National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts: Literature Review. Introduction


In 2000, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in cooperation with the Children's Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, began a study of State and county child protective services (CPS) systems and reform efforts. The objective of the study is to inform the Federal Government about the current structure and landscape of CPS systems in the United States and the improvement efforts that are underway. A full description of the overall study appears in appendix A.

This literature review has been completed as a part of the larger study. The objective of this review is to summarize the literature that discusses CPS change objectives and initiatives. The review has focused largely on materials that have been published over the past 5 years. The recent literature provides one conceptual framework from which to understand issues facing CPS systems and reform efforts. It also helps to identify demonstrations and initiatives that are being implemented in order to address such issues. The literature does not, however, provide a comprehensive picture of the commonalities and variations in CPS agency policy and practice throughout the country. The other components of the national study will address this gap in knowledge.

The literature review is organized into two main sections: Proposals for Change and Demonstrations of New Approaches. The first section reviews those features of the CPS system that are deemed to need change. The second section describes initiatives currently underway in States and counties around the country. These descriptions demonstrate the range of change initiatives that are being designed and implemented. The bibliography for this review can be found in appendix B. A more complete list of selected readings can be found in appendix C.