DCS is first in the nation to complete federal review
Phoenix (August 20, 2019)-
The Arizona Department of Child Safety is the first child welfare agency in the nation to complete its federally mandated review process.
The federal government requires every child welfare agency in the nation to participate in the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR), a three-stage process designed to look at how states implement long-term, sustainable improvements in child welfare. The process includes the development of a Program Improvement Plan (PIP), which establishes improvement activities and data goals to measure the state’s improvement.
“Once again, Arizona is leading the way; this time by being the first state in America to successfully achieve improvement goals set by the federal government in 2015,” said DCS Director Greg McKay. “This is proof positive of not only Arizona’s commitment to improving outcomes for children and families, but to accountability to our federal partners at the Children’s Bureau and the American taxpayer.”
The current Arizona CFSR started in 2015. Arizona’s PIP activities were approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Children’s Bureau in January 2017.
Arizona’s plan focused on increasing investigation response times to hotline reports; eliminating the 33,000+ investigations backlog; and improving child safety assessments, family engagement and establishing permanent, loving homes for children.
“We commend the work that the state has done to improve the child welfare service delivery system and outcomes for children and families in Arizona,” wrote Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau, in a letter to DCS. “We encourage the DCS to continue its efforts in family and stakeholder engagement and continuous quality improvement.”
The CFSR process is a collaboration between states and the federal government to design high quality services for children and families in child welfare systems.
“I’m proud of how our staff worked tirelessly to improve child welfare in Arizona and to become the first agency nationally to meet these improvement goals,” said DCS Deputy Director Mike Faust.
The CFSRs evaluate state child welfare agencies to identify strengths and challenges, with a focus on improving safety and permanency for children and families.
“Over the last four years, we have given DCS staff reduced workloads and new practice guidelines to improve the quality of their interactions with parents and youth,” said Katherine Guffey, DCS Chief Quality Improvement Officer. “By engaging families with compassion and respect, we have seen measurable improvement in our ability to involve family members in decisions about their children’s safety and well-being.”
DCS completed its plan and met its improvement goals 8-months before the March 31, 2020 deadline.