Monitoring

To help states achieve positive outcomes for children and families, the Children's Bureau monitors state child welfare services through the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), title IV-E foster care eligibility reviews, the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) assessment reviews, and the Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) assessment reviews.

AFCARS Assessment Reviews

The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) collects case-level information from state and tribal title IV-E agencies on all children in foster care and those who have been adopted with title IV-E agency involvement. The purpose of the AFCARS assessment reviews is to more fully assess and evaluate how an agency gathers, records, extracts, and submits its AFCARS data. The AFCARS review process is a rigorous evaluation of the agency's information system and allows the review team to identify problems, investigate the causes, and suggest solutions during the review.

Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs)

The CFSRs, which are periodic reviews of state child welfare systems, enable the Children’s Bureau to:

  • Ensure conformity with federal child welfare requirements
  • Determine what is actually happening to children and families as they are engaged in child welfare services
  • Assist states in enhancing their capacity to help children and families achieve positive outcomes

Our CFSR factsheet explains the history, purpose, and process of the CFSRs.

After a CFSR is completed, states develop a Program Improvement Plan (PIP) to address areas in their child welfare services that need improvement. Our PIP instructions and matrix document provides guidance to states about developing their PIPs.

NYTD Reviews

The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) is a federal reporting system designed to collect information on youth transitioning out of foster care who are served by state agencies that administer the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP). The purpose of the NYTD Review is to evaluate comprehensively states’ policies and practices related to collecting and reporting timely, reliable and accurate data on youth in transition. The NYTD Review also is an opportunity to explore how states use NYTD data to evaluate the quality of services provided to youth in transition as part of a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) framework.

CCWIS Reviews

The Division of State Systems (DSS) conducts CCWIS reviews to assess title IV-E agency compliance with the Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) regulations. The new CCWIS reviews process is in development. DSS is currently creating tools for title IV-E agencies to use to assess their child welfare information systems. As tools become available, they will be posted to the CCWIS Reviews web page. Data from child welfare information systems is used to support the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), and the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process.

Title IV-E Reviews

The regulatory reviews of the title IV-E Foster Care program determine whether children in foster care meet the federal eligibility requirements for foster care maintenance payments. During these reviews, the Children’s Bureau examines child and provider case records, as well as payment documentation, to validate the accuracy of a state's reimbursement claims of foster care payments. Each eligibility review details the strengths and weaknesses of each state's program and identifies technical assistance that may be needed for program improvement.

Last Reviewed: June 19, 2019