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ERIC Number: ED441898
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Decision To Investigate: Understanding State Child Welfare Screening Policies and Practices. New Federalism: Issues and Options for States. Series A, No. A-38. Assessing the New Federalism: An Urban Institute Program To Assess Changing Social Policies.
Tumlin, Karen C.; Geen, Rob
This document discusses state child welfare screening policies and practices, presenting data from a 1997 survey that examined the nature of states' formal screening policies and number of initial allegations of child maltreatment that states screened out. Although all states screen these allegations before investigation, little is known about the number of referrals screened out or criteria for screening. Section 1 discusses screening in the context of federal welfare reform, explaining the value in monitoring changes in referrals. Section 2 examines the general flow of child maltreatment allegations. Section 3 discusses the mechanics of state screening processes, noting that few states have explicit guidelines delineating types of reports to screen out. Section 4 examines the percentage of initial allegations screened out. Survey data indicate that state child welfare agencies screened out and closed without investigation one-third of their initial referrals. Section 5 discusses changes in state screening policies. Section 6 examines the relationship between screening and substantiation rates. Section 7 discusses the benefits and risks of screening. While benefits, risks, and best practices for effective screening are still being debated, policymakers and researchers must include screening data in any assessment of changes in child welfare caseloads. (Contains 22 references.) (SM)
Urban Institute, 2100 M Street, N.W., Washington DC 20037. Tel: 202-261-5687; Fax: 202-429-0687; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.; Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI.; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ.; Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, CA.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Mott (C.S.) Foundation, Flint, MI.; David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA.; McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis, MN.; Commonwealth Fund, New York, NY.; Weingart Foundation, Los Angeles, CA.; Fund for New Jersey, East Orange.; Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Milwaukee, WI.; Joyce Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Rockefeller Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Urban Inst., Washington, DC.