Onsite Review

The onsite review is the second phase of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) and is designed primarily to gather qualitative information. The onsite review lasts 1 week (see Module 2: The Review Week) and includes the examination of a sample of cases for outcome achievement and interviews with State and local stakeholders to evaluate the outcomes and systemic factors under review. The review takes place in three sites in the State. The State’s largest metropolitan subdivision is a required site, and the other two sites are determined on the basis of information in the Statewide Assessment.

During the onsite review, the Onsite Review Team examines case records, conducts case related and stakeholder interviews, and participates in nightly debriefings, local exit conferences, and the statewide exit conference. The goal of the case record reviews and case-related and stakeholder interviews is to obtain qualitative information that complements the quantitative information reported through the Statewide Assessment.

The onsite review also permits the team to collect information on items/outcomes that is not reported in aggregate form through data collection, such as risk assessment and safety management and the nature of the relationship between children in care and their parents. The combination of the data, reported through the Statewide Assessment, and the information on child and family outcomes and statewide systemic factors gathered through the onsite review, allows the review team to evaluate programs’ outcome achievement and identify areas in which the State may need TA to make improvements.

The Children’s Bureau developed the following standardized instruments for collecting and recording information during the onsite review:

  • Onsite Review Instrument and Instructions (OSRI): The OSRI is used by review team members who conduct case record reviews. It contains questions to guide the case record review process and provides space for rating the 23 items and 7 outcomes under review and for documenting information to support those ratings.
  • Stakeholder Interview Guide (SIG): The SIG provides a framework for the Team Leaders and Local Site Leaders who conduct interviews with stakeholders regarding the outcomes and systemic factors under review. The guide lists the individuals whom the NRT Local Site Leader must interview and provides core and follow-up questions for each of the 23 items under the 7 outcomes and 22 items under the 7 systemic factors.
  • Preliminary Assessment and Summary of Findings Form: This form is used by the Children’s Bureau Regional Office to: (1) prepare an analysis (the Preliminary Assessment) of the State’s performance on the outcomes and systemic factors, on the basis of information from the Statewide Assessment, (2) record the preliminary findings of the onsite review, and (3) prepare the Final Report of the review.

Preparation for the onsite review includes selecting cases to be reviewed; preparing case records for review; scheduling case-related interviews and State and local stakeholder interviews; preparing reviewer schedules, making other logistical arrangements, and distributing review-related materials to the review team; and providing training. Responsibilities for these activities are shared between the Children’s Bureau Central and Regional Offices, Child Welfare Reviews Project, State central and local child welfare agencies, and Local Site Coordinators.