The overall goal of the National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts (National Study) was to describe the current landscape of the child protective services (CPS) across the United States and the future directions or systems improvement efforts underway within this landscape.1 The study focused on such front-end functions as screening, intake, and investigation with particular attention given to the identification and description of emerging alternatives to what is considered the traditional CPS investigation function.
The National Study was designed to present a general representation of the similarities and differences in the ways that CPS functions, as delineated in policy and carried out in practice. To accomplish this objective, the National Study collected data from several sources. These sources included a literature review, written policy materials from each State, interviews with State CPS administrators to confirm and expand upon the information obtained from the policy materials, a mail survey to a random sample of local CPS agencies, and site visits to local CPS agencies identified as implementing new and innovative approaches.
This report presents the findings from the State policy review component of the National Study. Information was gleaned from written policies and interviews with State administrators. In addition, the organizational and administrative structure for CPS policy implementation was examined and is discussed in detail.