CFSR Round 4 Process

This section includes the CFSR Procedures Manual; guidance for states; information on logistics, recruitment, and state planning; National Calls (presentations and videos); and Fact Sheets.

CFSR Overview Video

This video provides an overview of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), which are periodic reviews of state child welfare systems conducted by the Children's Bureau in partnership with states. The video covers the history and purpose of the CFSRs, outcomes and systemic factors, the review process, and program improvement planning.

CFSR Round 4 Procedures Manual

The CFSR Procedures Manual is a comprehensive guide to Round 4 CFSR processes and procedures, including the overall framework; the statewide assessment process; the onsite review; case sampling; stakeholder interviews; determination of substantial conformity; systemic improvement; and developing, implementing, and monitoring the Program Improvement Plan. Appendices include State-Led Review criteria, timeframes, logistics, and planning materials; and statewide data indicators and AFCARS data quality checks.

Advancing Equity and Inclusion Through the CFSRs

White House Executive Order 139851 elevates the focus on advancing racial equity and support for underserved and adversely affected communities through the federal government. This includes people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ+, children and families living with persistent poverty, and other individuals who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and otherwise not provided fair, just, and impartial treatment. Ensuring that child welfare is serving all people equitably, and with respect for all individuals, is essential to the CB’s work. This document provides a framework for advancing that work.

Introduction to CFSR Round 4

Below is information the Children's Bureau delivered on September 21, 2021, to state child welfare administrators and court improvement managers nationwide.

State-Led CFSR Case Review Criteria

This document provides details on how states and the Children's Bureau will work to verify each state's ability to meet the case review criteria to conduct a State-Led Review for CFSR Round 4.

CFSR Round 4 Site Selection Proposals

During the CFSRs, cases are reviewed at a selection of sites that reflect a cross-section or range of environments in each state, including rural and suburban areas. Selection of sites is a collaborative process between states and CB, with CB having final approval. States and CB use state data and information to explore prospective sites and child welfare system and practice dynamics to be examined during the onsite review. The Children's Bureau recommends that states consider and address data and information on certain factors, described in this document, in their proposals for selection of CFSR sites when a statewide sample is not used. 

Case Review Sampling Frames: Trial Home Visits

This document provides guidance on the inclusion of cases involving children who returned home on a trial home visit in case review sampling frames. The case review population subject to review for Program Improvement Plan measurement is the same as for the CFSR onsite review.

Requirements and Benefits of State-Led Reviews

This report discusses the requirements and benefits of conducting a State-Led Review, including the factors for states to consider when planning for their CFSRs. A quick reference list to State-Led Review criteria is included in the appendix.

Spotlight Series for the Legal and Judicial Communities

This series spotlights CFSR-related topics for the legal and judicial communities. The content is drawn from the CFSR Round 3 Report for Legal and Judicial Communities, which summarizes states’ performance in meeting safety, permanency, and well-being needs of children and families as a result of the federal Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) conducted between 2015 and 2018. These reports share results in four areas in which the legal and judicial communities play a key role: achieving timely permanency, meaningfully engaging families, promoting and maintaining family relationships and connections, and keeping families together.

Examining the CFSR Outcomes and Systemic Factors: Legal and Judicial Perspective

The Capacity Building Center for Courts created this document to help states consider the legal dimensions of the seven outcomes and seven systemic factors assessed in the CFSR. It annotates 36 items within the outcomes and systemic factors that have legal and judicial aspects, to illustrate practice and policy issues that may require attention. The “Considerations for legal professionals” column identifies practice and policy issues for legal professionals as well as identifies Judicial, Court, and Attorney Measures of Performance (JCAMP) to help jurisdictions assess outcomes and systemic factors during the CFSR process.

CFSR Round 4 Process Graphic

This graphic shows the CFSR and Program Improvement Plan (PIP) process timeline, from the statewide assessment through the post-PIP evaluation period.

State Legal-Judicial Specialist Description/Flyer

This flyer describes the role of the state’s Legal-Judicial Specialist, who will join the state’s CFSR team to assist and support an elevated understanding of how legal and judicial policies and practices contribute to the outcomes achieved as part of the CFSR’s review of the state’s child welfare system. Adding this role to the state’s CFSR team is encouraged but not mandatory.

Engaging Young People With Lived Experience in the CFSRs: Key Considerations, Roles, and Recommendations

Through a series of focus groups, 18 young people with self-identified lived child welfare experience were asked about the best methods of recruiting, engaging, supporting, and retaining young people in all aspects of the CFSRs. This brief summarizes the results of the focus groups and discusses key considerations, roles, and recommendations for states when engaging young people in the CFSRs.

CFSR Reviewer Recruitment

We are recruiting qualified applicants to participate in the CFSRs who are from diverse geographic, racial, ethnic, demographic, and linguistic backgrounds to adequately reflect the diversity of the areas being reviewed. For information on becoming a CFSR reviewer, see CFSR Reviewer Recruitment.

CFSR Resource Finder for Legal and Judicial Communities

This document pulls together resources on the CFSRs to make it easier for the legal and judicial communities to find relevant materials to support CFSR work. Materials are organized within six broader categories and include title and description and the main objective of each document.

Infographic: Connections Between the Court Improvement Program and the Child and Family Services Review

Meaningful input from a broad array of legal and judicial stakeholders, and collaboration with other system partners, are useful not only for the CFSR and Program Improvement Plan processes but also for Court Improvement Program (CIP) projects. CIPs across the nation have projects in areas the CFSR examines. The data and evidence collected during the CFSR can be used to support CIP projects. This infographic summarizes common goals, associated CIP projects, and potential overlap with outcomes and systemic factors that are the focus of the CFSR.

Capacity Building Center for States CFSR Resources

The Capacity Building Center for States supports state agencies in preparing for Round 4 of the CFSRs. The Center offers publications, tools, peer networking, and technical assistance to help child welfare agencies and their partners plan and implement all phases of CFSR Round 4, from Statewide Assessment planning through Program Improvement Plan development and implementation. The Capacity Building Center for States CFSR resources page is at

State Planning Package

State Planning Package

This section includes the CFSR State Planning documents, including the State Planning Package summary, the Local Site Coordinator Toolkit, the CFSR Logistical Support Fact Sheet, the CFSR Equipment Fact Sheet, and the CFSR User Request Form.

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet for Legal and Judicial Communities

This fact sheet provides information on the CFSR and discusses how legal and judicial professionals can participate in all phases of the CFSR, Program Improvement Plan, and continuous quality improvement processes. 

Fact Sheet for Tribal Child Welfare Officials

This fact sheet describes the CFSR process and how Tribal child welfare officials can get involved.

Fact Sheet for Caseworkers

This fact sheet describes the CFSR process and how caseworkers can get involved.

General Fact Sheet

This fact sheet describes the CFSR process and participants, and how state child welfare agency staff, agency partners, and stakeholders can get involved.

Fact Sheet for Youth

This fact sheet describes the CFSR process and how youth can get involved.

Fact Sheet for Foster and Adoptive Parents

This fact sheet describes the CFSR process and how foster and adoptive parents can get involved.

Fact Sheet for Parents and Caregivers

This fact sheet describes the CFSR process and how parents and caregivers can get involved.

Fact Sheet for Elected Officials

This fact sheet describes the CFSR process and how elected officials can get involved.

Fact Sheet for Community Providers

This fact sheet describes the CFSR process and how community providers can get involved.

Round 4 CFSR National Call Series

National Call Series

This Resource section includes materials related to the series of calls the Children’s Bureau hosted in preparation for Round 4 of the CFSRs. The calls provide an overview of what states can expect for each of the components of the CFSR as well as the Children’s Bureau’s vision for advancing equity and inclusion in the CFSR.