Round 4 Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Questions related to the overall instrument, its general application, or the Face Sheet.

Case-Related Interviews:
Case Interviews: In completing the OSRI, should specifics about case interviews―such as which party indicated a certain fact―be included? If so, does this go against the assurance of maintaining the confidentiality of the interview process?

We ask reviewers to justify in their narrative how information gathered in the interview process supports their ratings. However, this information is confidential, and since some states share the completed OSRI with the caseworker/supervisor as part of the CQI feedback loop, this can affect confidentiality. It is suggested that reviewers include the information in the rating justification but do not directly indicate who provided the information. For example: “This item is rated ANI because at least one person interviewed indicated that the agency did include the parent in case planning meetings but drafted the case plan in advance and only presented it to the parent for signing at the meetings.”

Face Sheet – Question E:
What date should be entered for Question E on the Face Sheet (Date case review was completed)?

Reviewers should enter the date on which all data entry in the OSRI is complete—including all case item ratings and narratives—and the case is submitted for QA. This is the date on which the period under review (PUR) ends and should be no more than 2 weeks after reviewers started reviewing the case to ensure that the PUR remains as consistent as possible, mitigate the potential for case elimination if a child enters care in an in-home services case toward the end of the review, and support workload management. For cases completed in the Online Monitoring System (OMS), Question E is auto-populated with the date reviewers first submit their case for initial QA.

Face Sheet:
How should we capture a child’s gender in OMS?

The OMS options for gender are male, female, and non-binary. Reviewers should choose the option that reflects the gender identified in the agency’s official case record even if the child identifies differently. 

Face Sheet – G2 Case Participant Table:
For cases involving legal guardians, what role should be selected in the Case Participant (G2) table on the Face Sheet - “Mother/Father”, “Caregiver”, or “Other”? “Legal Guardian” is not an option for the Role; however, when “Other” is used, the guardians are not offered as options for parents in Items 8, 11, 12B, 13 and 15 as they should be.

Although OMS logic identifies parents who are potentially applicable to Items 8, 11, 12B, 13, and 15 via the Face Sheet’s Case Participant (G2) Table, it only does so for individuals who are designated in that table as a “Mother,” “Father,” or “Caregiver.” Reviewers must carefully consider all individuals who should potentially be rated as parents in the OSRI and ensure that they are identified with one of those three roles in the table. For legal guardians, select “Caregiver” as their role, identify them as the target child’s legal guardian in the “Relationship to Child” column, and then complete the applicability questions for them in each item as appropriate.

Face Sheet – Question J:
What date should reviewers enter for Question J given the new definition of “open for services” in the OSRI instructions?

The definition of “open for services” applies only to in-home services cases, to be consistent with the Round 4 in-home services case sampling parameters that exclude investigation/assessment-only cases from the CFSR sample. Consistent with the OSRI instructions, while all agency services and actions on all accepted maltreatment reports and cases from the start of the PUR must be considered by reviewers, the date entered in question J for in-home services cases should be the date the case was opened for case management/service provision. For foster care cases, reviewers should enter the date the maltreatment report was accepted by the agency, consistent with prior rounds. For cases with children placed in a trial home visit setting that meet the criteria to be reviewed as in-home services cases, use the date the maltreatment report was accepted by the agency.

Face Sheet – Question K:
For cases being reviewed as part of the foster care sample, what date should be entered for Question K (What is the date of the child’s latest removal?) when the agency has obtained custody (placement and care responsibility), but the location of the child was unknown when the agency went to remove the child (e.g., parents have absconded with the child) so placement has not yet occurred?

The OSRI refers to the date of latest removal as a child’s removal from his or her normal place of residence and placement in a substitute care setting under the placement and care responsibility of the state or local title IV-B/IV-E agency. Therefore, in this scenario, for the purposes of the OSRI, the date on which the child was located and placed in substitute care should be used to answer Question K.

Face Sheet – Question L:
What date should be entered for Question L (What is the date of the child’s most recent entry into foster care?) if the case has not been opened for 60 days and an adjudication hearing has not yet occurred (e.g., short-term foster care cases)?

Reviewers should select NA for Question L if the child has not been in foster care for 60 days and an adjudicatory hearing has not occurred. 

Face Sheet - Question L:
If a child is removed via a voluntary placement agreement, what date should reviewers use to answer Question L (What is the date of the child’s most recent entry into foster care?) which is also used to calculate 15/22 months?

Reviewers should use the date that coincides with 60 calendar days after the child is physically or constructively removed from the home through the voluntary placement agreement to answer Question L (See CWPM §8.3A.11 QA #1)

Safety Outcome 2

Children are safely maintained in their homes whenever possible and appropriate.

Item 3 (D1 and D):
What kinds of safety issues should reviewers capture in questions D1 and D for a child in foster care? How is that unique from what is captured in Questions E and F?

Questions D1 and D may be applicable to a foster care case if the target child was reunified or placed on a trial home visit during the period under review (PUR). In responding to these two questions, reviewers must consider whether the safety-related incidents outlined in D1 were present in the foster care case while the target child is or was in the family home. For instance, recurring maltreatment may occur in a foster care case, so reviewers must determine whether this question is applicable to the foster care case being reviewed. The other safety incidents outlined in D1 occur with the child’s family, typically in the family home, and may be applicable to a foster care case if the target child was reunified or placed on a trial home visit during the PUR. Questions E1 and E consider safety issues specifically related to visitation with family members (visitation here refers to periodic visitation and not a trial home visit) and Questions F1 and F focus specifically on safety issues that occur in the child’s foster care placements and/or with foster parents.

Item 3:
Item 3 (E, F): For foster care cases, if there are NO safety concerns related to E and F, how should reviewers capture that in the instrument since there is no NA option for foster care cases?

Since there is no NA option in these questions for foster care cases, if there are no safety concerns related to E and F, reviewers should respond as follows: Reviewers should select the option, “No safety concerns existed for the target child related to visitation that were not adequately addressed,” in E1 and answer No to E. Reviewers should select the option, “No safety concerns existed for the target child while in foster care placement that were not adequately addressed,” in F1 and answer No to F.

Item 3 – Siblings of a Target Child who has been TPR’d but remains in foster care:
When considering risk and safety assessments conducted during the period under review (PUR), the Round 4 Quality Assurance Guide instructs users to ensure that reviewers consider any children remaining in the family home, as reflected in Table G1, regardless of an intervening TPR, until the target child exits foster care. Should reviewers interpret this guidance as a requirement?

Per the OSRI instructions under Item 3, “For foster care cases, questions A and B should be answered for the target child in foster care and any children remaining in the home.” The QA guide provides additional guidance that OSRI users should consider case-specific and family circumstances when determining if any children remaining in the home following a termination of parental rights (TPR) should be considered when answering questions A and B. The term “consider” used in the referenced QA guide language should not be interpreted as a “requirement”; rather, it means that case-specific circumstances should be taken into account and professional judgment applied. For example, in a foster care case, there could be situations where it may not be reasonable to expect the agency to conduct ongoing risk and safety assessments of the child(ren) remaining in the home when the intervening TPR occurred prior to the PUR and there are no known current child maltreatment concerns related to any of those children. However, if any child remaining in the family home was the subject of an accepted maltreatment report during the PUR, we would expect to see risk and safety assessments of the children in the home addressed in Item 3—regardless of an intervening TPR.

Permanency Outcome 1

Children have permanency and stability in their living situations.

Item 4:
In the placement table, if there are two foster care episodes during the PUR, what reason is used for the first one? Would it be “not applicable, this is the current placement,” or “other” with an indication that the child returned home?

Reviewers should use “other” and explain the circumstances.

Item 5:
In the Item 5 Permanency Goal table, what date should reviewers use to start the count for the time in foster care before permanency goals were established?

Reviewers should use the date of the child’s latest removal (Question K on the Face Sheet) when calculating the time in foster care before permanency goals were established for purposes of the Item 5 Permanency Goal Table.

Permanency Outcome 2

The continuity of family relationships and connections is preserved for children.

Item 7 & 8 :
The Round 4 OSRI Quality Assurance Guide provides short-term foster care case guidance that reviewers can rate Item 8 NA based on the length of time the case is open, the case circumstances, and how reasonable it is to expect visits to have been arranged with the target child and parents/siblings. However, OMS logic does not allow a NA rating for Item 8 in situations where parents are NA for Item 8, siblings are separated for a short period of time during the PUR (Question 7A is answered as No), and per case circumstances, efforts were not needed given the short period of separation.

Should reviewers use an override to avoid having to rate Item 8 when efforts to ensure visitation and/or contacts between the siblings were not necessary during the short-term separation?

When a child has at least one sibling in foster care who is, or was, in a different foster care setting for a short period of time at any point during the PUR, reviewers should select Yes to the Item 8 applicability criteria, “The child has at least one sibling in foster care who is in a different foster care setting.” Doing so will make the item applicable, allowing reviewers to answer NA to questions E1, E, and F if sibling visits/contacts did not need to occur during the separation, per case circumstances.

In situations where efforts were made to ensure that visits/contacts occurred between siblings who were separated for a short period of time, capture relevant practice related to sibling visitation by answering questions E1, E, and F.

Overrides should not be needed to address short periods of sibling separation.

Well-Being Outcome 1

Families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children's needs.

Sub-Item 12B, Item 13, and Item 15—Parent Applicability:
How should reviewers indicate that a parent is not applicable to Sub-Item 12B, Item 13, or Item 15 when the parent does not meet any of the applicability options provided in the Online Monitoring System (OMS)?

Sub-Item 12B examines agency efforts to assess and provide services to parents, Item 13 assesses agency efforts to engage parents in case planning, and Item 15 rates frequency and quality of caseworker visits with parents. Based on case circumstances, these items may not be applicable to a parent. In the OMS Onsite Review Instrument and Instructions (OSRI), a reviewer may select from a dropdown menu regarding why a parent(s) may not be applicable. To accurately capture circumstances not addressed by the current dropdown menu, we added a sixth category—“Not Applicable—Other Reason”. If a reviewer selects this option, the reviewer will be required to provide the reason for non-applicability in the Optional Comments text field.

Item 12:
The biological father of an older youth (target child) had his parental rights terminated several years prior to the PUR. The target child experienced behavioral challenges and several runaway episodes before the agency placed the youth with the biological father as an “unlicensed kin placement” due to a lack of placement options. There were no plans to permanently place the target child with the father or pursue reunification, guardianship, or reinstatement of parental rights. In this scenario, should the agency’s assessment and support of the biological father be captured in sub-item 12B or 12C?

While the biological father in this situation meets the definition of father in sub-item 12B and that of a foster parent in sub-item 12C, since the agency is not pursuing any form of permanency with him, his role in the case aligns more with a foster parent for purposes of the OSRI.  Therefore, in this scenario, the agency’s work with the biological father should be captured in 12C. However, the youth’s relationship with the father should be addressed in 12A and in Item 4, the placement should be listed as “Foster Family Home (Relative)”.  Items 12B, 13 and 15 will be NA based on the father’s parental rights remaining terminated for the entire PUR.