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Abstract

This manual is dedicated to supervisors and caseworkers who make the critical decisions that impact children and families.

Assessment of child safety and future risk of abuse and/or neglect are two of the many standards identified in the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA). The standards were instituted in order to ensure that critical decisions regarding children were a result of the thorough assessment of both safety and risk. The assessment of child safety is a process which determines whether or not a child is safe. Evaluating risk is a process which assesses risk factors while considering the ever changing family dynamics in order to determine whether a family is in need of child protective services. Together, these processes support decision-making relative to children and families. In order to maintain consistency in child protective decision making and assure compliance with the ASFA, instruments were developed to assist caseworkers in assessing families and in making critical decisions.

The Worker Manual is designed to help supervisors and caseworkers understand the process of assessing the family. This manual is divided into four sections: the Screening Decision Manual; the Comprehensive Assessment Planning Model- Interim Solution (CAPMIS) Policy Manual; the Safety Assessment Field Guide; and the Family Assessment Field Guide. The Screening Decision Manual is designed to assist in establishing screening criteria and guidelines for gathering and documenting referral information and making screening decisions. The Policy Manual assists the supervisor and caseworker in understanding the conceptual framework of CAPMIS. This manual is sectioned by assessment tool and includes policies, procedures, associated definitions, and instructions on the assessment and documentation process for each CAPMIS tool. The Field Guide sections of the manual include suggested questions to elicit information during the interview process and case examples to assist in the assessment of safety and risk.