New Structured Decision Making Assessment Tools
CPS gave investigative caseworkers and managers new tools to help them make better decisions. The Structured Decision Making ® (SDM) Safety and Risk Assessment tools follow a structured series of steps that support consistent decision-making based on historical data.
The Safety Assessment helps investigators assess immediate danger and the need to take steps to keep children safe. The Risk Assessment focuses CPS efforts on the cases that need them the most. In FY 2015, CPS trained 3,080 staff on the Safety Assessment and 4,160 staff on the Risk Assessment. These tools are now fully a part of CPS practice in investigations and are incorporated into our electronic case-management system.
Children who leave state custody are increasingly more likely to find a permanent home. In FY 2015, 92 percent of children who left DFPS custody went back to their family or a relative or were adopted. That's compared to 90 percent in FY 2011, and 91 percent in FY 2012, 2013, and 2014. When a child cannot safely return home, adoption is the most legally permanent alternative. The number of adoptions has increased 18 percent since FY 2011– from 4,635 to 5,466.