Substantial Conformity

The Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) is a comprehensive review of a State's child and family services system. The Children’s Bureau analyzes information from a variety of sources to determine whether a State is in substantial conformity with the seven outcomes and seven systemic factors. Substantial conformity means that the State meets Federal criteria established for each outcome or systemic factor. 

The Children's Bureau uses the following documents and data collection procedures to make its determinations:

  • The Statewide Assessment, prepared by the State child welfare agency.
  • The State Data Profile, prepared by the Children’s Bureau.
  • Case record reviews of 65 cases (40 foster care and 25 in-home services cases) at three sites, one of which has to be the largest metropolitan area in the State.
  • Stakeholder interviews and focus groups (conducted at all three sites and at the State level) with stakeholders including, but not limited to: youth, parents, foster and adoptive parents, all levels of child welfare agency personnel, collaborating agency personnel, service providers, court personnel, child advocates, Tribal representatives, and attorneys.

Conformity with the outcomes is primarily based on information gathered from the sample of 65 cases examined during the State’s CFSR onsite review. For Safety Outcome 1 and Permanency Outcome 1, the Children’s Bureau also evaluates whether the State meets specific national standards.

Conformity with the systemic factors is based on an evaluation of the information contained in the Statewide Assessment and the information collected in stakeholder interviews during the onsite review.

If a State fails to achieve substantial conformity with an outcome or systemic factor, it must submit a Program Improvement Plan that addresses the areas of non-conformity. In prioritizing areas to be addressed, the State must first address, in content and timeframes, those items that specifically affect child safety.