The Statewide Assessment is the first phase of the CFSRs and is conducted during the 6 months preceding the second phase, which is the onsite review. In conducting the Statewide Assessment, the Statewide Assessment Team uses data indicators and other qualitative information to assess the impact of State policies and practices on the children and families being served by the State child welfare agency.
The Statewide Assessment provides States an opportunity to examine data and qualitative information related to their child welfare programs in light of their programmatic goals and desired outcomes for the children and families they serve. The Statewide Assessment serves the following purposes:
- Provides States the opportunity to build capacity for continuous program evaluation and improvement
- Helps prepare the Onsite Review Team for the onsite review by providing evaluative information regarding the child welfare agency’s policies, procedures, and practices
- Provides a basis for making decisions regarding substantial conformity with the seven systemic factors, in conjunction with the information obtained from the onsite review
- Identifies issues that require clarification and that therefore may need to be addressed through the training of State Review Team members
The Statewide Assessment Team uses a Statewide Assessment Instrument to record the following:
- qualitative, evaluative, and quantitative information regarding the State’s outcomes for children and families served
- systemic factors that affect the State’s ability to provide services
- State strengths and areas needing improvement
- issues for further examination through the onsite review
The Statewide Assessment Instrument is designed to assist States in completing their Statewide Assessment in an evaluative manner. The instrument includes a series of narrative-style questions and instructions on documenting data indicators. The Statewide Assessment Team should complete the Statewide Assessment and should be the primary group that responds to the narrative questions. Once the Statewide Assessment is complete, the Children's Bureau will release a Preliminary Assessment that will serve as a critical component in planning for the onsite review.