The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) supports well-founded research regarding children and families involved in the child welfare system. However, the agency by law must protect the confidentiality of the children and families it serves and ensure their safety and well-being. DFPS will generally only release information or data that does not identify people, unless there is a compelling need for identified information or data. The CPS Program Analytics and Evaluation Team (Analytics) evaluates requests on a case-by-case basis.

The guidelines below pertain to external research requests for information that is not publically available through reports on the agency's website. All other requests should follow the DFPS Open Records Policy.

Initial Requests

External research requests must be submitted to the Research Evaluation mailbox using Form 2704 (Request approval from the Child Protective Services to conduct research).  You can also informally request feedback on your request through the Research Evaluation mailbox before filling out Form 2704.

After receiving a Form 2704, the Analytics staff will evaluate it and let you know if your request has been approved or denied. If the request is approved, Analytics will forward any required paperwork..

Note: Given the volume of requests and the limited resources, it may take a few months for DFPS to provide the information.

General Guidelines for Research Requests

DFPS generally consents to methodologically sound research addressing an important issue regarding child abuse or neglect of children and families involved in the child welfare system, if it meets the following criteria:

  • The request is not unduly intrusive to and does not unduly compromise the confidentiality of children and families currently or formerly involved in the CPS system. DFPS generally does not consent to requests requiring personal participation, the release of medical, school or CPS records, or the identification of children and families formerly involved in the CPS system.
  • The request does not unduly compromise the confidentiality or privacy rights of DFPS staff.
  • The request is not unduly burdensome on DFPS staff or resources.
  • DFPS generally only releases information or data in a de-identified form unless there is a compelling need for identifying information.