The Children's Bureau Central Office has several key responsibilities in preparing for an onsite review. In addition to appointing the Federal Review Team, it collaborates closely with the Children's Bureau Regional Office, State central office, and Child Welfare Reviews Project (CWRP) on a series of review planning conference calls. It also plays a role in selecting the sample of cases that are used during the onsite review and in developing the data profiles that are used to measure a State's substantial conformity.
Appointing the Federal Review Team
During its planning for the onsite review, the Children's Bureau Central Office identifies the National Review Team (NRT) Team Leader and NRT Local Site Leaders. It also identifies other Children's Bureau staff who will serve as Federal reviewers and arrange for any training they might require.
Review Planning Conference Calls
In the weeks leading up to the onsite review, the Children's Bureau Central Office participates in a series of review planning conference calls with the Children's Bureau Regional Office and State child welfare agency staff. These calls are scheduled and facilitated by the CWRP and cover a wide range of review-related topics, including logistical information such as the locations of review sites, lodging arrangements, and the composition of the review team; the State data profile and Statewide Assessment; State policies that may affect the review process; the State's Program Improvement Plan (PIP); stakeholder interviews; the State Team Training, and more.
Sample of Cases
Case selection for an onsite review is handled differently for foster care cases and in-home services cases, although case sampling guidelines are used for both. For foster care cases, the Children's Bureau Central Office draws random samples of cases from Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data. The cases are drawn from a "universe" of cases that is the State's 6-month AFCARS submissions that correspond with the sampling period for the three review sites. The Children's Bureau Central Office then transmits those samples through the Children's Bureau Regional Office to the State in a sorted AFCARS table organized around the four foster care categories and by jurisdiction within a State. This ensures that sites selected for the onsite review have a sufficient number of targeted foster care cases for review.
To select in-home services cases, the Children's Bureau Central Office draws from a list that is provided to it by the State central office. The cases must have been open for at least 60 consecutive days during the sampling period, which extends for 2 months beyond the sampling period used for foster cases for a total of 8 months.
The Children's Bureau Central Office develops the safety and permanency data profiles used to measure substantial conformity within the Safety and Permanency outcomes and transmits them through the Children's Bureau Regional Office to the State. These data profiles are then used by the State to perform its Statewide Assessment.
The Children's Bureau Central Office, along with the Children's Bureau Regional Office, then reviews and provides feedback on the Statewide Assessment, which is a key indicator in determining a State's substantial conformity during the onsite review. The Children's Bureau Central and Regional Office also provides feedback on State policies and the Preliminary Assessment.