2009 Nevada Child and Family Services Review
Conducted by the Federal Administration of Children & Families
August 31 - September 4, 2009
The Nevada State Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) recently received and posted the final report from the Federal Administration of Children and Families (ACF) containing the results and recommendations of the 2009 Nevada Child and Family Services Review (CFSR). The CFSR is a federally mandated audit that enables ACF to assess and improve child welfare services and increase positive outcomes in the areas of child safety, permanency and well-being.
The CFSR audit included 1) an onsite case review, and 2) an aggregate review of state-level child welfare performance data. Overall CFSR results integrate the findings of both the data review and the onsite case review, each of which primarily focuses on evaluating the following outcomes:
| Case Review Outcomes
|| Data Indicator Outcomes
1) Children are first and foremost protected from abuse and neglect.
2) Children are safely maintained in their homes when possible and appropriate.
1) Children have permanency and stability in their living situations.
2) The continuity of family relationships and connections is preserved for children.
1) Families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children’s needs.
2) Children receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs.Children receive adequate services to meet their physical and mental health needs.
1) Recurrence of abuse
2) Abuse in care
1) Timeliness and permanency of reunification
2) Timeliness of adoption composite score
3) Permanency for children and youth in foster care for long periods of time 4) Placement stability
Conformity with the case review outcomes is determined by an evaluation of forty-five (45) child welfare practice related areas. Overall, Nevada was assessed as “needing improvement” in twenty- nine (29) of forty-five (45) areas, while the remaining sixteen (16) were considered areas of “strength.”
Overall, the onsite review found Nevada was not in substantial conformity with any of the Safety and Permanency Outcomes, as well as not in substantial conformity with Well-Being Outcomes 1 and 3. Nevada was, however, in substantial conformity with regard to Well-Being Outcome 2.
Additionally, the CFSR found Nevada was non-compliant on five (5) of the six (6) statewide data performance indicators. The performance indicator meeting national standards was Permanency Outcome 1: Timeliness and permanency of reunification.
The CFSR was previously conducted in Nevada in 2004; Nevada failed to reach substantial conformity on any measures. There were thirty-one (31) of the forty-five (45) onsite review items classified as areas “needing improvement,” while only fourteen (14) items were considered areas of “strength”.
As a result of the 2009 CFSR, Nevada will once again enter into a Program Improvement Plan (PIP). Development of the PIP is in progress, with a focus on 5 main strategic areas. These include:
Strengthening and reinforcing safety practices throughout the life cycle of a case
Preserving connections and strengthening relationships (between DFS and clients, and between clients and family)
Improving the timeliness and appropriateness of permanency planning for children and youth throughout the life cycle of the case
Strengthening child welfare supervision and middle management skills
Expanding service options and creating flexibility for services to meet the needs of children and families
Failure to improve services and meet the outcome goals set by the PIP could result in Federal fiscal sanctions. Compliance will necessitate strategic change processes, resource allocation and training development to remediate areas of concern as identified in the 2009 CFSR Final Report. This will take the concerted effort of the state, Clark County Department of Family Services, Family Court, and our many community stakeholders.