The designation of a reported child as having received an alternative response occurs within the disposition field in the NCANDS. Alternative response, however, is not a disposition; it is a response. When a report comes in, a case worker or supervisor determines whether the case will be handled in the traditional investigation track (called investigation in most States) or if it will be given an alternative response. Thus, alternative responses are most often separated out at an early stage. The only field in the NCANDS that captures the referral to alternative response is in the disposition field.
Occasionally, children and families are transferred back from the alternative response track to the investigation track and receive a disposition from within that track. This is unlikely to be indicated anywhere in the administrative record of the response process and would not be captured by NCANDS (in this instance the disposition would just reflect the results of the investigation and would be substantiated, indicated, or unsubstantiated). The original referral of such a case to the alternative response track would not be captured by these data.
"report.pdf" (pdf, 1.29Mb)