Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Child and Family Services (PA-CFS) 8: Ongoing Assessment and Case Review

Ongoing assessments and evaluations of progress enable the agency to protect children’s safety, meet children’s and families’ needs, and determine when cases can be closed.


When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child and family, the agency must provide timely notification of case reviews to tribal representatives to ensure their involvement, particularly when changes are made to the plan.
2020 Edition




Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.
Note: See PA-CFS 13 for more information regarding evaluations of progress toward permanency and the appropriateness of the permanency goal.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. 
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.  
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.   
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner. 
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.   
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.  
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for re-assessment
  • Copy of re-assessment tool(s)
  • Procedures for case monitoring and review
  • Regulatory or administrative requirements that define intervals for assessments, if applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Parents served
    4. Children served
    5. Resource parents
    6. Residential treatment providers
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 8.01

Assessment is ongoing and formal re-assessments of strengths, needs, risk, and safety are conducted periodically, including:  
  1. as part of case reviews;
  2. for decision-making processes;
  3. when children’s or families’ circumstances change; and
  4. in accordance with any regulatory or administrative requirements, as applicable.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 8.02

The worker and family, and supportive individuals of the family’s choosing, when appropriate: 
  1. regularly review any safety concerns that threaten children; and
  2. develop or revise safety plans, as needed.
Examples: Depending on safety threats and family circumstances it may be appropriate to develop or revise an in-home safety plan, or to place a child in out-of-home care.  In-home safety plans are not only useful in preventing out-of-home placements—they can also enable children in out-of-home care to return home if safety concerns can be managed with an in-home plan, even when ongoing services to reduce risk remain necessary.   

PA-CFS 8.03

The worker and family, and supportive individuals of the family’s choosing, when appropriate:  
  1. regularly review and document how the case is progressing, including progress toward  achievement of service goals  and family members’ perspectives on case progress and concerns; and
  2. sign revisions to service goals and plans.


When children are in out-of-home care resource families or residential treatment providers should be involved in progress reviews and sign updated service plans, with the parent’s consent when possible, unless parental rights have been terminated. 

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 8.04

The worker and a supervisor, or a clinical, service, or peer team, review the case quarterly, or more frequently depending on case status, to assess: 
  1. safety concerns and the appropriateness of safety plans;
  2. service plan implementation; 
  3. progress toward achieving service goals and desired outcomes, including permanency goals; 
  4. the continuing appropriateness of service goals, including permanency goals; 
  5. family time plans, as applicable; and
  6. compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, as applicable.


When experienced workers are conducting reviews of their own cases, the worker’s supervisor must review a sample of the worker’s evaluations as per the requirements of the standard.  When arranging an adoption or guardianship, a review should occur weekly for infants and monthly for all other children awaiting adoption or transfer of custody.  

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 8.05

The agency considers safety, risk, and progress toward goals in making decisions regarding the status of the case, including in determining whether a case can be closed. 
Interpretation: When the permanency goal has been changed to adoption or guardianship, the case will be closed once permanency has been achieved or the youth has transitioned from the system, rather than based on an evaluation of risk and safety.