at the other two local sites). The State Local Site Leaders work closely with the NRT Local Site Leaders to provide overall site leadership and share most of their same responsibilities during the review week. During stakeholder interviews, though, State Local Site Leaders typically will participate as note-takers rather than interviewers.


The reviewers who use the OSRI to conduct case record reviews at each local site work in pairs. Generally, each review pair consists of one State and one Federal representative. The State representative is typically a child welfare agency staff person or representative of the agency’s external partners in the CFSR planning process. The Federal reviewer is normally a Federal agency representative or a specially trained consultant with skills and experience in the child welfare field.

There are usually six or seven review pairs at each local site (which means 12 to 14 reviewers). Each review pair typically reviews two or three cases during the review week. Although each review pair's primary responsibility while on site is to complete one of their assigned case record reviews per day, there are other responsibilities, as well. These other responsibilities include:

For reviewers, an important task early in the review week is forming a good working relationship with your partner. While it is important to begin working on your assigned cases as quickly as possible, you should take a few minutes before you begin to review your first case to get to know one another. As you and your partner work through your first case, you’ll discover that you each have different strengths. By acknowledging these, you can make the case review process more efficient.

For example, because different States organize their cases differently, a Federal reviewer may not be as familiar with specific forms or case file organization as the State reviewer, but he or she may be much more familiar with inputting data into the automated application. You may, therefore, find it beneficial to divide work responsibilities accordinglythe State reviewer might lead the initial case record review, while the Federal reviewer handles data entry.

It is important that review pairs recognize when they are not moving through a case efficiently or are having disagreements with one another about how to proceed. In these cases, the review pair should consult a Local Site Leader for guidance before a problem becomes a crisis. Furthermore, review pairs who complete their assigned case record reviews early should be prepared, at the direction of the Local Site Leader, to assist other review pairs in their own case record reviews. In short, successful review pairs must work well together, must recognize when they need guidance, and must assist the rest of the team as necessary.

Team Leaders

The State Review Team's Team Leaders are the individuals responsible for coordinating between all four of the State's local sites. They play a key role in every aspect of the onsite review, and stay in close contact with each local site's NRT Local Site Leader and State Local Site Leader. They are specifically responsible for assembling and facilitating the Friday statewide exit conference and can also play an important role in the Quality Assurance process. They also handle all State-level interviews for the Stakeholder Interview Guide.

There are typically three Team Leaders for each State's review: an NRT Leader, a Regional Office Leader, and a State Leader.

NRT Leader

The National Review Team (NRT) Team Leader is a Federal agency representative who provides overall leadership for the onsite review and is a member of the NRT. The NRT comprises staff from the Children’s Bureau Central and Regional Offices who provide leadership to the review teams in planning and conducting the CFSRs.

Regional Office Leader

The Regional Office Team Leader is a Children’s Bureau Regional Office representative who assists in providing overall leadership for the onsite review.

State Leader

The State Team Leader is a State agency representative who serves as the State’s lead representative for the onsite review.