Developing, Implementing and Evaluating a Comprehensive Family Assessment to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes in Alamance County, NC

The Children’s Bureau awarded the Alamance County Department of Social Services (ACDSS) one of five national grants to demonstrate the use of Comprehensive Family Assessments (CFA) to improve child welfare outcomes. The Center for Child and Family Policy partnered with ACDSS to develop, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based model for conducting comprehensive family assessments, based on the Comprehensive Family Assessment Guidelines. This project developed CFA family engagement and caseworker visit policies, protocols, and procedures that were being implemented with a pilot team and a randomly selected intervention team. With assistance from the Duke Addictions Program, ACDSS staff was also being trained and coached to utilize motivational interviewing to develop partnerships and engage with families in the assessment and case planning process.

This project utilized a rigorous evaluation approach to:

  1. assess the implementation of the CFA process with the pilot and intervention teams;
  2. measure how the practice of comprehensive family assessments improves over time;
  3. utilizing a randomized trial, examine how the CFA process affects key outcomes related to the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families; and
  4. establish a replicable model for conducting comprehensive family assessments by producing detailed procedures and materials based on the evaluation.